The Best Things in Life Are Free.

The Best Things in Life Are Free.

miercuri, 21 martie 2018

Two casts of mind

“No two things could be more directly opposite than the cast of mind of the logician and that of the mathematician”
Charles Sanders Peirce

marți, 13 martie 2018

An engineer and an artist

“It’s the only job I can think of where I get to be both an engineer and an artist. There’s an incredible, rigorous, technical element to it, which I like because you have to do very precise thinking. On the other hand, it has a wildly creative side where the boundaries of imagination are the only real limitation.” Andy Hertzfeld

"It’s chilling to recall how this cast of young and inexperienced people who cared more than anything about doing great things created what is perhaps the key technology of our lives. Their own words and images take me back to those rare days when the rules of innovation were guided by internal rewards, and not by money." Steve Wozniak

marți, 20 februarie 2018

Thinking machines

“I believe that at the end of the twentieth century the use of words and general educated opinion will have altered so much that one will be able to speak of machines thinking without expecting to be contradicted.”
Alan Turing

duminică, 28 ianuarie 2018

The Critical Point

"In the mountains of truth you will never climb in vain: either you will already get further up today or you will exercise your strength so that you can climb higher tomorrow."

Friedrich Nietzsche, Maxims, aphorism 358

sâmbătă, 27 ianuarie 2018

A Commuter's Trip

Infinite monkey theorem

“Let us imagine that a million monkeys have been trained to strike the keys of a typewriter at random, and that... these typist monkeys work eagerly ten hours a day on a million typewriters of various kinds.... And at the end of a year, these volumes turn out to contain the exact texts of the books of every sort and every language found in the world's richest libraries.”
Émile Borel (1871 - 1956)

In this context, "almost surely" is a mathematical term with a precise meaning, and the "monkey" is not an actual monkey, but a metaphor for an abstract device that produces an endless random sequence of letters and symbols. One of the earliest instances of the use of the "monkey metaphor" is that of French mathematician Émile Borel in 1913, but the first instance may have been even earlier.

vineri, 5 ianuarie 2018

Miracolul grecesc - D.D. Rosca

„Ceea ce însă îl diferenţiază calitativ pe om de animal, ceea ce propriu-zis îl face om, e darul pe care acesta îl are uneori de a cugeta, a inventa, a activa în mod gratuit […]. Darul de a inventa fără silă exterioară, fără a fi terorizat de porunca implacabilă a instinctului de conservare se aseamănă cu puterea sufletească ce-l face pe copil, sau pe adult, să se joace. […]
Momentul acesta este decisiv. In această clipă se transformă omul, din animal rapace şi interesat, în fiinţă liberă şi cu adevărat creatoare.”
D. D. Rosca, Minunea Greacă

Ca profesor, D. D. Rosca era însuşi exerciţiul viu al gândirii, actul gândirii ca viaţă, pentru a parafraza o expresie aparţinând lui Aristotel. Profesorul mânuia cu rară abilitate dialectică o maieutică în care cuvântul apărea ca exponentul cel mai fidel al gândirii, înregistrând ca pe faţa sensibilă a unui disc, orice vibratie a mintii gânditoare, fără ca prin această magnifică importanţă a sa, rolul cuvântului să degenereze în sterile jocuri speculative. Se putea găsi la D. D. Rosca un rar întâlnit simţ al cuvântului, un respect unic pentru cuvânt, ale cărui multiple faţete le controla, pe toate, până la ramificaţiile celei din urmă nuanţe. A exprima gândul cu maximă economie de mijloace verbale, clar şi precis, a fi grijuliu cu cuvântul până la a deveni parcimonios, constituia pentru profesorul D. D. Rosca un semn sigur al înzestrării filosofice a discipolilor săi, şi totodată un imperativ şi un deziderat al întregului învăţământ filosofic profesat de autorul Existenţei tragice.

miercuri, 3 ianuarie 2018

The Zen of Python

Beautiful is better than ugly – be consistent.
Complex is better than complicated – use existing libraries.
Simple is better than complex – keep it simple and stupid (KISS).
Flat is better than nested – avoid nested ifs.
Explicit is better than implicit – be clear.
Sparse is better than dense – separate code into modules.
Readability counts – indenting for easy readability.
Special cases aren’t special enough to break the rules – everything is an object.
Errors should never pass silently – good exception handler.
Although practicality beats purity - if required, break the rules.
Unless explicitly silenced – error logging and traceability.
In ambiguity, refuse the temptation to guess – Python syntax is simpler; however, many times we might take a longer time to decipher it.
Although that way may not be obvious at first unless you’re Dutch – there is not only one of way of achieving something.
There should be preferably only one obvious way to do it – use existing libraries.
If the implementation is hard to explain, it’s a bad idea – if you can’t explain in simple terms then you don’t understand it well enough.
Now is better than never – there are quick/dirty ways to get the job done rather than trying too much to optimize.
Although never is often better than *right* now – although there is a quick/dirty way, don’t head in the path that will not allow a graceful way back.
Namespaces are one honking great idea, so let’s do more of those! – be specific.
If the implementation is easy to explain, it may be a good idea – simplicity.

vineri, 22 decembrie 2017

Think Like a Statistician

"If Japan can... Why can't we? was an American television episode broadcast by NBC News as part of the television show "NBC White Paper" on June 24, 1980, credited with beginning the Quality Revolution and introducing the methods of W. Edwards Deming to American managers.
The report details how the Japanese captured the world automotive and electronics markets by following Deming's advice to practice continual improvement and think of manufacturing as a system, not as bits or pieces."