Nine Algorithms That Changed the Future

The Ingenious Ideas That Drive Today's Computers

Author: John MacCormick

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 0691147140

Category: Computers

Page: 219

View: 1811

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Every day, we use our computers to perform remarkable feats. A simple web search picks out a handful of relevant needles from the world's biggest haystack: the billions of pages on the World Wide Web. Uploading a photo to Facebook transmits millions of pieces of information over numerous error-prone network links, yet somehow a perfect copy of the photo arrives intact. Without even knowing it, we use public-key cryptography to transmit secret information like credit card numbers; and we use digital signatures to verify the identity of the websites we visit. How do our computers perform these tasks with such ease? This is the first book to answer that question in language anyone can understand, revealing the extraordinary ideas that power our PCs, laptops, and smartphones. Using vivid examples, John MacCormick explains the fundamental "tricks" behind nine types of computer algorithms, including artificial intelligence (where we learn about the "nearest neighbor trick" and "twenty questions trick"), Google's famous PageRank algorithm (which uses the "random surfer trick"), data compression, error correction, and much more. These revolutionary algorithms have changed our world: this book unlocks their secrets, and lays bare the incredible ideas that our computers use every day.

Nine Algorithms That Changed the Future

The Ingenious Ideas That Drive Today's Computers

Author: John MacCormick

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 1400839564

Category: Computers

Page: 232

View: 503

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Every day, we use our computers to perform remarkable feats. A simple web search picks out a handful of relevant needles from the world's biggest haystack: the billions of pages on the World Wide Web. Uploading a photo to Facebook transmits millions of pieces of information over numerous error-prone network links, yet somehow a perfect copy of the photo arrives intact. Without even knowing it, we use public-key cryptography to transmit secret information like credit card numbers; and we use digital signatures to verify the identity of the websites we visit. How do our computers perform these tasks with such ease? This is the first book to answer that question in language anyone can understand, revealing the extraordinary ideas that power our PCs, laptops, and smartphones. Using vivid examples, John MacCormick explains the fundamental "tricks" behind nine types of computer algorithms, including artificial intelligence (where we learn about the "nearest neighbor trick" and "twenty questions trick"), Google's famous PageRank algorithm (which uses the "random surfer trick"), data compression, error correction, and much more. These revolutionary algorithms have changed our world: this book unlocks their secrets, and lays bare the incredible ideas that our computers use every day.

Stochastic Algorithms for Visual Tracking

Probabilistic Modelling and Stochastic Algorithms for Visual Localisation and Tracking

Author: John MacCormick

Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media

ISBN: 1447106792

Category: Computers

Page: 174

View: 4422

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A central problem in computer vision is to track objects as they move and deform in a video sequence. Stochastic algorithms -- in particular, particle filters and the Condensation algorithm -- have dramatically enhanced the state of the art for such visual tracking problems in recent years. This book presents a unified framework for visual tracking using particle filters, including the new technique of partitioned sampling which can alleviate the "curse of dimensionality" suffered by standard particle filters. The book also introduces the notion of contour likelihood: a collection of models for assessing object shape, colour and motion, which are derived from the statistical properties of image features. Because of their statistical nature, contour likelihoods are ideal for use in stochastic algorithms. A unifying theme of the book is the use of statistics and probability, which enable the final output of the algorithms presented to be interpreted as the computer's "belief" about the state of the world. The book will be of use and interest to students, researchers and practitioners in computer vision, and assumes only an elementary knowledge of probability theory.

The Golden Ticket

P, NP, and the Search for the Impossible

Author: Lance Fortnow

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 1400846617

Category: Computers

Page: 192

View: 927

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The P-NP problem is the most important open problem in computer science, if not all of mathematics. Simply stated, it asks whether every problem whose solution can be quickly checked by computer can also be quickly solved by computer. The Golden Ticket provides a nontechnical introduction to P-NP, its rich history, and its algorithmic implications for everything we do with computers and beyond. Lance Fortnow traces the history and development of P-NP, giving examples from a variety of disciplines, including economics, physics, and biology. He explores problems that capture the full difficulty of the P-NP dilemma, from discovering the shortest route through all the rides at Disney World to finding large groups of friends on Facebook. The Golden Ticket explores what we truly can and cannot achieve computationally, describing the benefits and unexpected challenges of this compelling problem.

