MOTD::Archive::Summer 2008 (16 August 2008)

Spring 2008 MOTD

Week Ending 16 August 2008

Math::Dalia Lama's Universe in a Atom
During the last month I read "The Universe in an Atom" by the Dalai Lama. It was a good book. I posted it to my AzFoo blog at AzCentral.com and I turned it into ThurmSpeaks::Dalai Lama Lacks a Karmic Connection to Math.

Computing::One More Year of the CPSR
On 15 August 2008, I renewed my membership in the CPSR for another year. The CPSR is the Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility.

GDT::I'm Officially a Long Now Member
On 15 August 2008, I became an 1570th member of the Long Now Foundation. The Long Now Foundation was "established in 01996 to creatively foster long-term thinking and responsibility in the framework of the next 10,000 years." The Long Now Foundation uses a five-digit year and so do I in some contexts.

RoadHacker::Two Murals From Hawaii Posted to RTA
RoadTripAmerica.com::"Honu" & "Birds of Paradise" in Kailau Kona.

GDT::Final MOTD Posting for Summer 2008
This is the final MOTD posting for the Summer 2008 break. The Fall 2008 MOTD, version 34, will be instantiated on 23 August 2008. I still have plans to go through the MOTD archive and fix its massive linkrot; however, I have no clue as to when this will occur. The MOTD does not have a fixed birthdate; therefore, I use 13 December 1997--the date the first MOTD was archived--as the MOTD's birthdate. {GDT::MOTD Archive}

[16 August 2008 (Fall 2008 starts with a meeting; 83° at 6:28am) top]


Week Ending 09 August 2008

Internet::10 Years of the Internet Observer Blog
Today, 8 August 2008, the Internet Observer exits decade zero and begins decade one. In other words, this blog has been active for 10 years.

The Internet Observer was created on 8 August 1998. This posting is the 52nd posting in 2008 and the 591st posting overall. There are currently ten Internet Observer archives with the 1998 archive being the oldest.

   # of Internet Observer posting by year:
   ==========================================================
   2007  2006  2005  2004  2003  2002  2001  2000  1999  1998
   ==========================================================
    69    94    51    49    52    45    48    45    53    33

Observe... this year's Internet Observer will at least be the 2nd most active year (i.e. it will exceed 69 postings). It needs another 43 postings to best 2006, but that is highly unlikely.

Hmmm... I wonder... Will the Internet Observer make it to decade two (i.e. 8 August 2018)?

Computing::From a Cluster of Calculators to Computer Clusters
I posted the following ThurmSpeaks to my AzCentral.com AzFoo blog on 8 August 2008.

64 years ago yesterday (7 August 1944), Harvard and IBM announced the Mark I--the "world's greatest mathematical calculator." The Mark I was actually a cluster of calculators.

Fast forward to 2008...

At this year's LinuxWorld, IBM announced it is working with Novell and Red Hat to "deliver a bundled alternative to Microsoft's Windows." In other words, IBM wants the world using "Windows-Free PCs."

In addition, IBM "released its first certified package of open-source software for supercomputers based on Linux. The IBM HPC Open Software Stack is designed to make 'clusters' -- servers linked together to form a single super-fast system -- more productive and easier to manage."

A few months ago, IBM's Linux-based RoadRunner supercomputer did 1.026 quadrillion calculations in one second. 64 years ago, it could take the Mark I ten seconds to do just one division problem.

IBM has been supporting FLOSS (Free/Libre and Open Source Software) for a decade and IBM's LinuxWorld announcements imply its support is getting stronger. This is excellent news for FLOSSers world-wide.

In 64 years we've gone from a cluster of a calculators to a cluster of computers. Hmmm... I wonder how long will it be before we're living with clusters of robots?

EDU::AIMS Test Scores
I posted the following ThurmSpeaks to my AzCentral.com AzFoo blog on 7 August 2008.

On 6 August 2008, the Arizona Republic allocated a full page (A14, which was ad free) to print AIMS scores. To me, the AIMS scores are nothing more than a bunch of numbers, but I'll comment anyways.

(0) If AIMS scores improve, does that mean students are getting "smarter" or does it mean teachers are getting better at teaching for the test?

