Topic: Computing/Computer science
In the history of artificial intelligence, an AI winter is a period of reduced funding and interest in artificial intelligence research. The term was coined by analogy to the idea of a nuclear winter. The field has experienced several hype cycles, followed by disappointment and criticism, followed by funding cuts, followed by renewed interest years or decades later.
The term first appeared in 1984 as the topic of a public debate at the annual meeting of AAAI (then called the "American Association of Artificial Intelligence"). It is a chain reaction that begins with pessimism in the AI community, followed by pessimism in the press, followed by a severe cutback in funding, followed by the end of serious research. At the meeting, Roger Schank and Marvin Minsky—two leading AI researchers who had survived the "winter" of the 1970s—warned the business community that enthusiasm for AI had spiraled out of control in the 1980s and that disappointment would certainly follow. Three years later, the billion-dollar AI industry began to collapse.
Hype is common in many emerging technologies, such as the railway mania or the dot-com bubble. The AI winter was a result of such hype, due to over-inflated promises by developers, unnaturally high expectations from end-users, and extensive promotion in the media . Despite the rise and fall of AI's reputation, it has continued to develop new and successful technologies. AI researcher Rodney Brooks would complain in 2002 that "there's this stupid myth out there that AI has failed, but AI is around you every second of the day." In 2005, Ray Kurzweil agreed: "Many observers still think that the AI winter was the end of the story and that nothing since has come of the AI field. Yet today many thousands of AI applications are deeply embedded in the infrastructure of every industry."
Enthusiasm and optimism about AI has increased since its low point in the early 1990s. Beginning about 2012, interest in artificial intelligence (and especially the sub-field of machine learning) from the research and corporate communities led to a dramatic increase in funding and investment.
Alan Mathison Turing (; 23 June 1912 – 7 June 1954) was an English mathematician, computer scientist, logician, cryptanalyst, philosopher, and theoretical biologist. Turing was highly influential in the development of theoretical computer science, providing a formalisation of the concepts of algorithm and computation with the Turing machine, which can be considered a model of a general-purpose computer. Turing is widely considered to be the father of theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence. Despite these accomplishments, he was not fully recognised in his home country during his lifetime, due to his homosexuality, and because much of his work was covered by the Official Secrets Act.
During the Second World War, Turing worked for the Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS) at Bletchley Park, Britain's codebreaking centre that produced Ultra intelligence. For a time he led Hut 8, the section that was responsible for German naval cryptanalysis. Here, he devised a number of techniques for speeding the breaking of German ciphers, including improvements to the pre-war Polish bombe method, an electromechanical machine that could find settings for the Enigma machine.
Turing played a crucial role in cracking intercepted coded messages that enabled the Allies to defeat the Nazis in many crucial engagements, including the Battle of the Atlantic, and in so doing helped win the war. Due to the problems of counterfactual history, it is hard to estimate the precise effect Ultra intelligence had on the war, but at the upper end it has been estimated that this work shortened the war in Europe by more than two years and saved over 14 million lives.
After the war Turing worked at the National Physical Laboratory, where he designed the Automatic Computing Engine. The Automatic Computing Engine was one of the first designs for a stored-program computer. In 1948 Turing joined Max Newman's Computing Machine Laboratory, at the Victoria University of Manchester, where he helped develop the Manchester computers and became interested in mathematical biology. He wrote a paper on the chemical basis of morphogenesis and predicted oscillating chemical reactions such as the Belousov–Zhabotinsky reaction, first observed in the 1960s.
Turing was prosecuted in 1952 for homosexual acts; the Labouchere Amendment of 1885 had mandated that "gross indecency" was a criminal offence in the UK. He accepted chemical castration treatment, with DES, as an alternative to prison. Turing died in 1954, 16 days before his 42nd birthday, from cyanide poisoning. An inquest determined his death as a suicide, but it has been noted that the known evidence is also consistent with accidental poisoning.
In 2009, following an Internet campaign, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown made an official public apology on behalf of the British government for "the appalling way he was treated". Queen Elizabeth II granted Turing a posthumous pardon in 2013. The Alan Turing law is now an informal term for a 2017 law in the United Kingdom that retroactively pardoned men cautioned or convicted under historical legislation that outlawed homosexual acts.
- "Alan Turing's 100th Birthday - Mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst, scientist" | 2012-06-22 | 146 Upvotes 19 Comments
- "Happy Birthday, Alan Turing" | 2011-06-23 | 78 Upvotes 6 Comments
Bitcoin (₿) is a cryptocurrency. It is a decentralized digital currency without a central bank or single administrator that can be sent from user to user on the peer-to-peer bitcoin network without the need for intermediaries.
Transactions are verified by network nodes through cryptography and recorded in a public distributed ledger called a blockchain. Bitcoin was invented in 2008 by an unknown person or group of people using the name Satoshi Nakamoto and started in 2009 when its source code was released as open-source software. Bitcoins are created as a reward for a process known as mining. They can be exchanged for other currencies, products, and services. Research produced by University of Cambridge estimates that in 2017, there were 2.9 to 5.8 million unique users using a cryptocurrency wallet, most of them using bitcoin.
