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July 16, 2009

Proofs Without Words

Filed under: Math — Tags: — Tomek @ 2:44 am



April 22, 2009

Google Data Center Tour

Filed under: IT — Tags: , , — Tomek @ 1:31 am

This is a short video about one of Google’s data centers. It houses 45 containers with 1000 servers each, drawing 10 MW. Impressive.

November 18, 2008

Random Learning Rates in Perceptrons

Filed under: Neural Networks — Tags: , — Tomek @ 1:55 am

Using a random learning factor instead of a fixed one to determine the change of the weight of the connections in a neural network, such as a simple perceptron, improves precision greatly.

The random() function in Python provides a pseudo-random x: 0<=x<1, and should average 0.5. So taking one tenth of that, the learning factor fluctuates around the intended learning rate 0.05. For precisions smaller than 0.05, on average, it is as fast as taking a constant learning rate of 0.05. But now the accuracy theoretically can be arbitrary high, here precision to five significant figures was chosen.

See below for the output and the source code of a simple single layer feed-forward backpropagation neural network finding the function y=5x+1, done in Python.


October 16, 2008

Sentient Silicon Being

Filed under: AI — Tags: , — Tomek @ 11:43 pm

After seeing Google’s development in the last years, I couldn’t help but to come to the conclusion that Brin and Page will be the first ones that will succeed in creating a Sentient Silicon Being.

In fact a considerable amount of all people help them reaching that goal by providing knowledge and semantics. We do that collectively and yet somehow egocentrically, for our own benefit. At the same time thousands of their engineers are putting together a huge redundant network, inside an even bigger redundant network, the internet. Their influence spreads into the internet every time somebody surfs their site, installs one of their applications etc.

This is what I found by chance.

Sergey Brin and Larry Page, the gifted young men who founded Google while pursuing doctoral degrees in computer science at Stanford, speak frequently of their desire to turn their search engine into an artificial intelligence, a HAL-like machine that might be connected directly to our brains. “The ultimate search engine is something as smart as people—or smarter,” Page said in a speech a few years back. “For us, working on search is a way to work on artificial intelligence.” In a 2004 interview with Newsweek, Brin said, “Certainly if you had all the world’s information directly attached to your brain, or an artificial brain that was smarter than your brain, you’d be better off.” Last year, Page told a convention of scientists that Google is “really trying to build artificial intelligence and to do it on a large scale.” The Atlantic

All Hail The Google!

PS. Or perhaps a botnet.

September 7, 2008

Can Machines Think?

Filed under: AI — Tags: , , , — Tomek @ 11:05 pm

How are people different from computers? Can computers think? The answers to these questions, although seemingly obvious to children, have taxed the minds of some of the greatest thinkers of the 20th century.

Although computers were originally designed to serve as calculating machines, many of the earliest computer scientists and engineers thought of computers as thinking machines. As far back as the 1950′s there was work on developing computer programs that could play checkers, or chess, or solve calculus problems.

Thinking, however, is a mysterious activity. Scholars have often described thinking not as a process of the brain, but one of the mind. Pioneers of artificial intelligence (AI), following this philosophy, had little interest in how the brain was constructed. They saw the problem of artificial intelligence as that of simulating the mind, an endeavor entirely different from simulating the brain.

A strong analogy was made, identifying the brain as the hardware (or wetware) upon which the software, the symbolic processor of the mind, was executed. This metaphor allowed researchers to take the position that the solution to the problem didn’t necessarily have to mimic nature’s solution, just as in the example of manned flight not involving airplanes that flap their wings to remain aloft. We could bypass the biology and evolution and directly engineer intelligence.

July 25, 2008

Achieving Your Childhood Dreams

Filed under: Interesting,Video — Tomek @ 11:07 pm

Carnegie Mellon Professor Randy Pausch died today of pancreatic cancer, aged 48. In his memory, here is his last lecture he gave September 18, 2007, before a packed McConomy Auditorium.

In his moving presentation, “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams,” Pausch talked about his lessons learned and gave advice to students on how to achieve their own career and personal goals.

Download a transcript of this talk or see his site for his book.

June 27, 2008

Painting with Light

Filed under: Arts — Tomek @ 11:55 pm

This stunning effect is made with battery powered flash lights, bike lamps, sparklers, cold cathode lights, anything bright. Here are some basics:

To get the best results you need a tripod. The exposure should be around 10-30 sec. or longer if needed. Stay in front of the camera and do your writing.
To not overexpose set the camera to about ISO 100, and close your aperture as much as possible. If there is still too much light you might have to use a neutral density filter.

If you stack enough similar pictures, you get something like this:



June 24, 2008

George Carlin – Life is Worth Losing

Filed under: Interesting,Video — Tomek @ 1:16 am

Famous for his extremely black humour, American comedian George Carlin died Sunday, aged 71. Here is what he thought of death, and more.

Go to Mashables for some shorter best-of clips.

June 20, 2008

First ten digits of Pi encoded in crop circle

Filed under: Interesting,Pictures — Tomek @ 1:34 pm

This 50 meter wide crop circle has recently been spotted in a barley field near Barbury Castle, Wiltshire, UK. It depicts the mathematical constant Pi to ten significant figures.

Images courtesy of Lucy Pringle.


June 19, 2008

Still Life

Filed under: Interesting,Video — Tomek @ 11:36 pm

A blear eyed driver takes an unexpected detour through a small town. When he searches for help in this strange and desolate place, he finds the inhabitants somehow unmoved by his appearance.

This is a brilliantly surreal shortfilm by Canadian director Jon Knautz.

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