(1) On average, of those students who flunked the math portion of the AIMS test in 10th grade, 35% and 28% of them passed when they re-tested in the 11th and 12th grades, respectively. Based on these raw numbers, Arizona schools get a F-minus in helping students learn from their mistakes.

(2) Almost three out of every four high school students can read. This is good news because you can't do math if you can't read.

(3) On average, for one-third of Arizona high school students, AIMS is an opportunity to earn Another Incompetent Math Score.

Follow-Up Comment

I just got done reading today's (Aug. 7) Arizona Republic and I wanted to extend a "congratulations" to Bioscience High School for doing so well on the AIMS test. I suspect for most of these students (i.e. budding scientists), the math portion of the AIMS test was trivial. It is only a matter of time before Phoenix plants a "Point of Pride" sign on its bioscience campus.

[09 August 2008 (back to school next week; 82° at 6:45am) top]


Week Ending 02 August 2008

Computing::Randy Pausch Has Died
On July 26th, I picked up a copy of the Honolulu Advertiser (weird name for a newspaper) and learned that Randy Pausch had died from pancreatic cancer. Pausch learned he had pancreatic cancer late in the summer of 2006.

Dr. Pausch, most importantly, was a husband and father of three. Secondly, he worked and played as a Computer Science professor at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in Pittsburgh. CMU is a long-time tier one Computer Science school; therefore, it is a given that Dr. Pausch was a guru Computer Scientist.

Randy Pausch was a "pioneer in the development of virtual reality." He died at the young age 47. It is a shame that pancreatic cancer killed him just when he was entering the prime years of his life.

   "You can't control the cards you're dealt, just how you play the hand."
    --Randy Pausch, December 2007

The passing of Randy Pausch is a major loss to his family, his school, the computing community, and our country.

CMU.edu::An Enduring Legacy

GDT::A Week In Hawaii
Kathleen and I just returned from spending eight nights in Hawaii. Seven of the nights were aboard the "Pride of America." It was great fun, but we have come home exhausted.

[03 August 2008 (Kaua'i is my favorite Hawaiian Island; 102° at 3:38pm) top]


Week Ending 26 July 2008

Computing::I Remain an Associate Member of the FSF
I almost didn't do it, but I did it on 24 July 2008.

   [FSF] We have successfully processed the payment. Your membership, 
   "gthurman"(#5561), has been extended by 12 months. Your account is 
   current through 2009-07-16. Thank you!

The Free Software Foundation is a charity and it was established in 1985.

What is free software?

   "Free software is software that gives you the user the 
    freedom to share, study and modify it. We call this 
    free software because the user is free."

As Richard Stallman states: The "free" in "free software" is "free as in freedom."

Computing::Google's a Tween
Google's 2nd-quarter 2008 results disappointed Wall Street so much that in one day Google's market value decreased by approximately $16.4 billion. This type of response prompted me to take a peek at Google's Form 8-K for the 2nd-quarter ended 30 June 2008.

Google had total revenue was $5.37 billion for the 2nd-quarter. From which it paid $1.47 billion in commissions to ad partners. In a nutshell, if Google does well, so do the partners.

Despite operating in supposedly "the sky is falling" recession-like economic conditions, Google's net income over the span of three months (April, May, June) was $1.25 billion. During this period Google spent $682 million on research and development, and $698 million on expanding its massive computing infrastructure.

Google's balance sheet at the end of the 2nd-quarter had current ratio of 8.5. The company ended the 2nd-quarter with almost $12.7 billion in cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities, and it was $0 in debt.

The numbers indicate Google had a decent 2nd-quarter in 2008; none the less, Wall Street spanked the company by decreasing its market value by $16 billion.

It appears as though some investors believe it is a bad omen that over the last three months Google expanded its workforce by "only" 448 employees. Google now employs 19,604 googlers. Note: One googler is often the equivalent of three or four employees at other companies. Employees are an expense (especially if they're googlers); therefore, a slower hiring growth rate should help increase the bottom-line.

After examining the Form 8-K, I took a peek at Google's 2004 annual report...

Google started its 2004 annual report with the following: "Google was born in 1998. If it were a person, it would have started elementary school late last summer (around August 19), and today it would have just about finished first grade."

Google ended its 2004 annual report with the following: "If Google were a person, it would graduate high school in 2016. Given a typical life span, it would expect to be around for another century--or more, thanks to continual innovations in healthcare technology. Today, it would only have seen a glimmer of its full potential. We're just getting started."

