Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Computer Scientists DO Need Math

Among academics, it's fairly well known that UT is one of those schools that loves to push theory on its CS students. Several of the top 10 schools do the same (maybe all?). And now, there's this dude who wrote a book saying that math is unimportant to computer science, which I find outrageous. He claims that mathematicians and computer scientists pursue different goals, which originally seemed to intersect at the algorithm but that no random input programs (such as an operating system) really follow the concept of the algorithm. First of all, he's referring to non-determinism which, lo and behold, would be a mathematical idea ported to computer science. I don't see how anything a computer does isn't an algorithm because whether or not it halts has nothing to do with it following a predetermined series of steps, whether it has to respond to random inputs or whether it has to do things in parallel or what. That doesn't imply that when it starts and ends and the exact sequence of steps in its execution, but rather it provides a plan for handling a likely infinite number of possible execution paths. Oh, and you know that thing everything inside this box you're using speaks in? Binary? Yeah, that's a product of math. If you don't understand binary, I think it can make your job hard at times if you're coding. I had to deal with a binary tree at work based on bits (won't tell you why or how, sorry ;). Hell, I've used math a lot at work by the very idea of time and memory complexity. My colleagues sometimes even speak in logical terms to explain why they believe a certain design path is better. I'm in the industry at an enormous company and math surrounds me, so how the Hell can he say that it's unnecessary to computer science? The concepts that founded computers are not obsolete, they're just not quite so obvious anymore as we build higher level languages. Alright, I'm off my soapbox.

Ars Technica put up one of their ridiculously awesome reviews, but this one is for the iPhone. This is the longest review from them that I've seen, and it's ridiculously detailed. I don't imagine that you'll find a more comprehensive, unbiased iPhone review than this. I actually probably spent like 25 minutes just browsing it, and it really needs no other introduction.

It's rumor mill time! Yesterday, there were rumors that were squashed today about an iPhone Nano, and now we have analysts reporting an iPhone-like 5G iPod in January, in time for Macworld. This would make sense, but I kind of have a feeling that they'd rather get this puppy out before Christmas. That's just my feeling though, backed by nothing other than a gut feeling. Remember how they unveiled the Nano in late October at a special event in time for the holidays? I just think they'd want to do something like that.

Couple of one-liners now. If you actually own an iPhone, you'll love this list of applications that came out of iPhoneDevCamp. If you're moving anywhere anytime soon or if you're hardcore about shipping goods, did you know that USPS will give you free boxes? Crazy, huh?

Lastly, I thought it was interesting that Web 2.0 stuff is being viewed as a threat by tech company executives. It restricts their control, takes away some of their power, and thrusts them involuntarily into these new applications. These guys should've seen it coming though since no paradigm in computing lasts for more than a decade or two.

I know it's already Tuesday, but I have to talk about the box office because Transformers had the highest grossing opening six days of any non-sequel movie ever at a whopping $152.2 million. It's followed by Ratatouille at $29 million over the 3-day weekend. Oh, and if you're wondering why Sicko, despite all its press, is at 9th, it's probably because it's only is 700 theaters, a fifth of Transformers.

Fox is intending to pump out the Wolverine spinoff flick by next summer. Sound crazy? Yeah, it is, especially since Hugh Jackman also needs to film Australia before then. Good luck, Fox! Oh, and why not try finding a director first?

According to Richard Kelly, they're halfway through touching up the special effects on Southland Tales. They're planning to be done by the end of summer, and he sounds pretty proud of what they're doing so I hope it ends up better than some of the initial reactions were.

Now for some trailers. The teaser for the 60s adaptation Get Smart wasn't funny and didn't really leave me wanting more, so I hope the real trailer ends up being better. The trailer for Fred Claus honestly wasn't much better, despite having Vince Vaughn and Paul Giamatti. The most impressive trailer was probably for the fantasy film The Spiderwick Chronicles, but I'm not terribly excited about it quite yet because there have just been too many fantasy movies since Lord of the Rings.

Last, but not least, how cool would it be to Kill Dill?!

Now for the Ten on Tuesday meme (don't have time tonight to do pictures, sorry):

10 Favorite Things
10. Booze
9. Water (oceans, beaches, lakes, etc)
8. Blogging
7. Photography
6. Dancing
5. Guitar
4. Austin
3. My family
2. Technology
1. My girlfriend

No comments: