The Deep Mind of Demis Hassabis - "The big thing is what we call transfer learning. You've mastered one domain of things, how do you abstract that into something that's almost like a library of knowledge that you can now usefully apply in a new domain? That's the key to general knowledge. At the moment, we are good at processing perceptual information and then picking an action based on that. But when it goes to the next level, the concept level, nobody has been able to do that." (previously: 1,2) [more inside]
The most recent episode of the Ruby Rogues podcast — #179 Accountability and Diversity with Meagan Waller — is a treasure trove of insights and info about unconscious biases, diversity, employment, culture, tech, and more. The podcast page features a timestamped topic outline of the discussion, as well as many links to the Ruby community websites, projects, studies, conferences, and controversies they discuss… [more inside]
Hyperreal numbers: infinities and infinitesimals - "In 1976, Jerome Keisler, a student of the famous logician Tarski, published this elementary textbook that teaches calculus using hyperreal numbers. Now it's free, with a Creative Commons copyright!" (pdf—25mb :) [more inside]
HP scaling memristor and photonic computing: "the device is essentially remembering 1s or 0s depending on which state it is in, multiplying its storage capacity. HP can build these chips with traditional semiconductor equipment and expects to be able to pack unprecedented amounts of memory—enough to store huge databases of pictures, files, and data—into a computer. In theory, that would remove the need for a conventional slow disk/fast memory system. With the Machine's main chips sitting on motherboards right next to the memristors, they can access any needed information almost instantly..." [more inside]
I’m trying to build a jigsaw puzzle. I wish I could show you what it will be, but the picture isn’t on the box. But I can show you some of the pieces that snapped into place this year, and try to share a context for why they mattered so much to me.Bret Victor discusses scientific thinking and computing from a deeply humane perspective through the eyes of Douglas Engelbart, Alan key and other great thinkers of our time.
2013 Science Journalism Award winners from the American Association for the Advancement of Science:
- Large Newspaper: Deep Trouble, about invasive Asian Carp, sewage, the Chicago River and Lake Michigan
- Small Newspaper: Warning: Quake in 60 Seconds, about why California doesn't have a decent early warning system for earthquakes
- Magazine: Attack of the Mutant Pupfish, about genetic integrity vs. genetic restoration in the fight to preserve endangered species
- Television (20 minutes or less): NOVA's profile of computer scientist Adrien Treuille and Foldit, a crowd-sourced protein-folding game
- Television (more than 20 minutes): Smithsonian Channel: Killer in the Caves, about bats and the deadly white-nose fungus
- Radio: NPR and The Center for Public Integrity - As Mine Protections Fail, Black Lung Cases Surge and Black-Lung Rule Loopholes Leave Miners Vulnerable
- Online: An environmental scandal that’s happening right underneath your feet, about the hidden cost of natural gas leaks in pipelines underneath cities
- Children's Science News: Cold Water Corals: Paradise on the Seabed [pdf]
The simulated brain - "First computer model to produce complex behaviour performs almost as well as humans at simple number tasks." [1,2,3,4,5,etc.]
How Computers Work. Recently recovered & scanned in by the good folks at BoingBoing, this was an early textbook explaining the fundamental concepts & inner workings of modern computing systems. I believe a slightly different edition of this book was my own introduction to computers when I was in 6th grade or so, which explains a lot about my approach to using them.
“We try and illustrate a “universe-next-door” where the new product is the only novelty. Where there is still tea, and the traffic is still miserable.”
Future Drama is a tumblr devoted to that particular kind of futurism - corporate prediction demos of how their products will change the world - See The Mother Of All Demos from 1968 introducing the mouse, video conferencing, teleconferencing, hypertext, word processing - Apple in 1987 - Philco-Ford The Future Now!
Technology innovation will be a large part of late 20th century American history. Now the gearheads can explore the roots of all that geekdom. The Geek's Guide to Seattle is a virtual tour of some of the region’s most interesting and notable technology locations. A Geek's Tour of Silicon Valley hits hotspots there. Don't forget The Tech Museum and the Computer History Museum. Back east, there's Research Triangle Park (pdf) in North Carolina, and The Computing Revolution at the Museum of Science in Boston.
