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Comment Math + visuals (Score 2) 140

A number of fairly simple mathematical problems lend themselves also to visual representation, which many find appealing. For instance, start with building Pascal's triangle, then display it as an image by choosing some way to map numbers to colors. Once you've done this, similarly visualize the triangle modulus some different integers - as shown here: http://code.jsoftware.com/wiki... . Doing this while extending the triangle to very high numbers can lead to discussions about the limitations of floating-point representation and other topics.

Another project that can start simply and become as complex as you want to make it is something like diffusion-limited aggregation - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... - which also lends itself well to visualization and requires non-trivial array-handling.

Of course, the calculation and display of the Mandelbrot set also lends itself to any number of enhancements.

Comment Re:Sigh, another perl, PL/1, snobol, etc, etc (Score 1) 105

So,
      two plus three
is much more readable than
      2+3
?

Maybe if you never learned basic arithmetic.

For those of us with limited short-term memory - which would be all of us - who have bothered to learn a notation, terseness allows us to hold more complex expressions in our working memory. Clearly you've never progressed beyond very simple thoughts.

Comment Waiting for the rest of you to catch up (Score 1) 279

As I continue to work in array-oriented languages like APL or J, as I have for years, it's interesting how very slowly the new languages are re-discovering things we've known for decades. As someone I know said, "Google invented map-reduce in 2004 and Ken Iverson cleverly re-invented it in 1964".

Eventually, the idea that novice errors are irrelevant to language design may slowly work its way into the mainstream, along with any number of other unrecognized language desiderata that will seem obvious in retrospect, but I'm not holding my breath.

Comment Re:Somewhat hyped (Score 1) 48

It's hard to say without doing all the implementation work, but the paper does say that the algo is "...general enough to describe both local polynomial and Gaussian process approximations..." and there is a section called "Local Gaussian process surrogates". So, they do in fact incorporate this in the larger framework of their algo.

In fact, they claim "...that the accuracy is nearly identical for all the cases, but the approximate chains use fewer evaluations of the true model, reducing costs by more than an order of magnitude for quadratic or Gaussian process approximations (Figure 10b)."

Comment Even honest ratings skew high (Score 1) 184

Not to dispute that a site like Fandango will lie for money, but for the data from the Netflix challenge several years ago - where they made available an anonymized sample of peoples' movie ratings - the mean was 3.8 (https://www.igvita.com/2006/10/29/dissecting-the-netflix-dataset/), not the 3.0 one might expect for a random distribution over the range 1 to 5.

Upon reflection, this makes sense as people don't watch movies randomly - they watch what they think might be good and avoid what they think will be bad. I know I had trouble thinking of a movie that I had watched that I would rate 1 (except for "The Master of Disguise" to which I took my daughter when she was very young).

Comment Re:What do you expect? (Score 1) 253

I expect that continuing to discriminate against a group will radicalize more members of that group. That's how terrorists work - by provoking over-reaction to sway the "fat middle" of moderates in their direction.

Remember the London bombings of 10 years ago? Remember how the perpetrators were caught? Their families turned them in because they knew what the bombers had done was wrong and they knew they could rely on the British to treat them humanely in spite of their crimes.

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