Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×

Comment Re:Massive failure from all involved (Score 1) 168

This isn't so much about modeling thought processes as it is about illustrating how even in a simplified model one of our debugging approaches fails.

The logic that they're arguing appears to be:

"If we can't even properly reverse engineer an extremely simple deterministic computer chip using fault modeling, it's extremely unlikely that we can infer the mechanisms of an extremely complex non-deterministic processor like the brain."

I do wonder at what level the reverse engineering is done. Also I wonder if their method was pure enough to initially consider the 6502 to be analog rather than digital. That would be a nice trip down the garden path right from the get go.

Now I would say that many fields of study at the higher levels, such as economics, medicine, etc. etc., are incomplete. There's a lot still to be learned. And taking a sidestep of looking at an artificial "brain" from a neuroscience perspective is a good way to navel gaze, fix up your own thought processes. Learning about learning often involves testing your harebrained theories on something not tailored to your experience. Especially neuroscience is the ultimate in learning about learning, if it can be believed that the biological mechanism that does the most learning is made up of neurons networked together, the good ol' neural net.

So to the question of how deep the reverse engineering went. If you want to study the brain, you want to look at low and high levels. The quantum level is the lowest that one probably has to go, and the highest level may involve different groups of minds (psychology of the masses). Computers and brains can be considered at such low and high levels analogously. The first time a neuroscientist looks at an electronic brain, the depth of analysis would probably eschew the quantum level as being too onerous.

I wonder how well neuroscience can explain the functioning of a transistor from a reverse engineering standpoint. The forward engineering of a transistor is to use it for a particular purpose. The neuroscientist would have to calculate what that purpose is. Certainly an engineer would have to be able to calculate whether the transistor actual serves the purpose and does not misbehave. The engineer would design a circuit that is amenable to such a calculation. All anyone neuroscientist or not has to do is to acquire the electrical characteristics of each circuit element (transistors, resistors, capacitors, inductors, power, conductors) and then apply equations that are derived from energy balances and electromagnetism. That should be within the realm of someone who studies brains. Quite possibly brains involve even more complex physical phenomena at the quantum level. Even the complexities of the chemical level outstrip the complexities of electrical circuits, particularly compared to the 6502. All the same, someone who knows physics and who even is given the full knowledge about the physical structure of a 6502 would see that calculating the behavior of this system would be a bit of a job. Chip designers themselves require massive computing to derive that their creations will work exactly.

Paradoxically, this exacting might be the neuroscientists' undoing. Brains aren't exact. Brains fart (malfunction). Perhaps it is enough for a neuroscientist to reverse engineer an adder circuit, a bit shift circuit, a memory writer circuit, etc., and then to determine a handful of microinstructions.

Now I wonder, reflect this analysis back to the brain. I don't know much about this. Are there microinstructions in our heads?

Comment Re:If only that were true (Score 1) 63

My brain decides to store things I don't care about and refuses to store things I specifically study.

From your perspective that's a bug. From your brain's perspective it's a feature. Your agenda is getting a good mark in your course. Your brain's agenda is to survive, reproduce, and generally have a good time while doing so.

The brain's "agenda" is not at cross purposes with studying. Either the studying is being done wrong or the presentation of the knowledge is wrong. Not that I will say how to do either, far be it from me to do so. However, I will suggest to look back at times when remembering something was easy and figure out what made remembering work for you.

Even the amount of knowledge needed for someone to be competent in a field, particularly when that knowledge is written out in detail,
is enough to fill a bookcase or two. Then you get a revenue hungry author that tries to cram stuff into a textbook. The knowledge becomes spottier than rocks sticking out of a creek that you are trying to cross. That is kind of lifestyle brains try to avoid. You come to a stream, you don't see hordes of people coming to cross for the fun of it.

Moore's law has been ticking along for decades, and you can carry all your books in your hand if they were digitized. I've seen some digital books with a lot of detail, even videos embedded. There's hope for better and better knowledge presentation, though it's a lot of work to compile.

And then ... head jacks for connecting to the Matrix.

Comment Re:Not necessarily (Score 1) 498

My prediction - PCs as the boxen they are today will become passe. The rise of more intelligent software will cause the greater need for people to augment their own abilities in order to compete for the resources that other people also want. How would this all come to be? Even now, machines are taking over more and more. People are becoming less able. They know less and can do less compared to the top experts and the newfangled systems. In order for people to become worthy of resources, become worthy of living in better housing than cardboard boxes, they must acquire more knowledge and process that knowledge better. In other words, they have to be smarter.

