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Comment: Re:Creative Commons (Score 5, Informative) 117

Yes. He has a long history of general badassery. There are only a few people who I can think of who have the reputation and intelligence to properly navigate a project of this scale, and he is certainly one of them. I really hope that the fund makes it through to the next stage. It looks like it will.

Comment: Re:really? (Score 1) 693

by brownerthanu (#34272236) Attached to: 200 Students Admit Cheating After Professor's Online Rant
I agree that for some excellent students, it will be hard to claim that they cheated, but for a large portion of the cheaters, it will be easy. Remember, I'm not claiming that the only data used would be the scores from this test. Other sources of data: The fact that it's known there was a test bank, which allows us to claim that cheating occurred. Getting people to confess (see 'the prisoner's dilemma'). Analysis of friend groups. Past grades.

Comment: Re:really? (Score 1) 693

by brownerthanu (#34271966) Attached to: 200 Students Admit Cheating After Professor's Online Rant
Less useful, yes. Students with better records will have better cases. Students who decided to change their lives, do better in school and started with that test are screwed, though they might show different patterns of proficiency than the cheaters. Factors such as position on the tests bank pages, or overall order of test bank questions will influence the patterns of correct questions for the cheaters.

Once you have your 'suspects' are identified you work on the stronger cases via social pressure. As people confess, your algorithm gets more refined. The beauty of the problem is there are a large number of subjects, and a large number of cheaters. It would be fun detective work, except for the fact that that the situation is ethically depressing.

Comment: Re:really? (Score 1) 693

by brownerthanu (#34269784) Attached to: 200 Students Admit Cheating After Professor's Online Rant
On every test there are sets of questions that large amount of students get wrong, because of lack of emphasis in the classroom, or they are less obvious to study for. If there is an outside factor, like a test key, the students with the key will get these right. The more of these outlier questions they get right, the more likely it is that they cheated.

Comment: Re:really? (Score 1) 693

by brownerthanu (#34268994) Attached to: 200 Students Admit Cheating After Professor's Online Rant
There are a number of statistical approaches to determine who cheated. For instance, find people whose midterm grade is an anomaly compared to the rest of their grades. Next, look for particular patterns of questions that the cheaters got right, compared to those who didn't. Use a pattern matching algorithm to find to tease apart the bimodality of the grade distribution. There would be some students for which it is nearly certain that they cheated, and other for which it would be more uncertain. The students with higher average grades would have a better shot at arguing against having cheated, but the poor students would be sniffed out immediately.

Comment: Re:Not the TSP (Score 2, Insightful) 394

by brownerthanu (#34013882) Attached to: Bees Beat Machines At 'Traveling Salesman' Problem
Daylight is not what a bee is trying to conserve, it's flight distance. Bees minimize the distance flown to minimize the amount of energy they expend. The ratio they try to minimize is (energy expended)/(pollen collected). Pollen is turned into energy. When bees leave the hive they have a certain amount of energy they can expend. If a bee gets blown too far off track, or expends to much energy in some other way, it will run out of gas and die. But, it's better to see the problem from the perspective of the hive. The hive wants to gain as much energy as possible, while expending as little as possible.

So, actually the problem is fundamentally the same as TSP. It's a distance minimization problem. And just because they use a 'heuristic' doesn't mean that they don't have a solution to the TSP problem. An biologically-based genetic algorithm is no less valid than a computer algorithm.

Comment: The true reality distortion field (Score 1) 490

by brownerthanu (#33017954) Attached to: Survey Says Most iPhone Users Love AT&T
...is getting worked up over a cell phone. It's not a religion, people. Folks buy things, and then they enjoy them. I'm happy that people are happy with their purchases. They worked at their job. They made money. The spent it on something they wanted. Nobody was killed or injured. Done.

We will have solar energy as soon as the utility companies solve one technical problem -- how to run a sunbeam through a meter.

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