Archive for the ‘computers’ Category

Neverware

There is something odd about the computer Jonathan Hefter keeps at his desk in theADogpatch Labs tech incubator just off of Union Square. The space is filled with employees from some of New York’s most promising startups, most of whom are coding away on top-of-the-line-machines or fiddling with their cherished iPads. But Hefter sits me down at his workstation in front of a Dell GX150, considered state of the art in 2000, now available for $70 from a second-hand dealer online.

Hefter boots up the computer and in a flash I’m logged into Microsoft’s newest operating system, Windows 7. I open up a document and type a few paragraphs, then pop into MS Paint and create a quick image. I log on to the internet, check my email and stream a video. Microsoft recommends a machine with at least 1 gigahertz processor and 1 gigabyte of RAM in order to work in Windows 7, but this computer seems to handle it just fine.

"Most people are surprised when I show them how well an old machine can handle a new operating system," says Hefter, cracking a grin. "Especially when I tell them I also took out the hard drive."

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Posted: January 21st, 2011
at 12:43pm by Koookiecrumbles


Categories: computers,too good to be true,development

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Software Developer’s Obsession with Ninjas and Rockstars

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We software developers are so obsessed with trying to be cool that we forget who we are. I am sure many of you have seen phrases likeAjavascript ninja/C# ninja/ php rockstar developer (with a silhouette of a rockstar) on various websites.

Think about what these phrases mean for a second.

Why the hell would I call myself a javascript ninja, instead of a javascript developer?

Is it because javascriptAninja sounds cooler?

.:minhajuddin.com->

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Posted: January 20th, 2011
at 7:02pm by Koookiecrumbles


Categories: myninjaplease,computers,mnp is for the children,"ninja",development

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Eurisko : The Computer With A Mind Of Its Own

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On the July 4 weekend of 1981, while many Americans were preoccupied with barbecues or fireworks displays, players of an immensely complex, futuristic war game called Traveller gathered in San Mateo, California, to pick a national champion. Guided by hundreds of pages of design rules and equipment specifications, players calculate how to build a fleet of ships that will defeat all enemies without exceeding an imaginary defense budget of one trillion credits.

To design just one vessel, some fifty factors must be taken into account: how thick to make the armor, how much fuel to carry, what type of weapons, engines, and computer guidance system to use. Each decision is a tradeoff: a powerful engine will make a ship faster, but it might require carrying more fuel; increased armor provides protection but adds weight and reduces maneuverability.

Since a fleet may have as many as 100 ships-exactly how many is one more question to decide-the number of ways that variables can be juxtaposed is overwhelming, even for a digital computer. Mechanically generating and testing every possible fleet configuration might, of course, eventually produce a winner, but most of the computer's time would be spent blindly considering designs that are nonsense. Exploring Traveller's vast "search space," as mathematicians call it, require the ability to learn from experience, developing heuristics-rules of thumb-about which paths are most likely to yield reasonable solutions.

In 1981, Eurisko, a computer program that arguably displays the rudiments of such skills, easily won the Traveller tournament, becoming the top-ranked player in the United States and an honorary Admiral in the Traveller navy. Eurisko had designed its fleet according to principles it discovered itself-with some help from its inventor, Douglas B. Lenat, an assistant professor in Stanford University's artificial-intelligence program.

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Posted: January 17th, 2011
at 12:44pm by Koookiecrumbles


Categories: computers

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Hanson on the Technological Singularity

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Robin Hanson of GMU talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the idea of a technological singularity-a sudden, large increase in the rate of growth due to technological change. Hanson argues that it is plausible that a change in technology could lead to world output doubling every two weeks rather than every 15 years, as it does currently. Hanson suggests a likely route to such a change is to port the human brain into a computer-based emulation. Such a breakthrough in artificial intelligence would lead to an extraordinary increase in productivity creating enormous wealth and radically changing the returns to capital and labor. The conversation looks at the feasibility of the process and the intuition behind the conclusions. Hanson argues for the virtues of such a world.

