writes "Due to its importance in the history of computing the UK's Computer Conservation Society embarked on a 4-year project to build a replica of EDSAC. The main challenge facing the team of volunteers who are working on the rebuild is the lack of documentation. There are almost no original design documents remaining so the rebuild volunteers have to scrutinize photographs to puzzle out which bits go where.
However, three years into the project a set of 19 detailed circuit diagrams have come to light and been handed to the EDSAC team by John Loker a former engineer in the University of Cambridge Mathematical Laboratory.
"I started work as an engineer in the Maths Lab in 1959 just after EDSAC had been decommissioned. In a corridor there was a lot of stuff piled up ready to be thrown away, but amongst it I spotted a roll of circuit diagrams for EDSAC. I'm a collector, so I couldn't resist the urge to rescue them. "
In the main the documents confirm that the team has been correct in most of its re-engineering assumptions, but the drawings have thrown up a few surprises. The most significant discrepancy between the original and the reconstruction that the papers reveal is in the "initial orders" (boot ROM in modern terminology). In the absence of fuller information, the reconstruction team had considered and rejected one possibility which was in fact the one that was used by the original engineers. That will now be rectified in the reconstruction which is due for completion in later 2015."Link to Original Source
writes "Udacity has announced a new credential designed to appeal to employers and those wanting to embark on a high-tech career. The program will launch with nanodegrees for entry-level Front-End Web Developers, Back-End Web Developers, and Mobile iOS Developers.
In his announcement of this new initiative, which continues the career-readiness theme that distinguishes Udacity from other MOOC providers, Sebastian Thrun describes a nanodegree as delivering:
"a new kind of compact, hands-on, and flexible online curriculum. They are designed to help you effectively learn the most in-demand skills, when you need them, so that you can land your dream job."
The cost of a nanodegree is expected to be about $200 per month and one is expected to take between 6-12 month to complete with a time commitment of 10 hours per week. Scholarships are expected to be available for "underrepresented students""Link to Original Source
writes "The biggest announcement at WWDC has mostly gone unnoticed and uncommented — WebGL support in the Safari browser on both OSX and iOS. Safari is the last browser to give in to the inevitable and offer WebGL — full 3D GPU accelerated graphics in web pages and apps.
Not only is it supported in the browser but in the WebView as well making it possible for web app wrappers such as PhoneGap/Cordova to support WebGL on all platforms.
One possible reason it has taken so long for Apple to recognize that a browser without WebGL is substandard is that it undermines its control of the App Store by allowing web apps that are just as powerful — think 3D games say — to be downloaded and run in the browser. It would be tough for Apple to invent a way to control or profit from freely downloadable web apps. While it might not be the end of the App Store it is a big hole in its walls."Link to Original Source
writes "The biggest announcement at WWDC has mostly gone unnoticed and uncommented — WebGL support in the Safari browser on OSX and iOS. At last the big browsers all support 3D graphics and web apps and web games in particular are effectively universal.Apple's revolutionary announcement has tended to be overlooked — perhaps because Apple didn't really make a great deal of fuss about it. You might suspect that it isn't that keen for the world to notice that the Safari browser has almost silently joined the growing majority of browsers that support GPU accelerated graphics via WebGL.Not only is it supported in the browser but in WebView as well, which means that native apps that want to show HTML content can now show it including advanced graphics. This also opens up the way for web app wrappers such as PhoneGap/Cordova to support WebGL on all platforms.
One possible reason it has taken so long for Apple to recognize that a browser without WebGL is substandard is that it controls the App store with an iron fist and makes a lot of cash in the process. The danger of WebGL is that it allows the creation of web apps that do as much as a native app. The point is that web apps don't need to be installed and hence they can't be controlled in the way that native apps can.
Is this the end of the app store?"Link to Original Source
writes "Born With Curiosity is a proposed biopic about computer pioneer Grace Hopper http://developers.slashdot.org.... With a week to go before it closes on June 7, a crowdfunding campaign on Indigogo https://www.indiegogo.com/proj... has so far raised 94% of its $45,000 target.
