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Comment Re:Implications (Score 2, Informative) 457

It is sortof a negative result. It has been known for forty years that many (10,000s) of difficult problems share a common difficulty, that makes them prohibitive to solve: NP-completeness. It was proven in the 70s that if you can solve one NP-complete problem fast, you can solve them all fast. This new result claims to prove that you cannot solve any NP-complete problem "fast". Some nerdy NP-complete problems are, for instance: how to make a certain circuit (CPU) using as few NAND gates as possible (i.e. faster hardware cheaper) or how to wire your motherboard as efficiently as possible (both how to draw the wires, and how to place the components). This says that it might ake more than a human lifetime (or Sun's) lifetime to solve any NP-complete problem. Some would like to see it as good news for cryptography, since it make some ciphers provably hard (however I am not aware of any such cipher -- unless it is proven that RSA is in NPC or in NPI).

Comment Dystopia is coming (Score 2, Interesting) 258

Another talk on the same topic. http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/pw_singer_on_robots_of_war.html

Military robots are the future of war. We will see robot armies fighting each other. Consider what kind of surveillance state you can create by millions of robotic insects, using swarm intelligence / smart dust to report on everyone.

Maybe mankind ends up like in matrix, but with opposing robot armies trying to kill the last survivors from the superpowers, who are hiding deep down underground, kept alive by fading nuclear reactors...

Comment Re:List Washing (Score 1) 229

Here's the way you do it...

Telemarketer comes up with a list. Telemarketer sends list to the Do-Not-Call team. Do-Not-Callers do the compare, and return only the numbers that were on the telemarketer's list that doesn't match the no-call list.

No. You prohibit phone advertising.


Submission + - ICFP Programming Contest about to start (icfpcontest.org)

mrchebas writes: "The Tenth Annual ICFP Programming Contest is about to begin (countdown page)! As in the previous nine editions, you have 72 hours (starting July 20, 12:00 noon CEST) to show that your favorite programming language (or your team) is better than all others! The ICFP Programming Contest is organised as part of the International Conference on Functional Programming in the hopes of showing off functional programming, but contestants can use any language(s) they like. Previous winners have included Cilk, OCaml (3x), Haskell (3x), C++ and 2D. Previous problems have ranged from programming intelligent ants to cracking the secrets of an ancient civilization. This year's contest seems to have something to do with visitors from outer space."

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PL/I -- "the fatal disease" -- belongs more to the problem set than to the solution set. -- Edsger W. Dijkstra, SIGPLAN Notices, Volume 17, Number 5