Social Networking for Babies

A host of new sites, including Totspot, Odadeo, Lil’Grams and Kidmondo, offer parents a chance to invite friends and family to join and contribute to a network geared to connecting them to the baby in their lives. Full story @ NYTimes.com


Digital Artists Handbook

Thanks to ContraFactos & Argumentos the Digital Artists Handbook is here. "It is an up to date, reliable and accessible source of information that introduces you to different tools, resources and ways of working related to digital art. The goal of the Handbook is to be a signpost, a source of practical information and content that bridges the gap between new users and the platforms and resources that are available, but not always very accessible. The Handbook will be slowly filled with articles written by invited artists and specialists, talking about their tools and ways of working. Some articles are introductions to tools, others are descriptions of methodologies, concepts and technologies".


Electronics' 'missing link' found

Details of an entirely new kind of electronic device, which could make chips smaller and far more efficient, have been outlined by scientists. The new components, described by scientists at Hewlett-Packard, are known as "memristors". Full article @ BBC NEWS | Technology

The team has built hybrid circuits using memristors and transistors

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The Future of Computing

Silicon electronics are a staple of the computing industry, but researchers are now exploring other techniques to deliver powerful computers. Full article @ BBC NEWS | Technology

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This Psychologist Might Outsmart the Math Brains Competing for the Netflix Prize

In October 2006, Netflix announced it would give a cool seven figures to whoever created a movie-recommending algorithm 10 percent better than its own. Within two weeks, the DVD rental company had received 169 submissions, including three that were slightly superior to Cinematch, Netflix's recommendation software. After a month, more than a thousand programs had been entered, and the top scorers were almost halfway to the goal. This Psychologist Might Outsmart the Math Brains Competing for the Netflix Prize


Wikia Search

"Jimmy Wales, co-founder of Wikipedia, is launching an Internet search engine based on the same voluntary collaboration that drives the online encyclopedia." Full Story: Wiki Citizens Taking on a New Area: Searching - New York Times


The Fall and Rise of Music (on Plastic)

Today's artists have surprising new ways to reach fans and make a living. David Byrne's Survival Strategies for Emerging Artists — and Megastars on Wired. See also David Byrne and Thom Yorke on the Real Value of Music.

The Data Wars

All about "scraping": Should Web Giants Let Startups Use the Information They Have About You?Full Story @ Wired


16 Awesome Data Visualization Tools

From navigating the Web in entirely new ways to seeing where in the world twitters are coming from, data visualization tools are changing the way we view content. We found the following 16 apps both visually stunning and delightfully useful. Full story @ Mashable: Social Networking News


Free tool offers 'easy' coding

"A free programming tool that allows anyone to create their own animated stories, video games and interactive artworks has been developed". More @ BBC NEWS | Technology



Thank you all for a good semester! The grades are posted. Hope you have enjoyed this intro to infomatics.

Ah, the summer! I can't wait... Don't forget to check out the CD I made for I101 this year:


username: apollo
passoword: thediscoking


Can I Get An Amen? by Nate Harrison

Can I Get An Amen? is an audio installation that unfolds a critical perspective of perhaps the most sampled drum beat in the history of recorded music, the Amen Break.

TB-303 by Nate Harrison

Bassline Baseline is a video essay (mov) that investigates the invention, failure and subsequent resurrection of the mythic Roland TB-303 Bass Line music machine in the last two decades of the 20th century---by Nate Harrison.


Links for Lecture 28: Review and Questions

Lecture 28: Review
Just The Facts, Ma'am: Example Exam Questions

Oh yes, the morphed figures were done using the Perception Laboratory's Face Transformer. I have been morphed from a Manga figure into an Ape:


by El Greco

by Boticelli

An Ape

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Snowflakes promise faster chips

"Chips could run faster and be more energy efficient thanks to a process from IBM that copies nature's creation of seashells and snowflakes". Full Story @ BBC NEWS | Technology


SQL Tutorial - SQL reference and programming examples

SQL Tutorial - SQL reference and programming examples

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Web 2.0 wave starts to take hold

Whether you use your computer for work or fun, the programs you use generally have one thing in common - they are stored on your PC. Increasingly though, that software is moving online. The move to put more and more of those familiar programs on to the web has been happening for a while but its latest incarnation has won the name of Web 2.0.
Fulle Story @ BBC NEWS


another note from prof. Rocha on assignment 4

the new deadline is Saturday at midnight. Students who have already submitted can re-submit if desired.