Bitcoin has been criticized for its use in illegal transactions, its high electricity consumption, price volatility, and thefts from exchanges. Some economists, including several Nobel laureates, have characterized it as a speculative bubble. Bitcoin has also been used as an investment, although several regulatory agencies have issued investor alerts about bitcoin.
Cargo cult programming is a style of computer programming characterized by the ritual inclusion of code or program structures that serve no real purpose. Cargo cult programming is symptomatic of a programmer not understanding either a bug they were attempting to solve or the apparent solution (compare shotgun debugging, deep magic). The term cargo cult programmer may apply when an unskilled or novice computer programmer (or one inexperienced with the problem at hand) copies some program code from one place to another with little understanding of how it works or whether it is required.
Cargo cult programming can also refer to the practice of applying a design pattern or coding style blindly without understanding the reasons behind that design principle. Examples being adding unnecessary comments to self-explanatory code, overzealous adherence to the conventions of a programming paradigm, or adding deletion code for objects that garbage collection automatically collect.
Obsessive and redundant checks for null values or testing whether a collection is empty before iterating its values may be a sign of cargo cult programming. Such obsessive checks make the code less readable, and often prevent the output of proper error messages, obscuring the real cause of a misbehaving program.
- "Cargo cult programming" | 2015-02-16 | 10 Upvotes 3 Comments
Comb sort is a relatively simple sorting algorithm originally designed by Włodzimierz Dobosiewicz and Artur Borowy in 1980, later rediscovered by Stephen Lacey and Richard Box in 1991. Comb sort improves on bubble sort.
- "Comb Sort - Just As Good As Quick Sort" | 2010-04-20 | 31 Upvotes 9 Comments
Conway's law is an adage stating that organizations design systems that mirror their own communication structure. It is named after computer programmer Melvin Conway, who introduced the idea in 1967. His original wording was:
Any organization that designs a system (defined broadly) will produce a design whose structure is a copy of the organization's communication structure.
The law is based on the reasoning that in order for a software module to function, multiple authors must communicate frequently with each other. Therefore, the software interface structure of a system will reflect the social boundaries of the organization(s) that produced it, across which communication is more difficult. Conway's law was intended as a valid sociological observation, although sometimes it's used in a humorous context. It was dubbed Conway's law by participants at the 1968 National Symposium on Modular Programming.
In colloquial terms, it means software or automated systems end up "shaped like" the organizational structure they are designed in or designed for. Some interpretations of the law say this organizational pattern mirroring is a helpful feature of such systems, while other interpretations say it's merely a result of human nature or organizational bias.
In programming language theory and proof theory, the Curry–Howard correspondence (also known as the Curry–Howard isomorphism or equivalence, or the proofs-as-programs and propositions- or formulae-as-types interpretation) is the direct relationship between computer programs and mathematical proofs.
It is a generalization of a syntactic analogy between systems of formal logic and computational calculi that was first discovered by the American mathematician Haskell Curry and logician William Alvin Howard. It is the link between logic and computation that is usually attributed to Curry and Howard, although the idea is related to the operational interpretation of intuitionistic logic given in various formulations by L. E. J. Brouwer, Arend Heyting and Andrey Kolmogorov (see Brouwer–Heyting–Kolmogorov interpretation) and Stephen Kleene (see Realizability). The relationship has been extended to include category theory as the three-way Curry–Howard–Lambek correspondence.
- "Curry–Howard correspondence" | 2018-08-13 | 55 Upvotes 22 Comments
Dennis MacAlistair Ritchie (September 9, 1941 – c. October 12, 2011) was an American computer scientist. He created the C programming language and, with long-time colleague Ken Thompson, the Unix operating system and B programming language. Ritchie and Thompson were awarded the Turing Award from the ACM in 1983, the Hamming Medal from the IEEE in 1990 and the National Medal of Technology from President Bill Clinton in 1999. Ritchie was the head of Lucent Technologies System Software Research Department when he retired in 2007. He was the "R" in K&R C, and commonly known by his username dmr.
- "Dennis Ritchie" | 2011-10-13 | 243 Upvotes 1 Comments
Fitts's law (often cited as Fitts' law) is a predictive model of human movement primarily used in human–computer interaction and ergonomics. This scientific law predicts that the time required to rapidly move to a target area is a function of the ratio between the distance to the target and the width of the target. Fitts's law is used to model the act of pointing, either by physically touching an object with a hand or finger, or virtually, by pointing to an object on a computer monitor using a pointing device.
Fitts's law has been shown to apply under a variety of conditions; with many different limbs (hands, feet, the lower lip, head-mounted sights), manipulanda (input devices), physical environments (including underwater), and user populations (young, old, special educational needs, and drugged participants).
Flashsort is a distribution sorting algorithm showing linear computational complexity for uniformly distributed data sets and relatively little additional memory requirement. The original work was published in 1998 by Karl-Dietrich Neubert.
- "Flashsort" | 2020-02-09 | 141 Upvotes 31 Comments