Fast forward four years to today...

If Google were a person, it would become a young 6th-grader next month. $5.37 billion in revenue, $1.25 billion in net income, $12.7 billion in the bank, $0 in debt, 19,604 employees, and a market value of $151.18 billion even after a one-day decline of $16 billion -- not bad for a tween who turns ten on 27 September 2008.

Math::Googol Used On the Cash Cab TV Game Show
MathBabbler was watching "Cash Cab" the other day and one of the questions was...

   Q:  What is 1 followed by one hundred zeros called?
   A:  Googleplex

Wrong! It's a googol (although the Cash Cab driver pronounced it google). By the way, in the U.S., one googol equals 10 duotrigintillion.

Googleplex is the name given to Google's corporate headquarters in Mountain View, California. A googolplex is 1 followed by a googol of zeros.

[26 July 2008 (back to work in three weeks; 89° at 6:07am) top]


Week Ending 19 July 2008

Computing::I Say CSTEM Instead of STEM
I posted the following to my AzCentral.com blog on 17 July 2008.

Kudos to Arizona on establishing a STEM Education Center in downtown Phoenix.

STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics. STEM is a great acronym, but it's missing a 'C' for Computing.

The 'C' could be contained in the 'S'. Science is biology, chemistry, physics, et. al. With respect to computing, there are computer science, computational science, information science and so on.

The 'C' could be implied by the 'T'. Technology is bioTechnology, nanoTechnology, spaceTechnology, roboTechnology, etc. But there is infoTechnology, which these days is good old IT.

The 'C' can be part of the 'E'. Many computer programmers are titled "software engineers." Most universities have degrees in "computer engineering." Over the years "hardware engineers" have built and maintained lots of computers.

The 'C' might be buried in the 'M'. There are numerous academic institutions throughout the United States, which were structured in the 1950s and 1960s, where computer education is in the domain of the math departments. This can be a dysfunctional structure because many math departments are more interested in teaching math than they are computing.

STEM is a fun acronym, but it needs a 'C'. I propose CSTEM.

[Extra] An "Economics" blog at AzCentral had a posting on 15 July 2008 titled "20 most recession proof jobs." I posted the following comment.

   Computing is a great career choice for young people 
   (especially girls) and professionals (especially women) 
   wanting to retread.  

   Note: Four of the 20 "most recession proof jobs" are 
   in the computing field.

Robotics::Pittsburgh is Robot Country
In 2006, the CREATE Lab at the Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute had the idea of "having a city-wide robotics celebration" to honor Pittsburgh's 250th anniversary.

Today, Robot 250 has become a "city-wide community art and technology" that is taking place during July of 2008.

The mission of Robot 250 is to "foster creativity, build a sense of community and raise the technical literacy of our entire region."

In a nutshell, Pittsburgh is robot country.

Robot250.org::Pittsburgh City-Wide Robotics Celebration

Biotech/Computing::TGen Gets $1.99 Million Supercomputer Grant
When it comes to computing power, 21st century biologists will always need more, more, more.

Phoenix-based TGen announced that the NIH has awarded it with a $1.99 million grant to "enhance its supercomputing capabilities."

Ed Suh, TGen's CIO, was quoted in the TGen press release saying:

   "In today's genomic research environment, high-throughput 
    instruments allow scientists to collect increasingly large 
    amounts of data. This scalable computing system will allow 
    TGen and ASU scientists to explore those large volumes of 
    complex data more thoroughly and at an accelerated pace."

Dan Stanzione, Director of ASU's High Performance Computing Initiative, was quoted in the TGen press release saying:

   "The success of TGen and ASU scientists to date has come at 
    the sacrifice of time. However, individuals affected with 
    disease do not have the luxury of time. The parallel 
    cluster-computing system will optimize TGen and ASU 
    researchers' ability to meet their data analyses and 
    systems modeling needs, and hopefully accelerate timely 
    and effective discovery toward improved human health"

Happy supercomputing to TGen and ASU!

TGen.org::TGen Awarded $1.99 Million Grant to Advance Highly Parallel Supercomputing

Computing::My ACM Membership: Decade 0 Ends, Decade 1 Begins
I renewed by ACM membership for another year.