I am really sorry you are having trouble with this assignment. I am also frustrated because for the past several weeks I have asked students to ask specific questions about it in class and very few did. I also warned the class that I would be on travel, so at last minute it is hard to answer all your questions. Indeed, this is a *continuous* evaluation project and so it really was supposed to be worked on during the semester.

Now my suggestions: first, look at the clue that was posted on Infoport. Then, look at the form of the algorithm that was displayed in class. Basically, you need to come up with an expression, using the operations in the table shown in class, which leads to the desired behavior. That is, those transition rules:

V(C)= 0 => 0

V(C) = 0,5 => 0,5

V(C) = 2,4,6,8 => 0,2,4,6,8

V(C) = 1,3,5,7 -> 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9

So, what kind of expression takes the value of cell C, which we denote by V(C) and which can only be a value between 0 and 9, and produces the rules above.

Well, a freebie, since a 0 always gets to be a 0, there should be a multiplication at play (several of your colleagues already suggested this). In other words, the next value of V(C) should include something like

V(C) = V(C)* X

Where X is something else that you need to figure out based on what we have discussed in class.

Moreover, the multiplication is probably not enough. The final expression contains more than one operation (from the table). For instance something like:

V(C) = (V(C) * X) ? Y


V(C) = (V(C) ? Y) * X ? 10

Where ? are operations on the table. You need to come up with one such expression that explains those tables.

Slides for Lecture 26 online

Lecture 26: Information Technology in the Real World - Databases

Special Tutorial: Structured Query Language (SQL)

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4th Installment Clues

Since it seems like a majority of you are having some trouble figuring out the algorithm for the fourth installment here are some clues given to you by Professor Rocha to help you out:

These are the main points that we have learned about the black box from
the data we have collected.Although these have all been discussed in
class at various times, I just want to provide a brief synopsis here:

*Quadrant 1 picks up 1 number at random and applies the
neighborhood-majority algorithm to it. How to pick a random number has
been discussed in class along with the neighborhood majority process.

*In quadrant 3, the fact that even numbers go to even numbers and odd
numbers can go to any number is a MAJOR clue.Think on which operations
could lead to such behavior.

*That zero always goes to zero is also an important clue.

* Also notice that every number can go to zero.

*In Q3 there are two numbers involved.


chat bot

"Meet George, 39, single, quirky sense of humour, looking for friends to chat with online. He's a profound intellect and speaks 40 languages, but is also prone to unwarranted rudeness and his banter can be slightly disjointed. George is a chat robot, or chatbot, whose descendants may become familiar faces in interactive entertainment systems, his creators claim." Full article @ BBC News

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Google Mars

Google Mars

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Face Transformer

"Ever wonder what you'd look like if you were different?

Perception Laboratory's Face Transformer

Use a good, clear, straight-on photo of yourself and it's really quite amazing!"

I loved the Manga and Chimp versions of myself. The Feminize one produced my mother with a big nose!!! Scary!!!!!!

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Slides for Lectures 24 and 25 online

Lecture 24: Computing Models - More on Algorithms

Lecture 25: The Limits of Computation and the Group Project

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Links for lectures 24 and 25

Artificial Intelligence Demos
  • Another Eliza implementation with description
  • Eliza paper by Joseph Weizenbaum
  • CodeBaby Demos
  • Alice Bot

  • Search the web with Ms Dewie---In Style!