Although there have been a couple of books devoted to Grace Hopper and recently was the subject of a Google Doodle, her story hasn't made it to celluloid, which is something that Melissa Pierce finds anomalous, stating on the Born With Curiosity Indigogo page:
"Steve Jobs had 8 films made about him, with another in pre-production! Without Grace Hopper, Steve might have been a door to door calculator salesman! Even with that fact,there isn't one documentary about Grace and her legacy. It's time to change that.""Link to Original Source
Advocatus Diaboli (1627651)
writes "The National Security Agency is harvesting huge numbers of images of people from communications that it intercepts through its global surveillance operations for use in sophisticated facial recognition programs, according to top-secret documents. The spy agency’s reliance on facial recognition technology has grown significantly over the last four years as the agency has turned to new software to exploit the flood of images included in emails, text messages, social media, videoconferences and other communications, the N.S.A. documents reveal. Agency officials believe that technological advances could revolutionize the way that the N.S.A. finds intelligence targets around the world, the documents show. The agency’s ambitions for this highly sensitive ability and the scale of its effort have not previously been disclosed."Link to Original Source
writes "A recent paper "Intriguing properties of neural networks" by Christian Szegedy, Wojciech Zaremba, Ilya Sutskever, Joan Bruna, Dumitru Erhan, Ian Goodfellow and Rob Fergus, http://cs.nyu.edu/~zaremba/doc...
a team that includes authors from Google's deep learning research project outlines two pieces of news about the way neural networks behave that run counter to what we believed — and one of them is frankly astonishing.
Every deep neural network has "blind spots" in the sense that there are inputs that are very close to correctly classified examples that are misclassified.
To quote the paper:
"For all the networks we studied, for each sample, we always manage to generate very close, visually indistinguishable, adversarial examples that are misclassified by the original network."
To be clear, the adversarial examples looked to a human like the original, but the network misclassified them. You can have two photos that look not only like a cat but the same cat, indeed the same photo, to a human, but the machine gets one right and the other wrong.
What is even more shocking is that the adversarial examples seem to have some sort of universality. That is a large fraction were misclassified by different network architectures trained on the same data and by networks trained on a different data set.
You might be thinking "so what if a cat photo that is clearly a photo a cat is recognized as a dog?" If you change the situation just a little and ask what does it matter if a self-driving car that uses a deep neural network misclassifies a view of a pedestrian standing in front of the car as a clear road?
There is also the philosophical question raised by these blind spots. If a deep neural network is biologically inspired we can ask the question, does the same result apply to biological networks.
Put more bluntly "does the human brain have similar built-in errors?" If it doesn't, how is it so different from the neural networks that are trying to mimic it? In short, what is the brain's secret that makes it stable and continuous?
Until we find out more you cannot rely on a neural network in any safety critical system.."Link to Original Source
writes "The nematode worm C. elegans is going where no worm has gone before — into cyberspace. The Open Worm project aims to build a complete and accurate simulation of the first animal to be transferred to code. The most important thing about C.elegans is that it has only 1000 cells and only 302 are neurons. The OpenWorm project aims to create a simulation of the worm working at the level of chemistry making it the first animal to be re-created as software. The project has been going a while but it recently made a successful pitch on Kickstarter for $120,000 to develop the simulation to the point where the neurons control the body of the worm. The rewards offered on KickStarter might strike some as bizarre: T-shirts featuring C.elegans and access to an online version of the simulation called WormSim.
The "why" is because it's the only way to find out if we understand C.elegans but it raises lots of philosophical questions — is the finished simulation alive being the biggest?"Link to Original Source
writes "Otto is the first product to make use of the Raspberry Pi Compute Module and it is open, hackable and takes animated GIFs which are automatically uploaded to your phone.
Otto is the brainchild of Next Thing Computing. It is currently on Kickstarter and at the time of writing well on its way to making its $60,000 goal. It doesn't look like a top notch semi-pro digital camera and that's by design. It looks like an old fashioned low-end film camera of the type you might give to kids. What is novel about this camera is that it may look like a cheapo plastic snapper but it can do some really interesting things.
The "film winder" on the top takes a sequence of stills as you rotate it to "advance the film" and when you "rewind the film" these are combined to create an animated GIF. Of course there might be some users who don't remember what film cameras were like and so might not get the reference to the older tech.
The animated GIF mode is enough to make Otto novel, but the fact that it uses a Raspberry Pi means it can be used in other modes and can be customized. "Using the OTTO SDK, you can modify every bit of OTTO’s software. Recompile the kernel, load it up with additional Linux packages, or just peek under the hood and see how it all works."
There is even a very weird hardware expansion option called Flashyflashy that looks like an old flash bulb attachment. How many users are going to remember those?
Perhaps the most exciting thing about Otto is that it is clearly going to be fun as soon as you take it out of the box but with some software and perhaps hardware skills you can have so much more fun with it.
I can't help but think that they might do even better with a cool futuristic design rather than something retro."Link to Original Source
writes "It expired yesterday.