I became an ACM member in 1998; therefore, I've been a member of the ACM for one decade.

The ACM, which was established in 1947 (a decade before my birth), is devoted to "advancing computing as a science and profession." I copied the following from ACM.org.

   "The original notice for the September 15, 1947, organization 
    meeting stated in part:  'The purpose of this organization 
    would be to advance the science, development, construction, 
    and application of the new machinery for computing, reasoning, 
    and other handling of information.'"

The "handling of information" was forward thinking given we're living in the Information Age.

[19 July 2008 (monsoon went away, but it might be back; 84° at 6:09am) top]


Week Ending 12 July 2008

Computing::More Yahoo! Drama
Carl Ichan, who owns 68.8 million YHOO shares, wrote a letter that contained the following.

   "There is no need to keep pointing out the mistakes I 
    believe Yahoo made by not immediately taking a $33 offer 
    made by Microsoft. But one thing is clear -- Jerry Yang 
    and the current board of Yahoo will not be able to 
    'botch up' a negotiation with Microsoft again, simply 
    because they will not have the opportunity."

Ichan also wrote that shareholders must: "Move expeditiously to replace Jerry Yang with a new CEO with operating experience."

Ichan has been meeting with Microsoft and Microsoft issued a statement that included the following.

   "We confirm, however, that after the shareholder election 
    Microsoft would be interested in discussing with a new 
    board a major transaction with Yahoo, such as either a 
    transaction to purchase the 'Search' function with large 
    financial guarantees or, in the alternative, purchasing 
    the whole company."

I liked the following headline from AllThingsD: "Yahoo to Microsoft: Put Your Money Where Icahn's Mouth Is."

Yahoo!'s meeting with the shareholders occurs on 1 August 2008.

Nanotechnology::Promoting Nanotechnology on AzCentral.com
This SmallBlog posting was posted to my AzCentral.com blog on 11 July 2008.

Wade Adams was a keynote speaker at the 2007 2nd Annual Arizona Nanotechnology Symposium. Dr. Adams is the Director of the Smalley Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology at Rice University in Texas.

Adams talk was titled, "Nanotechnology and Energy... Be a Scientist and Save the World" and he started it by listing 10 biggest problems facing humanity over the next 50 years: (1) Energy, (2) Water, (3) Food, (4) Environment, (5) Poverty, (6) Terrorism and War, (7) Disease, (8) Education, (9) Democracy and (10) Population. Adams is confident that future scientists will use nanotechnology to solve the energy issue and when they do the other nine problems will go away.

Nanotechnology in 02008 must be looked at using three time frames: "right now, the near future and the coming decades."

We don't need to know anything about nanotechnology in order to learn stuff from Wade Adam's 83-slide nanotechnology presentation.

Kudos to AzNano.org for posting the slideshow to the web.

AzNano.org::http://aznano.org/uploads/Wade_Adams_Keynote.pdf

Robotics::Bad News For Air Hockey Players?
IEEE posted an item about robots beating humans at air hockey.

   "An upgraded robot designed by General Electric Fanuc (GEF) 
    and programmed by Nuvation Research Corp. (San Jose, Calif.) 
    can beat most human air hockey players, its developers claim."

Humans do okay against 8-bit robots, but the 32-bit robots are tough to beat. Will a human stand a chance against 64-bit robots?

   "Good air hockey players can score against the robot if they 
    try really really hard. But its pretty obvious that the human 
    is the underdog--for one thing, the audience cheers whenever 
    the human makes a goal," quipped Michael Worry, president 
    and CEO of Nuvation. 

Note: the air hockey playing robots are programmed in C.

EETimes.com::Robots aim to top humans at air hockey

Biotechnology::Ivy Foundation Grants $3 Million To TGen
The Biotech Trekker sent the following as a Letter to the Editor of the Arizona Republic on 11 July 2008. It was also posted to his AzCentral.com blog on 12 July 2008.

Kudos to the Arizona Republic for their page A1 headline on Friday, 11 July 2008, about ASU finally getting serious about solar. But...

BOO to the Arizona Republic for burying, in the business section, the news of TGen receiving a $3 million grant to "study the genetics of brain cancer." This should have been front-page news. Yes, $3 million is petty cash in the biotech world, but it's $3 million more than $0.