    Ms. Dewey does "Mary J Blige"

    Hanoi Towers with 3 Disks

    Hanoi Tower Applet

    I308: Information Representation (Spring 2005)

    Visio Web site

    Dio (Cross-platform and Free)

    AmiGO (Gene Ontology)

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    Second Life ploy for Paris garden

    "The mayor revealed plans in 2004 to redevelop the area of Les Halles
    A Paris residents' association is using the virtual world of Second Life to get the town hall to press on with plans to redevelop a central area of the city." Full story @ BBC NEWS


    Slides for Lecture 23 online

    Lecture 23: Modeling the World - Individual Assignment (Installment 3) Results

    Save Our Selves | Live Earth | 7.7.07

    "Live Earth will use the global reach of music to engage people on a mass scale to combat our climate crisis. Live Earth will bring together more than 150 of the world's top musicians for 24-hours of music from 7 concerts across all 7 continents. Live Earth will bring together an audience of more than 2 billion at the concerts and through television, radio, film, and the Internet. That audience, and the proceeds from the event, will create the foundation for a new, multi-year global effort to combat the climate crisis led by Vice President Al Gore. Kevin Wall, Worldwide Executive Producer of Live 8, is producing Live Earth.

    All Live Earth venues will be designed and constructed by a groundbreaking team of sustainability engineers and advisors directed by John Picard. This greening team will address the environmental and energy management concerns of each concert site, as well as the operations of sponsors, partners, and other Live Earth affiliates.

    Each venue will not only be designed to maintain a minimum environmental impact, but will showcase the latest state-of-the-art energy efficiency, on-site power generation, and sustainable facilities management practices."

    More Information @ Save Our Selves | Live Earth | 7.7.07 and @ The MSN official broadcast site for Live Earth. Also see the news at BBC


    Links for Lectures 22 and 23

    Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi

    Pseudocode Guide

    Insertion Sort Applet. More on Sorting. Another Applet. Comparing Sorting Algorithms.

    Flow Chart Symbols

    Iconic Programmer: FlowChart Applet

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    I'm too sexy for the web, too sexy for the web

    "Welcome to The Celebrity Ranker, where we find out just how popular and sexy people are, according to the Internet.

    This site analyzes the web pages in Google's database to find out what the Internet thinks about any celebrity."

    Query on "Informatics":
    Informatics ranks the...

    1718th most popular

    30765th most sexy

    ...out of the 48076 celebrities on this site.

    Popularity = 7.502
    (where 7=super popular, 1=not popular)

    Sexiness = 1.5629%
    (the percentage of web pages that think Informatics is sexy

    Query on "Luis Rocha":

    Luis Rocha ranks the...

    15270th most popular

    20358th most sexy

    ...out of the 48076 celebrities on this site.

    Popularity = 4.752
    (where 7=super popular, 1=not popular)

    Sexiness = 8.0885%
    (the percentage of web pages that think Luis Rocha is sexy)

    Conclusion: Informatics is more popular, but I am sexier! I think Informatics needs a make-over!

    2020 computing: Champing at the bits

    news @ nature.com: 2020 computing: Champing at the bits: "Despite some remaining hurdles, the mind-bending and frankly weird world of quantum computers is surprisingly close. Philip Ball finds out how these unusual machines will earn their keep..."


    Mafia boss undone by clumsy crypto | The Register

    Many thanks to dan Lash for this story!

    Clues left in the clumsily encrypted notes of a Mafia don have helped Italian investigators to track his associates and ultimately contributed to his capture after years on the run. Mafia boss undone by clumsy crypto | Full article @ The Register

    Paper-like displays

    The shrinking bulk of cellphones and digital organizers makes them easy to carry, but the miniaturization comes at a cost: the screens are shrinking along with the electronics. You can read a short text message on them, for instance, but not a page of a newspaper.

    Within a year or two, however, you may be able to pull out a thin plastic screen from the side of your phone or digital organizer, read a magazine, a map, or a memo, then let the screen roll back into the device." http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/17/technology/circuits/17next.html

    See also the Phillips Press Release about this new technology, and their page on near future displays.


