Thursday, January 28, 2016

Marvin Minsky - a founding father of AI dies

Marvin Minsky, one of the founding fathers of AI has died, aged 88. As a graduate AI student his book The Society of Mind was very influential on my understanding and approach to AI (I still have my copy on my office bookshelf). An article by MIT's Technology Review does a good job of outlining his contributions, in AI and beyond, and "What Marvin Minsky Still Means for AI".

Monday, January 25, 2016

What's eating Silicon Valley

Everyone wants to work for Google, Facebook, Apple or preferably the next big tech company (well at least lots of our students do). Silicon Valley is booming like never before and San Francisco has become a dormitory town with real estate prices going through the roof and locals being priced out of traditional neighbourhoods. Understandably this is causing some resentment against the tech company employees. However, it's not just the obvious people who are starting to question if the Silicon Vally boom is healthy. This piece, by Andrew Yang, called What's eating Silicon Valley asks some very interesting questions about how sustainable this all is. Thanks to my colleague, Mark Wilson, for noticing this.

Monday, January 18, 2016

A Million Random Digits with 100,000 Normal Deviates

"A Million Random Digits with 100,000 Normal Deviates" is an unlikely title for a best seller but this book has been in print since 1955. If you're a mathematician you'll know that it's actually very hard to generate truly random numbers and since random numbers are widely used by statisticians, physicists, poll takers, market analysts, lottery administrators, and others this publication was designed to solve that problem. So, if you are in the need of a series of random numbers this book is for you.

Monday, January 11, 2016

2015 : The Year Wearables Became More Than a Bad Word

Happy New Year. This blog is back from its annual holiday. Some of you will probably have received a fitness tracker, such as a Fitbit, for a Xmas present. So-called "wearables" had a very good year in 2015 and 2016 look to be even better. This article in Wired explores the trends and suggests that wearables are soon to become even more wearable.