TGen has been doing world-wide respected research ever since it started calling Arizona its home state back in 2002. Grants like the one reported by Ken Alltucker provide proof that TGen's research efforts are truly cutting edge. Go TGen!

I hope the state of Arizona has sent a Thank You to the Ben and Catherine Ivy Foundation.

To the Republic: Arizona is working hard to become a U.S.-based bioscience hub and our state newspaper should do everything it can to promote these efforts. I suspect many readers don't make it to the business section; therefore, TGen news should always be A1 news.

Since this blog is on the web, the value of this posting is extended thanks to the power of the hyperlink.

TGen.org::Ivy Foundation Funds New Brain Cancer Research Consortium

ThurmSpeaks::I Learned a New Word: Pleonasm

[12 July 2008 (humid days are upon us; 79° at 6:45am) top]


Week Ending 05 July 2008

Computing::Viacom vs. Google via YouTube
The court has ruled that Google needs to hand over YouTube usage data to Viacom (and the Football Assoc. Premier League).

   "Defendants encourage individuals to upload videos to the YouTube 
    site, where YouTube makes them available for immediate viewing by 
    members of the public free of charge.  Although YouTube touts
    itself as a service for sharing home videos, the well-known 
    reality of YouTube's business is far different.   YouTube has 
    filled its library with entire episodes and movies and significant
    segments of popular copyrighted programming from Plaintiffs and 
    other copyright owners, that neither YouTube nor the users who 
    submit the works are licensed to use in this manner.  Because 
    YouTube users contribute pirated copyrighted works to YouTube 
    by the thousands, including those owned by Plaintiffs, the videos
    'deliver[ed]' by YouTube include a vast unauthorized collection of     
    Plaintiffs' copyrighted audiovisual works. YouTube's use of this 
    content directly competes with uses that Plaintiffs have authorized    
    and for which Plaintiffs receive valuable compensation."

The EFF reported that the "court ordered production of not just IP addresses, but also all the associated information in the Logging database."

The EFF said the Logging database contains:

   "for each instance a video is watched, the unique 'login ID'
    of the user who watched it, the time when the user started 
    to watch the video, the internet protocol address other devices 
    connected to the internet use to identify the user's computer 
    (IP address), and the identifier for the video."

At least one person has suggest Google should provide the information in paper form.

Luckily for Google, they do not have to supply the code with the data.

EFF.org::Court Ruling Will Expose Viewing Habits of YouTube Users

Computing::CEO Pay Not an Issue at Yahoo!
With respect to Yahoo!, Carl Ichan could argue "you get what you pay for."

I was looking at Yahoo!'s 2007 annual report and was looking at the "Summary Compensation Table." The following was the line for Jerry Yang.

   Salary:         $1
   Bonus:          $0
   Stock Awards:   $0
   Option Awards:  $0
   3 other items:  $0
   Total:          $1

During 2007, Yahoo!'s CEO and one of its Chief Yahoo!'s took one U.S. Dollar for his time and efforts.

During 2007, Yahoo! had revenues of $6,969,274,000 and net income of $660,000,000 (or $0.47 per share).

During 2007, Yahoo! spent $1.6 billion to repurchase 57.9 million shares of its common stock at an average price of $27.34 per share. On 27 June 2008, YHOO closed at $21.33.

[Extra] Speaking of Yahoo!... Here are some recent headlines.

"Bidding Yahoo Adieu" (BusinessWeek)
"Last Stand" (YahooPortfolio.com)
"Yahoo's on Life Support: Here's Why" (SeekingAlpha)
"Yahoo!'s Brain Drain Hurts Chances for a Turnaround" (SeekingAlpha)
"Why Yahoo! Isn't Worth Anything To Management and Investors (SeekingAlpha)
"Can Yahoo! Still Be Saved?" (Motley Fool)
"Doubts on Yang's one-year mark as Yahoo CEO" (Fortune)
"Yahoo Reorg: Whither Jerry Yang?" (Wall Street Journal Online)
"Yahoo exec exits unnerving, reorganization awaited" (Reuters)

Computing::Firebox Set Download Record
The following was copied from SpreadFirefox.com.

   "Thanks to the support of the always amazing Mozilla community, 
    we now hold a Guinness World Record for the most software 
    downloaded in 24 hours. From 18:16 UTC on June 17, 2008 to 
    18:16 UTC on June 18, 2008, 8,002,530 people downloaded 
    Firefox 3 and are now enjoying a safer, smarter and 
    better Web."