    Seventh Sanctum

    "Here you'll find tools for writers, gamers, and artists; randomly assembling names, concepts, and more for when you need inspiration, or just a bit of amusement."

    Many very cool random generators!


    Geography Web Games

    I had 90% in the European Expert Game! And 84% in the US advanced map!


    MIT students pull prank on conference

    "In a victory for pranksters at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a bunch of computer-generated gibberish masquerading as an academic paper has been accepted at a scientific conference."

    Check out examples I have generated below. We need to study to spot the Cyber-fakes these days, uhm?

    Here is an abstract of a computer-generated paper with their engine:

    Event-Driven, Semantic, Ambimorphic Modalities
    Unified reliable theory have led to many compelling advances, including XML and Lamport clocks. After years of confirmed research into the Ethernet [2], we verify the exploration of kernels, which embodies the unproven principles of operating systems. In order to answer this question, we use probabilistic symmetries to verify that the acclaimed classical algorithm for the analysis of symmetric encryption is optimal.

    You can also try the postmodern paper generator, here is an example:

    Neotextual objectivism and the prestructural paradigm of discourse

    John C. la Tournier
    Department of Literature, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    1. Rushdie and the prestructural paradigm of discourse

    "Class is part of the collapse of narrativity," says Foucault. However, the primary theme of Geoffrey's[1] model of cultural posttextual theory is a cultural whole. If neotextual objectivism holds, we have to choose between subdialectic objectivism and constructivist dematerialism.

    In the works of Rushdie, a predominant concept is the distinction between creation and destruction. It could be said that the subject is contextualised into a prestructural paradigm of discourse that includes culture as a paradox. An abundance of narratives concerning neotextual objectivism may be revealed.

    "Truth is dead," says Marx. In a sense, the example of the precultural paradigm of reality depicted in Rushdie's The Moor's Last Sigh emerges again in Satanic Verses, although in a more self-falsifying sense. Debord uses the term 'the prestructural paradigm of discourse' to denote the bridge between class and sexual identity.

    It could be said that the subject is interpolated into a neotextual objectivism that includes consciousness as a totality. Foucault uses the term 'the prestructural paradigm of discourse' to denote the role of the participant as artist.

    Thus, the subject is contextualised into a neotextual objectivism that includes truth as a whole. Marx uses the term 'Debordist situation' to denote the genre of textual class.

    In a sense, the characteristic theme of the works of Rushdie is the common ground between culture and class. The subject is interpolated into a neotextual objectivism
    that includes language as a paradox.

    Thus, Baudrillard's essay on the subconceptual paradigm of consensus holds that sexual identity, ironically, has objective value. The subject is contextualised into a cultural posttextual theory that includes sexuality as a whole.


    The Creative Archive

    Find it. Rip it. Mix it. Share it. Come and Get it.

    "The Creative Archive is a BBC led initiative to provide access to public service audio and video archives in a way that allows the British public to find, share, watch, listen and re-use the archive as a fuel for their own creative endeavours. In other words, you can rip, mix and share the BBC." From "What is the Creative Archive".

    Also "The British Broadcasting Corporation recently unveiled a license that will allow the public to access free television footage, films and sounds from some of the largest media archives in the United Kingdom." Full article on Wired.

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    The Body is Obsolete

    Is this the future of Human-Computer Interaction?



    Slides for lecture 22 online

    Lecture 22: Computing Models - Algorithms

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    Site Calculates Risk Factors for Travelers - New York Times

    The site allows users to assess the dangers of driving, walking, and riding a motorcycle or a bicycle, by season, region and personal characteristics of the traveler. It links two federal databases, one of traffic fatalities and the other of travel habits, to put the number of deaths into context by comparing them with what statisticians call exposure, or the extent to which people are in situations where there is a chance of a crash.

    Site Calculates Risk Factors for Travelers - New York Times



    E-mails 'hurt IQ more than pot'

    "Workers distracted by phone calls, e-mails and text messages suffer a greater loss of IQ than a person smoking marijuana, a British study shows." Full
    Article at CNN News

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    How Normal are You?

