Category Archives: code

Atiyah Riemann attack/ post mortem/ autopsy, Primes torch carried on

😳 o_O 😥 hi all. am writing this with some heavy heart. in some ways there are a lot of angles to this story, in another way there are none at all. (to paraphrase one cold/ sarcastic respondent, nothing to see here, move along.)

the Riemann hypothesis is one of the worlds most premiere and probably hardest open problems, unsolved after 1½ century, and has a $1M Claymath prize now almost 2 decades old.[31]

coincidentally, just did a brief survey on links between Riemann and physics/ quantum mechanics, a connection that was noticed decades ago by Dyson and has gotten further attention over the years.[39] this crosscutting nature is somewhat rare of deep math/ physics problems, and esp wrt number theory. it even has significant connections to TCS.[13][14]

Atiyah recently announced a “simple” proof presented at the Heidelberg Laureate Forum one of the premiere scientific conferences in the world.[1] preprint is available on google drive (although these links are at risk to rot quickly, rats).[20] he is one of the worlds premiere living mathematicians.[34] he will be 90 years old in less than a year. theres an outstanding series of youtube lectures by him ranging over wide topics including physics + math crossover.[9] wrt the proof “attack” theres substantial reaction across multiple blogs [4][12][26][29][30][44] and mainstream media including quick-to-react New Scientist.[42][2]

there was mass buzz and excitement in cyberspace, eg across social media such as reddit quickly accruing hundreds of comments, some superficial, some substantial.[5][7][10][11] (many people from laymen to professionals are interested in this problem, with good reason, theres real scientific drama here, a relatively rare occurence in that world.) alas, even much to my own chagrin, a lot/ most of that seems to have collapsed quickly in the immediate case. o_O

before the definitely far-from-funny analysis, the episode is evocative of some relevant cartoon humor, which display a kind of timeless wisdom wrt capturing certain deep archetypes definitely in play here. sydney harris famous cartoon I think you should be more explicit here, xkcd number theory/ collatz eventually all your friends will stop calling you, and smbc old physicists, we had a lot of good times.

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code 2017 highlights/ trends

hi all. heres my annual collection of coding/ cs-related links for 2017, tracking some trends. my leading item is the Damore controversy at google as capturing a lot of the zeitgeist.[a] it was just announced that hes suing.[a27]

godwins law is that most onlinne discussions eventually deteriorate/ degrade into an argument about Nazis. a similar observation may be made that a lot of controversies tend to end in lawsuits. ahmed the infamous clockbuilder comes to mind also.[k3]

the google Damore story captures the confluence of the diversity[e] vs “identity politics” being tracked here over the last few years. for me this story also captures how little freedom of speech or real intellectual freedom so-called “knowledge workers” have at corporations, no matter how supposedly openminded or “non evil” the corporations portray themselves to be.

yet do think Damore is on a quixotic quest. a smart guy but maybe not so emotionally intelligent. going off on a tangent. he seemed to get a bit distracted/ fixated on meta issues around his job. noticing that Google was not the corporate paradise that the propaganda pictured. so James, do you think you can have it better anywhere else? maybe you should ask (cohorts somewhat similar in ways) Snowden or Assange about that kind of idealism and where you will end up with it….

some libertarians espouse/ elevate/ glorify the decentralizing, individual-empowering aspects of technology, but as we look around the world, its hard to miss the opposite signs in widespread action around us. whitfield diffie inventor of asymmetric cryptography once excoriated “corporate imperalism” at a CFP (conference for freedom and privacy) around the turn of the century. it may have sounded radical at the time, but a decade and ½ later, it doesnt sound so extreme or unlikely any more. we live in an age that lacks simplistic compartmentalization.

so some years after andreeson announced “software is eating the world”, some of the breathless sheen/ hype/ buzz has now worn off the coding industry last year and some of its “dark side” became more apparent.[d] a few yrs after the facebook IPO, people are asking very tough questions about journalistic responsibility and integrity, and Zuckerberg announced a new years resolution to deal with fake news on his site. good luck with that! its something that the media has been attempting to solve for centuries, arguably since the invention of the printing press.

a new well written/ researched book on Shannon came out and its great to see some more appreciation/ awareness for his work for this sometimes hidden/ unheralded figure who ushered in the Information Age.[b2]

this new administration is a near 180 difference in geek mentality compared to the last one but [c7] was one highlight, where ivanka made some gesture toward coding for girls/ her own 6yr old daughter Arabella. there is very widespread resources now for youngsters to figure out coding such as inexpensive yet sophisticated toys, kits, and classes.[c] saw nearly a whole wall at toys-r-us with the latest.

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google gender/ diversity memo firestorm, other tech+gender stuff

hi all. what a firestorm this week. james Damore got fired over his memo analyzing gender differences at google, citing scientific research into evolutionary psychology. theres so much media froth on this feel sure that it will continue into next week, but my bookmarks runneth over at this point. “triggered”! like the essay itself: touched a nerve….

this comes at a very bad time for Google which was already under investigation for hiring balances by the US labor dept[a23] and female engineers are considering a class action lawsuit.[a14][a15] looks from here like Google is under pressure from multiple/ all sides/ fronts, maybe in a catch22/ no-win situation wrt this issue. aka a lightning rod, just like damore himself! its turned into a black eye/ PR nightmare for everyone involved…

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code 2016 retrospective

hi all, 2016 was another banner year for computer science. its been on a phenomenal roll the last few years and there seems to be no end in sight. dont really know what is causing all the wave, its likely a variety of factors. one large factor is the headline-grabbing success of AI in the last few years and that areas momentum shows no signs of abating. another neat factor is that president Obama has been a major friend of coding/ CS. it will be a big vacuum in authoritative support after he leaves office, its hard to think of a more enthusiastic or high profile position/ proponent/ advocate of coding. wrt this (and ofc other ways) he will surely be sorely missed.[d2][d3][d4]

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sparkfun robot autonomous vehicle competition/ combat robotics, boulder 2016

sparkfun➡ ❗ ⭐ 😎 😀 💡 hi all sparkfun 2016 was last wknd sat sep 17th. what a blast! got the big robot fix and geek (over?)dose for a long time.

as mentioned before in this blog (last summer), sparkfun is an amazing company with a lot of really dedicated/ passionate members. its grown massively in only about a decade. they have very impressive warehouse/ facilities with nice features such as several classroom areas.

a huge unexpected highlight for me (got there just in time) was the presentation by Casey Kuhns (aerospace engineer!) and Zachary Goff of the POISON ARROW battlebot. their robot is built incredibly well in short timeframes. they have to glue snap connectors together otherwise they break apart during collisions that have as much kinetic energy as in car crashes. they showed a highlight of launching another 250LB robot 8ft in the air. they also had a flying drone that could shoot down flames. it was impressive to watch but seemed to have a lot of trouble honing in on targets.

to a large room/ ~50 count rapt audience with lots of kids, they detailed the fascinating building and insider/ behind the scenes aspects/ figures of its creation. lots of great/ riveting slides/ videos. they revealed the ABC battlebot cage cost $3M. builders got $10K from the show, and they didnt mention much prizes on the show, it didnt seem to be much of a consideration for them.

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