The simulated brain - "The scientists behind Blue Brain hope to have a virtual human brain functioning in ten years... Dr. Markram began by collecting detailed information about the rat's NCC, down to the level of genes, proteins, molecules and the electrical signals that connect one neuron to another. These complex relationships were then turned into millions of equations, written in software. He then recorded real-world data -- the strength and path of each electrical signal -- directly from rat brains to test the accuracy of the software." Is it possible to digitally simulate a brain accurately? Can it only be analog? And are there quantum effects to be considered? (previously 1 2 3 4) [more inside]
Haven't you always secretly wondered what would happen if a ninja accidentally stumbled into, say, Bill and Ted's time traveling Phone Booth and ended up somewhere around 7th century BC, only to come face-to-face with a feisty Spartan? Have you not pondered what would happen if you locked up an Apache with a Gladiator inside some sort of 21st century battle dome? Are you frustrated because you feel like there's nobody doing proper scientific studies to see what would happen when you pit two historically violent warriors that could have never actually met in real life? Worry no more people - I present to you Spike TV's newest offering - Deadliest Warrior! [more inside]
The coming memristor revolution in electronics and how it works. The newly created memristor, only the fourth fundamental fundamental type of passive circuit element, has the promise of computing advances both prosaic (faster, cheaper and "bigger" flash drives) and momentous (relatively effortless mimicry of brain cells and their activity). This is the story of the memristor's genesis, told by R. Stanley Williams, the leader of the team that created the device. [more inside]
Science Hack is a unique search engine for science videos focusing on Physics, Chemistry, and Space. For example, things to do with sulfur hexafluoride. Still growing, the editors are presently indexing other scientific fields of study including Geology, Psychology, Robotics and Computers. Ever wonder why things go bang?
The Anonymity Experiment. Is it possible to hide in plain sight? Privacy-minded people have long warned of a world in which an individual’s every action leaves a trace, in which corporations and governments can peer at will into your life with a few keystrokes on a computer. Now one of the people in charge of information-gathering for the U.S. government says, essentially, that such a world has arrived.
The first Transhuman Conference On the Law of Transhuman Persons: Whether or not you believe humans are set to evolve into gods, or AI is destined to achieve self-awareness the idea of the Transhuman is a thought provoking concept. Philosophers have debated the nature of the self, of the human for millennia. Is it time to start drafting new laws to govern all possible sentient beings on this planet? or is it all just a science of fiction? a comfortable humanist illusion?
A more efficient microbe genome. A more efficient sorting algorithm. A more efficient keyboard layout.
According to the developmental spiral we are heading towards an unfathomable point in time known as singularity. Could the futurists and science fiction writers such as Vernon Vinge be right?
Prof. George W. Hart, of the Computer Science Department at SUNY Stony Brook, has an enviable web presence. His Encyclopedia of Polyhedra alone is worth the visit, his geometric sculptures make the nerd in me weep at their beauty, and his trilobite recipe looks mighty yummy.
A computer aided simulation builds a spiral galaxy from its beginning. In all, 390,000 particles were placed in an arrangement similar to a newborn galaxy. The end result after three months is an event that is believed to take billions of years to occur. (animation)
"The smartest scientist on the planet." [NYT reg req] "Conducting experiments on a computer, where he says he has logged 100 million keystrokes in the last 10 years, Mr. Wolfram wrote simple programs that generated odd and intricate patterns to test his ideas about complexity. He argues that natural phenomena can be explored as if they were, in fact, computer programs." Stephen Wolfram's own company (Wolfram Media Inc.) is now publishing his 1,197-page book - "A New Kind Science " - which was kept secret until now. They claim "..he is proposing a paradigm shift. A new twist on everything.." in explaining how the universe operates. Sounds big. Is it really?
The iTunes article reminds me of an important lesson in computer work: always mount a scratch monkey.
Brain Cells Used To Make Working Semiconductor "This is the first direct functional interfacing of a living neuronal network with an electronic semiconductor chip," said co-author Dr. Peter Fromherz of the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry in Munich, Germany, in an interview with Reuters Health. "It is a further step on our road to combine the elements of brains and computers," he added.