    Try this test, and many other Blogthings

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    Primer on Information Theory & Logarithms

    Molecular biologist Tom Schneider has created an elegantly simple and short, 7-page primer on information theory, plus a 5-page appendix on logarithms. If you're having questions about either, you might want to check it out. The title of this post, above, is a link to the overall page, or you can go straight to the PDF file here:



    Beaming Up 3-D Objects on a Budget

    "OVER the last few decades, the electronics industry has worked magic with documents by building gadgets that copy, e-mail, print or fax flat images. Now it is building boxes that do something similar with three-dimensional objects. "

    Full story @ New York Times

    Scientific computing timeline

    Scientific computing timeline

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    Links for Lecture 20


    Properties of Logarithms and Applet

    Comparing Logarithm and Exponential Applet

    The Matching Problem Applet

    Shannon Entropy of English Letters

    Morse Code Applet

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    Computer-game console contributes to science - PlayStation-3 owners chip in to help research projects.

    "Computer-game consoles most commonly associated with killing aliens may soon be used to actually search for them. At the same time, they could also help to cure Alzheimer's disease, carry out climate predictions and malaria epidemiology, and study gravity waves." Full story @ news @ nature.com


    Slides for Lectures 20 and 21 Online

    Lecture 20: Uncertainty and Information

    Lecture 21: Measuring Information via Uncertainty

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    Tip for Individual Assignment

    OK, so here is an easier way to approach the individual assignment ;-)

    This example is for quadrant 3, but it applies to all of the other ones. To gather more data on how the frequencies of numbers change as the cycles progess, instead of running the box 1 cycle at a time, do the following:

    1) Before it runs, on cycle 1, write down or print the initial state of one of the quadrants.

    2) Then run it for, say, 40 cycles. Observe the new matrix. There will have been 40 changes in the quadrant, though you will observe less than these because the same cell may have changed more than once or changed into the same digit. Collect the set of N digits that changed -- all you have to do is compare the two matrices and spot the differences. Now calculate the frequency of each digit, for example: #0's = 8, #1's =13, #2's = 9, .... Calculate the relative frequency and histogram #0's/N, #1's/N, ...

    3) Now run it for 100 cycles. Write down or print the new state of the matrix. Do the
    same thing as in 2): run another 40 cycles and collect a new set of changes.

    4) Now run it for 300 cycles. Write down or print the new state of the matrix. Do the same thing as in 2): run another 40 cycles and collect a new set of changes.

    5) compare the 3 different frequency distributions you got. Note that the number of changes N you will observe in 2) 3) and 4) will decrease, as the matrix will tend to be filled with 0's.

    Hope this helps!

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    Links for lecture 20

    Text Analyzer

    Anotherletter frequency histogram tool

    Simon Singh's Letter Frequency Analysis Tool


    Foreign Language Frequency Analysis

    The State of the Union in Words: A Look at the 34,000 State of the Union Words Delivered of George W. Bush - New York Times

    Read more about the Enigma Machine
    Play with the Enigma!
    Enigma Simulator

    The code book and its cd-rom have a nice chapter on the subject. BTW, our friend Turing was instrumental in cracking this code. The movie U-571 deals with the military operation that allowed the code to be cracked, though it is not very historically accurate. There is a very good BBC movie about Turing and breaking the Enigma code.

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    Zooomr's Kris Tate

    "What do you do if you are a 17-year-old programming genius living in Seattle, in the US? Do you work for Microsoft, the largest software company in the world with billions of dollars in resources and a clear career path? Or do you move away from your family, 800 miles south to San Francisco and single-handedly build a photo-sharing website that will eventually have 100,000 users around the world?" Full story @ BBC NEWS | Technology | Web 2.0 wonders


    Slides for Lecture 19 online

    Lecture 19: Probability

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    Searching for Dummies

    "Are search engines making today's students dumber?"
    Full Article: Searching for Dummies - New York Times

    Personal Space Assistant

    "The Personal Satellite Assistant (PSA) is a robotic assistant for astronauts working in space. The PSA is about the size of a softball and has sensors for measuring gases, temperature, and air pressure. Also, the PSA is able to perform video conferencing and can communicate with electronic support devices such as computer servers, avionics systems, and wireless LAN bridges. "

    Make sure to check the Simulation Page and the Video

    Don't you just wish they would do something like this to work in gravity?