As of 3 July 2008 at 3:41pm MST, there had been 29,428,818 total downloads of Firefox 3.

Kudos to the Mozilla Foundation and all Firefox users.

Math::One Billion PCs Used World-Wide
Gartner Inc. reported that the number of personal computers in use worldwide has crossed the 1 billion mark. The number is expected to grow at almost 12% annually. Gartner says there will be more than 2 billion PCs in use by early 2014.

GDT::Math::BAB::World-Wide PC Usage Hits One Billion

ThurmSpeaks::I Don't Identify With America

[05 July 2008 (monsoon season is upon us; 81° at 6:41am) top]


Week Ending 28 June 2008

Computing::Systers Pass-It-On Grants Program
I posted this to my AzCentral.com blog on 27 June 2008...

Computing can be an excellent long-term (sustainable) career choice and this is particularly true if you're a woman. Sadly, "women in computing" is still an oxymoronic phrase.

Dr. Anita Borg, who was a Computer Scientist, died of brain cancer in 2003. She was only 54 years young. The Wikipedia entry for Borg is a good starting point for learning more about her.

The purpose of this posting is to pass along a posting that was made to the Phoenix Linux User Group mailing-list about the following grants being provided by the Anita Borg Systers: "Pass-it-on Grants are open to any woman over 18 years old in or aspiring to be in the fields of computing. Grants are open to women in all countries and range from $500.00 to $1000.00 USD."

AnitaBorg.org::Pass-It-On Grants Program

Side-bar: Systers (TM) is "the world's largest email community of technical women in computing. It was founded by Anita Borg in 1987 as a small electronic mailing list for women in 'systems'."

Computing::Bill Gates--From Microsoft To Megagiver
Lots of people have realized their American dreams thanks to Bill Gates.

   "REDMOND, Wash., June 27 (Reuters) - Bill Gates said a teary 
    goodbye on Friday to Microsoft Corp. [...]"

   "He leaves his full-time executive role at Microsoft, which he 
    co-founded with childhood friend Paul Allen in 1975, to focus 
    on his philanthropic organization, the Bill & Melinda Gates 
    Foundation, the world's largest charity, funded in part by his 
    vast fortune."

Bill Gates will probably never really leave Microsoft. He will be a "non-executive chairman and work part-time" for the company. The Google battle is just too much fun for him to walk away completely.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has the potential to do great things for the United States and the world.

GDT::A Couple of ThurmSpeaks
I still write a "Thurman Speaks About" from time-to-time. Lately, I have been posting these type of items to my AzCentral.com blog.

TempeHiker::Pictures From Downtown Tempe
TempeHiker posted pictures from a visit to downtown Tempe on 10 June 2008. The pictures include a couple of the new Metro light-rail.

TempeHiker::Pictures From Downtown Tempe

[28 June 2008 (11 days in a row about 110°F; 81° at 5:44am) top]


Week Ending 21 June 2008

Computing::Boohoo... Usama Fayyad Leaving Yahoo!
If majority rules, then Jerry Yang is going to be ousted as the CEO of Yahoo! I'm okay with this because that would enable Yang to devote 100% of time being a Chief Yahoo!. Note: I would be sad if Yang didn't want to be a Chief Yahoo!

BoomTown's Kara Swisher posted a "short list of Yahoo CEOs" and her listed included Marc Andreessen.

Hmmm... Andresseen becomes CEO, Decker remains President and Yang devotes 100% of the time to being a Chief Yahoo! Sounds good me assuming two things: Decker is okay about not being CEO (yet) and Yang stays with Yahoo! Note: I see Andresseen being a short-term CEO, with Decker assuming the position in a couple of years.

Hmmm... If Andresseen is CEO, then instead of taking Ning public, maybe it becomes part of Yahoo!?

Computing::What Will Yahoo! Do With Jerry Yang?
This is bad news for Yahoo! shareholders: Usama Fayyad, chief data officer and EVP of research and strategic data solutions, has announced he is leaving Yahoo!

I did a Google search to find out some stuff about Usama Fayyad and came across a 2002 interview with him at BelieverMag.com.

