28 JAN 2021 by ideonexus

 Computing is Pop Culture without History

Binstock: You seem fastidious about always giving people credit for their work. Kay: Well, I'm an old-fashioned guy. And I also happen to believe in history. The lack of interest, the disdain for history is what makes computing not-quite-a-field. Binstock: You once referred to computing as pop culture. Kay: It is. Complete pop culture. I'm not against pop culture. Developed music, for instance, needs a pop culture. There's a tendency to over-develop. Brahms and Dvorak needed gypsy music ba...
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08 NOV 2019 by ideonexus

 Why numbering should start at zero

When dealing with a sequence of length N, the elements of which we wish to distinguish by subscript, the next vexing question is what subscript value to assign to its starting element. Adhering to convention a) yields, when starting with subscript 1, the subscript range 1 ≤ i < N 1; starting with 0, however, gives the nicer range 0 ≤ i < N. So let us let our ordinals start at zero: an element's ordinal (subscript) equals the number of elements preceding it in the sequence. And the ...
Folksonomies: computer science
Folksonomies: computer science
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31 OCT 2018 by ideonexus

 Bumper Sticker Computer Science

A few of my favorites, not found in the linked article: "There are two ways of constructing software. One way is to make it so simple that there are obviously no deficiencies. The other is to make it so complex that there are no obvious deficiencies." C.A.R. Hoare "The purpose of software engineering is to control complexity, not to create it." Dr. Pamela Zave "The most important single aspect of software development is to be clear about what you are trying to build." Bjarne Stroustrup "T...
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22 SEP 2017 by ideonexus

 Algorithms are Subjective/Creative Things

he algorithm may be the essence of computer science – but it’s not precisely a scientific concept. An algorithm is a system, like plumbing or a military chain of command. It takes knowhow, calculation and creativity to make a system work properly. But some systems, like some armies, are much more reliable than others. A system is a human artefact, not a mathematical truism. The origins of the algorithm are unmistakably human, but human fallibility isn’t a quality that we associate with ...
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01 JAN 2017 by ideonexus

 1980 View of Software

Software is a new enough kind of thing in the world that humans are still figuring out how to deal with it. Though it can be bought and sold, you can't see, hear, touch, taste, smell, eat, or burn it. On an unlovely flat artifact called a disk may be hidden the concentrated intelligence of thousands of hours of design, for which you are expected to pay hundreds of dollars, and which you can reproduce on your own computer with perfect fidelity in less than a minute, free. Personal computers ha...
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17 MAR 2014 by ideonexus

 Spider Trap

A spider trap (or crawler trap) is a set of web pages that may intentionally or unintentionally be used to cause a web crawler or search bot to make an infinite number of requests or cause a poorly constructed crawler to crash. Web crawlers are also called web spiders, from which the name is derived. Spider traps may be created to "catch" spambots or other crawlers that waste a website's bandwidth. They may also be created unintentionally by calendars that use dynamic pages with l...
Folksonomies: computer science hacking
Folksonomies: computer science hacking
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An infinite-recursion website that lures web-crawlers into an infinite-indexing loop.

24 JAN 2014 by ideonexus

 Ada Lovelace Describes the Analytical Engine

The distinctive characteristic of the Analytical Engine, and that which has rendered it possible to endow mechanism with such extensive faculties as bid fair to make this engine the executive right-hand of abstract algebra, is the introduction into it of the principle which Jacquard devised for regulating, by means of punched cards, the most complicated pattems in the fabrication of brocaded stuffs. It is in this that the distinction between the two engines lies. Nothing of the sort exists in...
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It is a loom, but for weaving equations.

24 JAN 2014 by ideonexus

 Computer Simulations Allow for Mistakes

. . in real life mistakes are likely to be irrevocable. Computer simulation, however, makes it economically practical to make mistakes on purpose. If you are astute, therefore, you can leam much more than they cost. Further¬ more, if you are at all discreet, no one but you need ever know you made a mistake.
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Where mistakes in the real world don't allow do-overs.

24 DEC 2013 by ideonexus

 Turing's Two Great Insights

Alan Turing, the father of the modern computer, began by thinking about the highly conscious and deliberate step-by-step calculations performed by human “computers” like the women decoding German ciphers at Bletchley Park. His first great insight was that the same processes could be instantiated in an entirely unconscious machine, with the same results. A machine could rationally decode the German ciphers using the same steps that the conscious “computers” went through. And the uncons...
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Alison Gopnik on how the father of the computer realized machines could do the work of women "computers," and how much of hte human brain was like a computer.

03 DEC 2013 by ideonexus

 Algorithm that Presents Opposing Viewpoints

Social networks allow people to connect with each other and have conversations on a wide variety of topics. However, users tend to connect with like-minded people and read agreeable information, a behavior that leads to group polarization. Motivated by this scenario, we study how to take advantage of partial homophily to suggest agreeable content to users authored by people with opposite views on sensitive issues. We introduce a paradigm to present a data portrait of users, in which their cha...
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Intended to break people out of their protective circles that generate extreme viewpoints, it presents opposing viewpoints that won't offend. Tricky.