Category Archives: code

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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math celebration 2016: pythagorean triples empirical attack conquest


actual U Texas Stampede supercomputer where proof was run [a2]

➡ 💡 ❗ ⭐ 😎 😀 hi all. RJLipton recently covered the amazing/ brilliant breakthrough of solving the pythagorean triples problem by empirical work namely a reduction to SAT and analysis by a supercomputer by Heule, Kullmann, Marek and its a nice pivotal trigger/ tipping point for my own writeup along with related stuff.[a] (have been waiting for opportune time to write this up since may.) proofs like these are a complex or “complicated relationship” for mathematicians (aka facebook-speak), a love-hate affair. (did the extraordinary/ breakthrough/ revolutionary/ paradigm-shifting 4-color computer proof ever win any awards? and how much despair/ handwringing and further effort has there been over it over the decades?)

the breakthrough is celebrated but mathematicians would like to see shorter proofs that are human-comprehensible, so there are mixed/ ambivalent feelings about it within the community. have written on this topic quite at length in this blog even since its beginnings, and this latest breakthrough is delightfully affirmationally crosscutting across many of this blogs categories, and think this is the tip of the iceberg of 21st century mathematics in a way not yet fully recognized. its a dramatic, vivid realization/ materialization of an idea suggested a few years ago here called “SAT induction.” think that these types of proofs will lead to new theory that is indeed human comprehensible but some of the isolated theorems will be claimed first by computer analysis before the more thorough theory catches up to integrate them.

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