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Comment: Non-deterministic sort (Score 4, Interesting) 195

by kebes (#46378157) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Do You Sort?
Human sorting tends to be rather ad-hoc, and this isn't necessarily a bad thing. Yes, if someone is sorting a large number of objects/papers according to a simple criterion, then they are likely to be implementing a version of some sort of formal searching algorithm... But one of the interesting things about a human sorting things is that they can, and do, leverage some of their intellect to improve the sorting. Examples:
1. Change sorting algorithm partway through, or use different algorithms on different subsets of the task. E.g. if you are sorting documents in a random order and suddenly notice a run that are all roughly in order, you'll intuitively switch to a different algorithm for that bunch. In fact, humans very often sub-divide the problem at large into stacks, and sub-sort each stack using a different algorithm, before finally combining the result. This is also relevant since sometimes you actually need to change your sorting target halfway through a sort (when you discover a new category of document/item; or when you realize that a different sorting order will ultimately be more useful for the high-level purpose you're trying to achieve; ...).
2. Pattern matching. Humans are good at discerning patterns. So we may notice that the documents are not really random, but have some inherent order (e.g. the stack is somewhat temporally ordered, but items for each given day are reversed or semi-random). We can exploit this to minimizing the sorting effort.
3. Memory. Even though humans can't juggle too many different items in their head at once, we're smart enough that we encounter an item, we can recall having seen similar items. Our visual memory also allows us to home-in on the right part of a semi-sorted stack in order to group like items.

The end result is a sort that is rather non-deterministic, but ultimately successful. It isn't necessarily optimal for the given problem space, but conversely their human intellect is allowing them to generate lots of shortcuts during the sorting problem. (By which I mean, a machine limited to paper-pushing at human speed, but implementing a single formal algorithm, would take longer to finish the sort... Of course in reality mechanized/computerized sorting is faster because each machine operation is faster than the human equivalent.)

+ - Alternatives to Slashdot post beta? 8

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Like many Slashdotters, I intend to stop visiting Slashdot after the beta changeover. After years of steady decline in the quality of discussions here, the beta will be the last straw. What sites alternative to Slashdot have others found? The best I have found has been arstechnica.com, but it has been a while since I've looked for tech discussion sites."

+ - Slashdot BETA Discussion-> 60

Submitted by mugnyte
mugnyte (203225) writes "With Slashdot's recent restyled "BETA" slowly rolled to most users, there's been a lot of griping about the changes. This is nothing new, as past style changes have had similar effects. However, this pass there are significant usability changes: A narrower read pane, limited moderation filtering, and several color/size/font adjustments. BETA implies not yet complete, so taking that cue — please list your specific, detailed opinoins, one per comment, and let's use the best part of slashdot (the moderation system) to raise the attention to these. Change can be jarring, but let's focus on the true usability differences with the new style."
Link to Original Source

+ - Slashdot creates beta site users express theirs dislike-> 4

Submitted by who_stole_my_kidneys
who_stole_my_kidneys (1956012) writes "Slashdot started redirecting users in February to its newly revamped webpage and received a huge backlash from users. The majority of comments dislike the new site while some do offer solutions to make it better. The question is will Slashdot force the unwanted change on its users that clearly do not want change?"
Link to Original Source

+ - Once Slashdot beta has been foisted upon me, what site should I use instead? 2

Submitted by somenickname
somenickname (1270442) writes "As a long time Slashdot reader, I'm wondering what website to transition to once the beta goes live. The new beta interface seems very well suited to tablets/phones but, it ignores the fact that the user base is, as one would expect, nerds sitting in front of very large LCD monitors and wasting their employers time. It's entirely possible that the browser ID information gathered by the site has indicated that they get far more hits on mobile devices where the new interface is reasonable but, I feel that no one has analyzed the browser ID (and screen resolution) against comments modded +5. I think you will find that most +5 comments are coming from devices (real fucking computers) that the new interface does not support well. Without an interface that invites the kind of users that post +5 comments, Slashdot is just a ho-hum news aggregation site that allows comments. So, my question is, once the beta is the default, where should Slashdot users go to?"

+ - Slashdot beta sucks 9

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Maybe some of the slashdot team should start listening to its users, most of which hate the new user interface. Thanks for ruining something that wasn't broken."

Comment: Re:Just in time too. (Score 1) 267

by Bender_ (#45616965) Attached to: Moore's Law Blowout Sale Is Ending, Says Broadcom CTO

> 99% of the computing needs of 99% of the people can be met by the existing

You know, this phrase has been uttered so many times it became completely meaningless. Please define "Computing needs"?

If you had asked someone in the 50ies, they would have told you that the average person needs some help with adding the numbers for checkbook balancing. So a simple calculator should be enough, right? Nobody would have considered that people of 2000ies would deem it a worthwhile endeavour to use processing power that exceeds the computing power of the entire civilization in the 50ies by orders of magnitudes, simply for gaming.

Today people use a different frame of reference based on the applications they know today. The mistake is still the same.

Why do we need more of moores law?
- Right now everything is about the internet of things. Moores law is not only about transistor density, it is also about power. We need extremely low power computing. The trillion sensor revolution is not a joke. It is happening right now.
- We are still orders of magnitude away in computing power from anything required to make truely intelligent system. There are huge research projects right now, pushing the understanding of the human brain (the EU human brain project for example). If you want your fridge to be as intelligent as a dog, you may want it to have more computing power than your current pc or smartphone.

Comment: Re:I will believe it when I can buy it (Score 1) 107

by Bender_ (#44865761) Attached to: Plasmonic Nanostructures Could Prove a Boon To Solar Cell Technology

>Every one of the inventions is being pulled forward. It is clear you have no idea what's available out there. Thin film is beginning to dominate commercial installation, >in fact it's so much better that it's very difficult to even purchase thin films any more because all the production is allocated to commercial installations. Other

Bullshit. Most thin film technologies are DOA. There are two technologies that seem to suceed in the market: CdTe and CIGS. However, due to their low conversion efficiency they are only used in big projects. You are not going to see thin film in residential anytime soon. In fact First Solar, thin film market leader, recently acquired a crystalline silicon company to introduce a product in that sector.

>techniques are out there and being used, the better the cell the more likely it'll be relegated to commercial installation. Most of what's available for retail purchase >is the output of older cell lines that are no longer competitive on the commercial side.

It would be nice if market consolidation were drive by technological differentiation, but sadly that is not the case. Older cell lines are only uncompetitive due to bad scaling effects (low throughput, low degree of automation etc.), not due to their cell technology.

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