November 2007

7 posts

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Triple Nine

Sorry for this self-indulgent post. It will probably be of interest to only 0.1% of you. I have been interviewing high schools students applying to Harvard College for the past three years. There are twice as many applications today as there were in my day, and the admittance rate has correspondingly dropped by half. None of the applicants that I previously interviewed were accepted, and only one, the top student in a class of 600, was wait-listed. All of the applicants though were very talented and qualified as if the weak students self-selected themselves out. In my past MBA life,...

Distractions, II

I just finished my move and am developing again. I was away from my computer and the Internet for over a week as I focused on getting the move behind me. Right now, I have to make up for lost time. This move was unplanned and forced upon me by my rather unusual living situation and some opportunism. I lived in a house, which I sold to my ex-wife, for seven years. I lost almost two months worth of significant productivity in anticipation and completion of this unnecessary move ahead of my product release.

Smart Machines

Recently, I got a email from the reader... You are only about money, yes? You want to start a new company for research and development into AI technology.. For the money. What else? How else could anyone be so ignorant of consciousness? It is money the blinds. I searched my posts related to consciousness, but only uncovered this one on Will Machines Become Conscious? We are naturally resistant to the idea that machines can think because of society, religion, or maybe our natural desire to be special--to be center of our universe. A good illustration is the AI effect, where...

Semantic Computing

Walter Stiers from the Academic Relations Team at Microsoft wrote that Microsoft Research is accepting proposals for Semantic Computing. His post caught my eye, because of what I am working on, which can basically be described as semantic computing. I like the phrase used, "semantic computing." It reminded me of the another phrase coined by the Data Access Team "conceptual layer" to refer to the higher level of abstraction offered by LINQ and expression trees. My main concern was whether Microsoft invading my turf and whether I would have to put up a fight. It was just a false alarm...

Supercompilation

I noticed work by SuperCompilers, LLC on supercompilation that takes on the myth of the sufficiently smart compiler (which I previously wrote in my post on Humans vs Computers). Their technology seems very similar to my work with its reliance on partial evaluation. The company deals with the same sort of criticisms about NP-completeness and undecidability in their white paper "Supercompiling Java Programs." The problem of fully optimizing an arbitrary computer program, when mathematically formalized, turns out be an incomputable problem, we do not need to optimize arbitrary mathematically given computer programs, we only need to optimize programs written by...

What's Wrong With Reason?

Earlier this year, Slashdot pointed to a set of Flickr photos of someone’s visit to a newly built creationist museum in Kentucky. I have often assumed that many creationists live in households and communities, where access to information was heavily regulated. After looking through the photos, I discovered that many creationists actually do see the same things that non-creationists see, but simply reached different conclusions. Below are three photos from a set of about a half dozen juxtaposing human reason as a faulty device in opposition to God's Word. I guess it make sense, if one takes scripture as absolute,...

The Awkwardness of Functional Programming

Both Reddit’s main page and programming subreddit includes a popular post “Admitting that functional programming can be awkward.” Each of these subreddits have elicited numerous interesting responses. In it, James Hague recounts how a semi-successful Mac game he wrote called Bumbler is trivial to write in C, but that a purely functional approach appeared to be barely doable and may well be the wrong paradigm for these types of problems: What's interesting is that it would be trivial to write this in C. Some incrementing, some conditions, direct calls to sound playing routines and insect spawning functions, reading and writing...

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