BelieverMag.com asked Usama to define algorithm and the following was his response.

   "An algorithm just means a set of instructions for conducting 
    a task. So, if you wanted to compute the average for a set of 
    numbers, the algorithm would be: 1) Step through all the numbers 
    2) Sum up their values, and 3) Divide by the total number. It's 
    a series of instructions for implementing a mathematical notion."

I also liked the following words from Usama Fayyad.

   "Human beings, from a mathematical perspective, are fairly limited. 
    Two and three dimensions, maybe five, and we're OK. But that's 
    about it. And this is where these algorithms can help a lot, 
    because they can comprehend thousands of dimensions, and focus 
    their attention on things that might be interesting."

The BelieverMag.com interview ended with the following response from Fayyad. You'll have to read the interview to see what the question was that caused him to respond as follows.

   "It's possible in a few years. It's a question of commitment. 
    Humans are very good at making algorithms work eventually."

I can't help but believe that Usama Fayyad could become a Googler if that's what he desires.

BelieverMag.com:: Interview with Usama Fayyad

Computing::Exaflops By 2019?
The 2008 projection for peta-scale computing was accurate. I have been keeping an eye open for when exa-scale computing will happend and the 1st projection I've seen is the year 2019.

   "At next week's International Supercomputing Conference in 
    Dresden, Germany, Jack Dongarra, a professor of computer 
    science at University of Tennessee and a distinguished 
    research staff member at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, 
    will be giving a presentation on exaflop systems 
    'in the year 2019.'"

   "'The projection is very clear; in 11 years we will have an 
     exaflop,' said Dongarra, who believes by then every system 
    on the Top 500 computing list will be at least a petaflop."

ComputerWorld.com::All hail Roadrunner's petaflop record; now, what about the exaflop?

[21 June 2008 (summer has officially arrived; 77° at 5:44am) top]


Week Ending 14 June 2008

Computing::Grady Booch on the Future of Software
ZDNet Asia document a speech given by computing guru Grady Booch at this year's IBM Rational Software Conference.

The following are a couple of items that IT freelance writer Joel D. Pinaroc wrote about Booch's speech.

   "Programmers are also expected to continually benefit from a 
    generally reliable global Internet that will take software 
    collaboration to new heights."

   [...] 

   "The few key elements that 'cannot be taught' are innovation, 
    imagination and the right social skills, which will enable 
    a programmer to realize important issues and address what 
    users may want in the future."

Pinaroc quoted Booch saying, "You can't outsource innovation."

Pinaroc's ZDNet Asia posting ended with the following quote from Grady Booch.

   "Every advance for the future state of the world requires 
    the presence of software yet to be written."

ZDNetAsia.com::IBM scientist predicts software's future

Robotics::I Started a Blog
I created the Robot YottaFiler blog on 8 June 2008 and on 14 June 2008 it had seven postings.

GDT::Blog::Robot YottaFiler

Computing::RoadRunner Does 1.026 Quadrillion FlOPS
The IEEE posted an article that started with the following.

   "A handful of engineers at a lab in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., 
    have assembled what they expect will become--at least 
    for a while--the world's most powerful computer. The 
    IBM Roadrunner likely will go down in history as the 
    first computer to consistently crank out 1 petaflops
    --a quadrillion floating-point operations per second."

I am frequently asked what are supercomputers good for and there are probably more than a quadrillion responses; however, to date these supercomputers are grossly under utilized.

   "Once fully tested by IBM, the system will be packed up 
    and shipped to Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, 
    where it will be used to run classified physics experiments 
    as part of the U.S. nuclear missile program."

The IEEE article ended with the following about Japan extending its Earth Simulator supercomputer.

   "Japan has announced a follow-on project called the 
    Life Simulator, targeted at achieving 10 Pflops of 
    sustained performance. But it is not expected to 
    be ready until 2011."

EETimes.com::Pflops; now what?

[14 June 2008 (Mother Nature is whipping the midwest; 73° at 5:52am) top]


Week Ending 7 June 2008

Computing::Jerry Yang Added to the GDT::DreamTeam
Jerry Yang is the Summer 2008 addition to the GDT::DreamTeam.

Yang co-founded Yahoo! with David Filo in 1994. Yang's title is Chief Yahoo! although on 6 June 2008 he was also Yahoo!'s CEO.