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Posted: January 3rd, 2011
at 2:30pm by Koookiecrumbles


Categories: computers,science

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Quantum Computer Breakthrough

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Quantum computers rocketed to public attentionaor at least to the attention of a specific part of the public sectorain the mid-1990s with the discovery that a computer operating on quantum principles could solve certain problems exponentially faster than we know how to solve them with computers today. The most famous of these problems is factoring large numbers, a feat that would enable one to break most of the cryptography currently used on the Internet. While quantum computers large enough to do anything useful haven’t been built yet, the theory of quantum computing has developed rapidly.

Researchers have discovered quantum algorithms for a variety of problems, such as searching databases and playing games. However, it is now clear that for a wide range of problems, quantum computers offer little or no advantage over their classical counterparts.

The following paper describes a breakthrough result that ives a very general situation in which quantum computers are no more useful than classical ones. The result settles a longstanding problem aboutAquantum interactive proof systems showing they are no more (or less) powerful than classical interactive proof systems.

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Posted: January 3rd, 2011
at 12:45am by Koookiecrumbles


Categories: computers,science,"ninja"

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Progress in Algorithms Beats Moore's Law

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Everyone knows Moore's Law - a prediction made in 1965 by Intel co-founder Gordon Moore that theAdensity of transistors in integrated circuits would continue to double every 1 to 2 years.A(…) AEven more remarkable - and even less widely understood - is that in many areas, performance gains dueAto improvements in algorithms have vastly exceeded even the dramatic performance gains due to increasedAprocessor speed.

The algorithms that we use today for speech recognition, for natural language translation, for chessAplaying, for logistics planning, have evolved remarkably in the past decade. AIt's difficult to quantify theAimprovement, though, because it is as much in the realm of quality as of execution time.

In the field of numerical algorithms, however, the improvement can be quantified. AHere is just oneAexample, provided by Professor Martin Grotschel of Konrad-Zuse-Zentrum fur Informationstechnik Berlin. AGrotschel, an expert in optimization, observes that a benchmark production planning model solvedAusing linear programming would have taken 82 years to solve in 1988, using the computers and the linearAprogramming algorithms of the day. AFifteen years later - in 2003 - this same model could be solved inAroughly 1 minute, an improvement by a factor of roughly 43 million. AOf this, a factor of roughly 1,000 wasAdue to increased processor speed, whereas a factor of roughly 43,000 was due to improvements in algorithms! AGrotschel also cites an algorithmic improvement of roughly 30,000 for mixed integer programmingAbetween 1991 and 2008.

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Posted: December 25th, 2010
at 2:36pm by Koookiecrumbles


Categories: computers,development

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Speak Ruby in Japanese

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Posted: December 21st, 2010
at 5:55pm by Koookiecrumbles


Categories: computers,language

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India Developing New OS

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The Indian government is still intent on developing its own operating system so it can own the source code and architecture rather than rely on Western technologies.

Dr V K Saraswat, scientific adviser to India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) said that the Indian OS is needed to protect India’s economic framework. While we admire India’s decision to write its own OS, the decision seems to be driven by paranoia about Western technology.

Saraswat said earlier this month that Western hardware and software are likely to be "bugged". By bugged, he doesn’t mean that Windows is chock full of unsecure hackable exploits. Saraswat specifically thinks that our technology is bugged so weAcan spy on India.

"Unfortunately even today we import most of these items. They are coming from various countries. So there is possibility that these hardware parts are already bugged," said Saraswat.

"So we have started doing design and development of our own hardware. We are trying to build it in our own country," he said.

"Second part is software. Most of us use commercial software available in the country. We have got Windows and some use Linux. These software packages are likely to be bugged."

.:theinquirer.net->

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Posted: December 21st, 2010
at 1:39pm by Koookiecrumbles


Categories: computers,development,security

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Homebrew Computer

Sadly, I was born a couple years too late to grow up with an 8-bit home computer. (though I did use Apple IIs in elementary school.) In an attempt to compensate, and relive a childhood I never had, I’ve decided to design and build my own 8-bit home computer.

There are a number of homebrew computer projects out there. A few of them use additional microcontrollers, FPGAs, and CPLDs. I wanted to keep it authentic and use discrete logic and chips from that time periodanothing surface-mount, nothing that requires an expensive programmer.

.:msarnoff.org->

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Posted: December 17th, 2010
at 9:59pm by Koookiecrumbles


Categories: computers,design

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