Starting Nmap 6.40 ( http://nmap.org/ ) at 2014-05-24 16:01 UTC
Nmap scan report for www.slashdot.org (220.127.116.11)
Host is up (0.050s latency).
rDNS record for 18.104.22.168: star.slashdot.org
PORT STATE SERVICE
443/tcp open https
| ssl-cert: Subject: commonName=*.slashdot.org/organizationName=Dice Holdings, Inc/stateOrProvinceName=New York/countryName=US
| Issuer: commonName=GeoTrust SSL CA/organizationName=GeoTrust, Inc./countryName=US
| Public Key type: rsa
| Public Key bits: 2048
| Not valid before: 2013-04-21T04:25:05+00:00
| Not valid after: 2014-05-23T22:49:50+00:00
| MD5: 485c ed76 9008 56be 3820 849c 2d2e ee73
|_SHA-1: 18f2 bcaa a238 bbf3 429e 6d2b 9d2c bd74 6085 02e4
Nmap done: 1 IP address (1 host up) scanned in 0.41 seconds"Link to Original Source
writes ""Linus Torvalds, the "man who invented Linux" is the 2014 recipient of the IEEE Computer Society's Computer Pioneer Award -
"For pioneering development of the Linux kernel using the open-source approach".
According to Wikipedia, Torvalds had wanted to call the kernel he developed Freax (a combination of "free", "freak", and the letter X to indicate that it is a Unix-like system), but his friend Ari Lemmke, who administered the FTP server it was first hosted for download, named Torvalds' directory linux.
In some ways Git can be seen as his more important contribution — but as it dates from 2005 it is outside the remit of the IEEE Computer Pioneer award.""Link to Original Source
writes "During his state visit to Japan, President Obama interacted with Honda's humanoid robot ASIMO at Tokyo's Miraikan museum, which showcases Japanese emerging science and innovation. After bowing and making a formal introduction in English, ASIMO kicked a soccer ball to Obama who responded with "Good job" — see the video. Asimo also seemed pleased with his performance and jumped around to celebrate his own prowess in suitable soccer-star style. Compared to other soccer-playing robots, such as Nao, Asimo appears rather slow, although his aim is pretty good but President Obama's reservations, expressed later to students according to the Wall Street Journal is that the robots he met on this and previous visits to Japan are "too lifelike"."Link to Original Source
writes "Now this really is an interesting iOS app. Gofor is a new company that is promoting the idea of drones on demand. All you have to do is use the app to request a drone and it shows you were they are and how long before one reaches your location.
You want to take the ultimate selfie? Scout ahead to see if the road is clear or just find a parking space? No problem just task a drone to do the job. For the photo you simply flash your phone camera at it and it pinpoints your location for an aerial selfie. If it is scouting ahead then it shows you what awaits you via a video link. See the promo video to see how it might work.
Flight of fancy? Possibly but the company claims to be operational in five US cities."Link to Original Source
writes "The Matrix Reloaded started something when "The Merovingian" wore a number of very flashy ties. The problem was that we thought we knew how many ways you can tie a tie. The number of ways had been enumerated in 2001 and the answer was that there were exactly 85 different ways but the enumeration didn't include the Matrix way of doing it.
So how many "Merovingian" knots are there?
The question is answered in a new paper "More ties than we thought", by Dan Hirsch, Meredith L. Patterson, Anders Sandberg and Mikael Vejdemo-Johansson. http://arxiv.org/pdf/1401.8242... The methodology is based on the original enumeration and an interesting application of language theory. The idea is to create a programming language for tying ties and then work out how many programs there are.
For single depth tucks there are 177147 different sequences and hence knots. Of these there are 2046 winding patterns that take up to 11 moves, the same as the The Merovingian knot and other popular knots, and so these are probably practical with a normal length necktie.
Who would have thought a little movie would have attracted so much attention...."Link to Original Source
writes "As if we didn't have enough of a distraction in the form of the Loebner prize, the Turing Test turned into a circus. Now we have AI Xprize for a robot that can give a TED talk that gets a standing ovation.The new AI Xprize is: ...for the development of artificial intelligence (AI) so advanced that it could deliver a compelling TED Talk with no human involvement
Want input from you in the form of suggestions as to what the competition should be. The idea seems to be that there will be 100 predetermined topics and the AI agent will be given 30 mins to prepare a 3 min talk on one of the topics. The agent doesn't have to be a bipedal humanoid robot but as the audience gets to vote on its performance it certainly has to have an attractive presentation. After the talk it will be asked to answer some questions on the topic.
once you set a task this specific clever programmers can start to exploit its regularities and the intelligence of the audience to fool them into thinking that agent is indeed intelligent. This is what happened in the case of the Turing test and the chatbots. Attempts to understand language and respond with meaning were quickly replaced by automatic language transformations and tricks to make the observer interpret the output as intelligent.
I suppose anything is better than nothing but the AI Xprize could so easily be about something that is less easy to subvert. Perhaps this is what we should suggest on the website http://www.xprize.org/ted rather than detailed rules?"Link to Original Source