Being smart enough will require even more computing power than a PC or laptop can provide. Hence, the PC will not be the computer of choice. It's just not good enough.

What then? How can people have the equipment they need to keep up with the Joneses?

Enter the self-driving car. When you need to have a luggable, practically your own mainframe attached to your hip or at least within walking distance or a short wifi hop away, just have the computing equipment follow you around like a puppy dog. That way you can be productive yet not chained to a fixed computer. Taking measures to stay at the top of the food chain is merely a matter of evolution.

Comment Re: But... (Score 1) 239

Actually, I think automated cars would solve some traffic issues. Around here, most freeway jams are caused by people not knowing how to merge and fucking the whole freeway over when they try to enter at 35 mph. Automated cars would be much better at merging.

They would also take interchange ramps at speed instead of slowing down too, which is the primary cause of fucking up a particular five mile stretch of freeway around here. So yes, traffic would get better with automated cars.

Amazing, I didn't know until you expressed the actual problem. Fucking. The whole problem is caused by too much fucking. Less fucking, fewer people, things get better.

Comment Re: But... (Score 1) 239

theres somthing called carpooling too which can help.

Good point, and indeed, carpooling is encouraged in Paris on smog days: although they ban half of the cars (those with odd-numbered license plates one day, even-numbered the next), cars that transport 3 people or more are exempt from the ban.

Yo, register your car twice, even the odds.

Comment Re:But... (Score 1) 239

Many people drive a car in order not to use public transportation... And people having a car don't really care about saving a couple of euros to travel within Paris/suburbs.

Here's the thing. Reducing fares for transit in general everywhere would encourage usage and point out the need for more buses. An anonymous tracking app or transponder can be designed so that people can each have one, thereby illuminating where they like to go - the transit system can optimize routes to make the experience better (minimizing the pain). Overall, with more people in the buses, the roads become less congested and work better for people who have suboptimal trips. Using transit a lot does save people money, so they can afford better cars, perhaps hybrids and electric. Taking all measures to maximize transit usage worldwide would make a big difference in pollution.

The big question is how to pay for it. It's a bit of a catch 22. If people want to use transit more tax revenue could drop as people spend less on cars and carry less stuff out of the stores (how much can you carry from the bus stop?). However, smart retailers might hire strong teenagers or perhaps people who need exercise to be mules.

Retailers and road planners have made it easy for many car users to get from A to B in a fraction of an hour. Almost paradoxically the problem is being exacerbated by many people choosing to live in suburbs because of the great convenience of transportation. What could entice and accommodate people to live closer to work? The suburbs offer larger and more affordable homes, for one thing. I suggest that family-friendly neighborhoods with large multistory residential be built near the places where vast numbers of people work because that is the source of traffic. Land costs an arm and a leg in these places so the buildings have to be tall - not like Paris, more like Dubai. However, there has to be enough supply to make the homes affordable - not like Dubai.

Another thing is that the industry and hence the populace has to be diverse and flexible. Numerous, multistory but affordable residential neighborhoods require big money to kickstart. Many large cities have little houses relatively close to the city centre full of people believing one day they can sell their little gold mines yet they are still living there because developers are not into losing money. There needs to be foresight to rebuild the residential and move people closer to work.

In my city I see this happening here and there because the economy was strong at the time of the rebuild. Indeed, many rebuilds across the world can kill a couple of birds with one rock, paper, or scissors. The economy would be stimulated while pollution will be reduced. More people even save time on their commutes. A no-outsourcing job creation idea, Mr. Trump or Mr. Obama. How nice is that?

Comment Re:So, how often does it explode? (Score 1) 230

This method could be a game-changer, but I wonder about factors that would degrade the integrity of the system, especially the distance between the two plates (punctures, blunt force, flexibility) and the shelf life of the insulators.

Hobbyist reporting in, and this is exactly what I was curious about. That better be a damn good insulator, otherwise we are in for a whole new ballgame of Note 7s.

I very much want better battery technology, but that also invites some very destructive failure modes.

In the light that capacitors are being used, the way to alleviate the battery's distress is to build a sensor that detects the battery wants to dump core, and also build a device that responds, when the detector goes into the red, by shooting two prongs ... no, just a minute, that's how to make a taser.