   "On the outside, Yahoo! is a fun and irreverent place, but 
    on the inside we are extremely competitive." -- Jerry Yang

Yang was born on 6 November 1968 in Taipei, Taiwan.

In early 2007, Yang and his wife "pledged USD $75 million to Stanford University, their alma mater, the bulk of which would be dedicated to the building of a new environmental building on campus."

Robotics::I Should Start a Blog
I'm probably making a mistake not starting a robotics blog, but blogging is time consuming. None the less, robotics is happening and it is going to be huge.

Quotes::Four More Quotes Added To GDT::Quotes
GDT::Quotes now contains 617 quotes. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was quite quotable.

A correct answer is like an affectionate kiss.
-- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (01749-01832) {German poet/polymath; more...} [success]

A really great talent finds its happiness in execution.
-- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (01749-01832) {German poet/polymath; more...} [happiness]

Age merely shows what children we remain.
-- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (01749-01832) {German poet/polymath; more...} [age/life]

Happiness is a ball after which we run wherever it rolls,
and we push it with our feet when it stops.

-- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (01749-01832) {German poet/polymath; more...} [happiness/play]

Dates::Happy 06/07/08!

[07 June 2008 (I want to always be on break...; 71° at 6:06am) top]


Week Ending 31 May 2008

Computing::Not "Free" As In Free Beer
There are three politicians running for U.S. President. Let's call them Polifoo, Poligoo, and Polimoo. Polifoo gave a speech to day in which they said they would support "free travel to Cuba." Polifoo was a user of Free Software, they would have realized that the word "free" is often associated with "free" as in "free beer." Just like Free Software, the "free" used by Polifoo meant Freedom.

Computing::Doodle 4 Google Winner Announced
Congratulations to Grace Moon for winning the Doodle 4 Google competition. Grace is (was) a 6th grader at Canyon Middle School from Castro Valley, California. Grace's entry, which was titled Up in the Clouds, was "selected from over 16,000 entries."

Kudos to Grace and Kudos to Google for doing the "What if...?" Doodle 4 Google competition.

Quotes::Three New Quotes
GDT::Quotes now contains 613 quotes.

It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees.
-- Emiliano Zapata (01879-01919) { Mexican leader (Liberation Army of the South); more... } [life]

Mathematics is the only instructional material that
can be presented in an entirely undogmatic way.

-- Max Dehn (01878-01952) { German mathematician; more... } [facts]

Nothing is really work unless you would
rather be doing something else.

-- Sir James Barrie (01860-01937) { Scottish novelist and dramatist; more... } [work]

Foo::Learning a New Language is Time Consuming
Time and time again I've said the biggest mistake I'm making these days is not learning Chinese. The following might be become true: "Forget cheap imports. China's rise will soon be a force on Wall Street and Main Street and in Silicon Valley."

Money.CNN.com::You have seven years to learn Mandarin

Potential starting point? WikiHow.com::How to Count to Ten in Mandarin

[31 May 2008 (1st MOTD posting being 51; 60° at 5:46am) top]


Week Ending 24 May 2008

GDT::Spring 2008 MOTD Archived
This is the first posting for the 33rd edition of the MOTD. The Spring 2008 MOTD has been added to the MOTD archive.

Quote::Great Two Word Quote
I came across the following two-word quote in the 24 May 2008 Arizona Republic.

Responsibility educates.
-- Wendell Phillips (01811-01884) {American abolitionist; more...} [education]

RoadHacker::Warsaw and Basco, Illinois
We started the summer break by flying to Chicago for a family roadtrip to Warsaw and Basco. The roadtrip included the following: Warsaw (downtown [old buildings], Ft. Edwards State Memorial, Warsaw Brewery, Warsaw Cottage, Warsaw Cemetery). Basco (downtown, Basco Cemetery, The Office). Carthage courhouse. Numerous pictures of the Mississippi River. Ellisville (Spoon River and Ellisville Cemetery). London Mills (River Rat Tap). Maquon (Thurman Cemetery).

RoadHacker::Warsaw and Basco, Illinois, via Chicago and Joliet

[24 May 2008 (summer off to a weird weather start; 67° at 12:09pm) top]



Creator: Gerald Thurman [gthurman@gmail.com]
Last Modified: Saturday, 05-Jan-2013 11:17:45 MST

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