The Daily Progress has an article about Dean Kamen’s talk as part of the Rice Hall dedication yesterday: Celebrity inventor speaks at dedication of UVa’s new science building, Daily Progress, 19 November 2011.
Note that the first two quotes in the article are from cs1120 student Josh Whelan, and cs1120 Assistant Coach Peter Chapman.
Neil DeGrasse Tyson held an “Ask Me Anything” on Reddit yesterday: I am Neil deGrasse Tyson — AMA (probably too late to ask him why some fields have endless golden ages and others have short ones, but you can read the answers and comments).
Many great and funny answers, but my favorite answer is this one (especially relevant for those trying to figure out what to think about Steve Jobs):
Question: Thank you. Just… thank you. You’re one of my personal heroes.
…no pressure. ^_^
[–]neiltyson[S] 241 points 20 hours ago
You should chose your heroes a-la carte. Picking and choosing from one and then another, thereby assembling a kind of composite hero. That way when you discover something reprehensible about any one of them it matters nothing to you because that’s not the part of them that piqued your interest.
The New York Times has an article about the project to build Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine: It Started Digital Wheels Turning, John Markoff, New York Times, 7 November 2011.
It includes a great image showing the design of the machine, as well as discussion on Ada Countess of Lovelace, Turing machines, Colossus and Alan Kay!
The New York Times has an article about John McCarthy.
(The title, John McCarthy, 84, Dies; Computer Design Pioneer, which I’m sure wasn’t written by John Markoff who wrote the article which is excellent, is a bit misleading. McCarthy was a pioneer in artificial intelligence and programming language design, but not a computer designer. He did a great deal to make computers more useful and exciting.)
You can also visit his homepage at Stanford (which includes most of his technical papers, as well as some non-technical writings). The first paper to describe LISP is: Recursive Functions of Symbolic Expressions and their Computation by Machine (Part I) (April 1960).
The images I showed in class today are from the LISP I Programmer’s Manual (1960).
This article, A deeper law than Moore’s?, in The Economist, 10 October 2011, reports on an analysis that shows the computing power available for a fixed amount of energy has been approximately doubling every 1.6 years since the mid-1940s.
The full technical paper is here: Implications of Historical Trends in the Electrical Efficiency of Computing.