Comment Re:HAHAHAH (Score 0) 667

I'm not being dis-ingenuous, I'm prioritizing. I think NASA should focus on space, and leave the earths climate to NOAA and the earths geology to USGS. I think NASA is so unfocused right now, we have to turn to a super-power we already beat in space to help us get our astronauts to a station we largely paid for. And the saddest part: thats the most exciting thing happening above our atmosphere for me to tell my children about.

Well, Mr. Trump, I'll remind you that both space exploration and climate change are political up the yin yang. They're both big things that people have on their minds but individual companies for the most part don't have the wherewithal to tackle.

If you want to make America great, may I suggest going the extra mile to get right to the bottom of the climate change question. Find out the definitive answer as to whether there will be climate change due to mankind's ways. Now that would be a big-spending stimulative effort sure to spin off a bunch of technological advances.

Using political clout to meddle in climate change research ironically is actually the epitome of politicized science, wouldn't you say? Instead, a demonstration of greatness would be to use the immense scientific know how to come to an elegant answer. Surely in this age of technological and science there is a solution right around the corner. If there is any political crackdown to be made, it would be find out what's taking so long to get the information that fully convinces the public one way or the other.

Comment Re:Ive said it before. (Score 1) 164

A new bitcoin algorithm, written in Beginners' All Purpose Symbolic Instruction Coconut.

10 c = speed of lite beer
20 accelerate my ass to c
30 gosub and return to Earth just in time for no new coins being min(t)able
40 sell junk on ebay for bitcoin
50 ? "profit!"
60 REM Never spend bitcoin
70 go to 40 until I gots them all

When the no-new-bitcoins era comes, and you are greeted by a homeless guy who tells you he "gave" away everything for all the bitcoins in the world ...

How does that story play out?

Comment Re:Ive said it before. (Score 0) 164

> you could get in now

Deal me in on a Ponzi scheme anyone? Anyone?

Eventually, no new coins ... suppose I could collect them all when the time comes. Heh. Or I could spool up some servers, declare that I have them all, hit control alt delete, and give the whole world a chance to start the whole game again.

Wait a minute, set it up to have infinitely many potential coins. At the end of the day people are just trading one thing for another thing virtually, and the coin is just a medium. Market forces will always keep prices correct, so no one will be the owner of the universe. Hyperinflation? Computers can handle scientific notation. Mostly it comes down to whether the majority even want to use this technology

Comment Re:#BlackLivesMatter (Score 1) 983

That doesn't contradict anything he said. The "offending rate" is based off convictions. There is no such thing as ground truth in this case.

The differential is so large that smoke fire falls close enough to the tree.

But y? If anything needs to be fixed, fix the reason behind it all.

Well here's my 2 cents. It seems that increasingly people lives matter less and less, not just black lives. Technology taking away jobs is not the reason though, not quite. I watched the heyday of Moore's law when people anticipated the dawn of a new age. Computers ran faster, did more, and computer makers tried to outdo each other. Now there is a reversed trend, mainly because the need for speed has fallen. Case in point, the Top 500 has stagnated. China showed up with a brand new supercomputer ass kicker, yet again for crying out loud, but no one else seems to want to move the needle. What is going on? I bought a faster laptop a couple years ago. I don't think I'm even going to try to buy a faster laptop for another couple of years because it would only be a teensy weensy faster. However, that's kind of beside the point because laptops are limited in size. It's desktops that should be widening the gap massively massively massively over laptops. I have 3 or 4 hr of battery life on an i7 laptop and it's almost as fast as my i7 desktop, which was a nice leap itself all of 4 years ago, but desktops should kick up at least a half horse to a full horsepower of CPU usage and do something.

Do what? Is there anything _useful_ to do while consuming 1 horsepower? The average joe wouldn't even consider it.

Oh, well, that just shows how useless people are. People lives don't matter, at least not in the perspective of the people in power. To people who have power, the masses are asses. So people are suffering here and there, what does that matter to someone with power? The days just keep going by regardless. Trump can talk but he can't do much about anything either. It's people who have to stop bitching and moaning so Trump won't have any more to say.

If people want to matter, they have to try harder. Can't just be another rat in the rat race. If people tried harder, desktop speeds would pick up way more bang for the buck. I really want to save on my next upgrade, ok, people?

Slashdot Top Deals

"When the going gets tough, the tough get empirical." -- Jon Carroll