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+ - Rest in Peace, Heinz Zemanek

Submitted by Knuckles
Knuckles (8964) writes "Austrian computer pioneer Heinz Zemanek, the first person to build a fully transistorized computer on the European mainland, died in Vienna, aged 94 (link in German). Officially named Binär dezimaler Volltransistor-Rechenautomat (binary-decimal fully transistorized computing automaton), but known as "Mailüfterl", the computer was built in 1955 and in 1958 calculated 5073548261 to be a prime number in 66 minutes. Its power was comparable to a small tube computer of the time, and it measured 4 by 2.5 by 0.5 meters. "Mailüfterl" means "may breeze" in Viennese German and was a play on US computers of the time, like MIT's Whirlwind. 'Even if it cannot match the rapid calculation speed of American models called "Whirlwind" or "Typhoon", it will be enough for a "Wiener Mailüfterl"' (Viennese may breeze), said Zemanek. Mailüfterl contained 3,000 transistors, 5,000 diodes, 1,000 assembly platelets, 100,000 solder joints, 15,000 resistors, 5,000 capacitors and 20,000 meters switching wire. It was built as an underground project at and without financial support from the technical university of Vienna, were Zemanek was an assistant professor at the time. In 1961, Zemanek and his team moved to IBM, who built them their own lab in Vienna. In 1976, Zemanek became an IBM Fellow and stayed at IBM until his retirement in 1985. He was crucial in the creation of the formal definition of the programming language PL/I. The definition language used was VDL (Vienna Definition Language), a direct predecessor of VDM Specification Language (VDM-SL). He remained a professor in Vienna and held regular lectures until 2006."
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Malaysian Passenger Plane Reportedly Shot Down Over Ukraine 752

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the can't-we-all-get-along dept.
An anonymous reader writes The Russian newswire service Interfax is reporting that a Malaysian passenger plane carrying 295 people was shot down with a Buk ground-to-air missile over Ukraine near the Russian border. The Associated Press cites an adviser to Ukraine's Interior Minister as the source. First reports are that it was mistaken for a Ukrainian AN-26. Malaysia airlines confirms they lost contact with the plane (last known position), but there's no confirmation it was shot down (yet). The Ukrainian government accused Russia of shooting down a fighter jet in Ukrainian airspace last night. Reports indicate there are no survivors.

Comment: Re: AI is always "right around the corner". (Score 1) 564

I don't know how to determine this, quantitatively or otherwise. It's an interesting question once machine translation gets better, but for now I consider it obvious that something like Google translation does not know what it's doing. Having access to and having translated a large existing courpus of text is obviously not enough, as Google certainly has analyzed more text than a human translator does, and still is wrong whenever there is the slightest possibility of ambiguity (i.e., all the time, in practice).

Anyway, TFA was not about machine translation, but AI. A human translator who translates a text knows that he is translating a text. I am not worried that a computer will, by 2045.

Comment: Re: AI is always "right around the corner". (Score 1) 564

The machine has no fucking clue about what it is translating.

Neither do you, it's just an illusion caused by a simple computer called the brain. Everything you think you know about yourself is an illusion. You do not make decisions, you do not have free will, your are nothing special. You are a biochemical computer that is 100% deterministic. Sorry to burst your bubble, but it's true.

This is wholly beside the point. Even if I am deterministic, any human translator understands the text he is translating to a quite large degree, or else nobody will bother with him. The best translation machines understand exactly 0%

Comment: Re: AI is always "right around the corner". (Score 2) 564

Welcome to the http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki...

Q: if there was a human dumb savant who could translate instantly between multiple languages, though without understanding how he did it (think Rainman), would you say he was not intelligent? Why? What is intelligence? We are inconsistent - we praise humans as intelligent when they can perform some complex algorithm well (chess), and yet as soon as a computer beats a human, or all humans, we denigrate the task as "not intelligence". Often the reason is "just an algorithm", but as a neuroscientist knows, that is a poor excuse - it's algorithms all the way down.

Yeah, we have no idea what constitutes intelligence either. Got any other old news?

Anyway, my post was not about "without understanding how he did it" but knowing what the translator is doing, how a sense of self relates to this, the history of the text in question and its context, the context oft he content itself (without which is appears impossible to translate even remotely correctly, as Google Translators mindless efforts seem to be showing), the context of the media, and many other aspects or translation process and translation material.

Hard work never killed anybody, but why take a chance? -- Charlie McCarthy

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