    Live 8 DVD

    "Live 8 was the greatest cultural event in our modern age. The answer is no longer blowing in the wind. There is nothing you can do that can't be done. We all were heroes just for one day. All you do need is love". (Paul Vallely)

    Watch footage from that day and many other clips at the LIVE 8 DVD website. Make Poverty History.

    Web 2.0 wonders: Meebo

    "Meebo, a web-based instant messaging (IM) system, lets users send and receive messages from a number of different IM services, such as AOL, MSN, Yahoo and Jabber."
    BBC NEWS | Technology


    Links for Lecture 19


    Rolling Dice

    Conditional Probability Applet

    Probability Book by Brinstead and Snell

    Chance Lectures

    Many Probability and Statistics Applets

    Innumeracy by John Allen Paulos

    Random Birthday Applet. Another birthday coincidence applet.

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    Slow Down, Multitaskers; Don’t Read in Traffic

    Confident multitaskers of the world, could I have your attention? Think you can juggle phone calls, e-mail, instant messages and computer work to get more done in a time-starved world? Read on, preferably shutting out the cacophony of digital devices for a while. Full article @ New York Times


    Slides for leacture 18 online

    Lecture 18: Inductive Model Building: Linear Regression

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    Towers point to ancient Sun cult

    "The oldest solar observatory in the Americas has been found, suggesting the existence of early, sophisticated Sun cults, scientists report". Full story @ BBC NEWS | Science/Nature

    An analog device...



    "Googlism.com will find out what Google.com thinks of you, your friends or anything! Search for your name here or for a good laugh check out some of the popular Googlisms".

    Top 4 for googlisms on Informatics:

    informatics is happening
    informatics is megascience
    informatics is p0w3r
    informatics is power


    Electronic Frontier Foundation: DeepLinks

    "RIAA Says Ripping CDs to Your iPod is NOT Fair Use". Read dull story at EFF: DeepLinks

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    Virtual worlds are 'worth $1bn'

    Millions of people are flocking to inhabit virtual online worlds, says research by analysts Screen Digest. Full STory @ BBC News | technology


    Lecture slides for lecture 17 online

    Lecture 17: Inductive Model Building: Measures of Central Tendency and Dispersion

    "Partial Graph of the U.S. Income Distribution. The graph represents the population of the United States lined up, left to right, according to income. The height of the graph at any point is the height of a stack of $100 bills equaling that person's income."

    "This is a continuation of the previous graph. On the scale of this picture each pixel (dot) represents 250 meters (273 yards), so the football field is invisible. The height of the vertical spike varies from year to year. The height shown represents the increase in Bill Gates' net worth in his best year ($50 billion)".

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    Book lays out how Portuguese found Australia

    Using a computer Trickett rotated the southern part of the Vallard map 90 degrees to produce a map that accurately depicts Australia’s east coast. “They provided stunning proof that Portuguese ships made these daring voyages of discovery in the early 1520s, just a few years after they had sailed north of Australia to reach the Spice Islands — the Moluccas. This was a century before the Dutch and 250 years before Captain Cook,” he said. Full story @MSNBC.com


    lecture slides for lecture 16 online

    Lecture 16: Inductive Model Building: The Black Box and Text Frequency analysis

    Hope you had a great spring break!


    AI Cited for Unlicensed Practice of Law

    "A web-based "expert system" that helped users prepare bankruptcy filings for a fee made too many decisions to be considered a clerical tool, an appeals court said last week, ruling that the software was effectively practicing law without a license." Full Story @
    WIRED Blogs: 27B Stroke 6