Automate This

How Algorithms Took Over Our Markets, Our Jobs, and the World

Author: Christopher Steiner

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 1101572159

Category: Computers

Page: 256

View: 9967

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The rousing story of the last gasp of human agency and how today’s best and brightest minds are endeavoring to put an end to it. It used to be that to diagnose an illness, interpret legal documents, analyze foreign policy, or write a newspaper article you needed a human being with specific skills—and maybe an advanced degree or two. These days, high-level tasks are increasingly being handled by algorithms that can do precise work not only with speed but also with nuance. These “bots” started with human programming and logic, but now their reach extends beyond what their creators ever expected. In this fascinating, frightening book, Christopher Steiner tells the story of how algorithms took over—and shows why the “bot revolution” is about to spill into every aspect of our lives, often silently, without our knowledge. The May 2010 “Flash Crash” exposed Wall Street’s reliance on trading bots to the tune of a 998-point market drop and $1 trillion in vanished market value. But that was just the beginning. In Automate This, we meet bots that are driving cars, penning haiku, and writing music mistaken for Bach’s. They listen in on our customer service calls and figure out what Iran would do in the event of a nuclear standoff. There are algorithms that can pick out the most cohesive crew of astronauts for a space mission or identify the next Jeremy Lin. Some can even ingest statistics from baseball games and spit out pitch-perfect sports journalism indistinguishable from that produced by humans. The interaction of man and machine can make our lives easier. But what will the world look like when algorithms control our hospitals, our roads, our culture, and our national security? What hap­pens to businesses when we automate judgment and eliminate human instinct? And what role will be left for doctors, lawyers, writers, truck drivers, and many others? Who knows—maybe there’s a bot learning to do your job this minute.

Blown to Bits

Your Life, Liberty, and Happiness After the Digital Explosion

Author: Harold Abelson,Ken Ledeen,Harry R. Lewis

Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional

ISBN: 0137135599

Category: Computers

Page: 366

View: 585

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Every day, billions of photographs, news stories, songs, X-rays, TV shows, phone calls, and emails are being scattered around the world as sequences of zeroes and ones: bits. We can't escape this explosion of digital information and few of us want to-the benefits are too seductive. The technology has enabled unprecedented innovation, collaboration, entertainment, and democratic participation. But the same engineering marvels are shattering centuries-old assumptions about privacy, identity, free expression, and personal control as more and more details of our lives are captured as digital data. Can you control who sees all that personal information about you? Can email be truly confidential, when nothing seems to be private? Shouldn't the Internet be censored the way radio and TV are? is it really a federal crime to download music? When you use Google or Yahoo! to search for something, how do they decide which sites to show you? Do you still have free speech in the digital world? Do you have a voice in shaping government or corporate policies about any of this? Blown to Bits offers provocative answers to these questions and tells intriguing real-life stories. This book is a wake-up call To The human consequences of the digital explosion.

Stuck in the Shallow End

Education, Race, and Computing

Author: Jane Margolis,Rachel Estrella,Joanna Goode,Jennifer Jellison Holme,Kim Nao

Publisher: MIT Press

ISBN: 9780262260961

Category: Education

Page: 216

View: 8862

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The number of African Americans and Latino/as receiving undergraduate and advanced degrees in computer science is disproportionately low, according to recent surveys. And relatively few African American and Latino/a high school students receive the kind of institutional encouragement, educational opportunities, and preparation needed for them to choose computer science as a field of study and profession. In Stuck in the Shallow End, Jane Margolis looks at the daily experiences of students and teachers in three Los Angeles public high schools: an overcrowded urban high school, a math and science magnet school, and a well-funded school in an affluent neighborhood. She finds an insidious "virtual segregation" that maintains inequality. Two of the three schools studied offer only low-level, how-to (keyboarding, cutting and pasting) introductory computing classes. The third and wealthiest school offers advanced courses, but very few students of color enroll in them. The race gap in computer science, Margolis finds, is one example of the way students of color are denied a wide range of occupational and educational futures. Margolis traces the interplay of school structures (such factors as course offerings and student-to-counselor ratios) and belief systems -- including teachers' assumptions about their students and students' assumptions about themselves. Stuck in the Shallow End is a story of how inequality is reproduced in America -- and how students and teachers, given the necessary tools, can change the system.

Algorithms Unlocked

Author: Thomas H. Cormen

Publisher: MIT Press

ISBN: 0262313235

Category: Computers

Page: 240

View: 2890

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Have you ever wondered how your GPS can find the fastest way to your destination, selecting one route from seemingly countless possibilities in mere seconds? How your credit card account number is protected when you make a purchase over the Internet? The answer is algorithms. And how do these mathematical formulations translate themselves into your GPS, your laptop, or your smart phone? This book offers an engagingly written guide to the basics of computer algorithms. In Algorithms Unlocked, Thomas Cormen -- coauthor of the leading college textbook on the subject -- provides a general explanation, with limited mathematics, of how algorithms enable computers to solve problems. Readers will learn what computer algorithms are, how to describe them, and how to evaluate them. They will discover simple ways to search for information in a computer; methods for rearranging information in a computer into a prescribed order ("sorting"); how to solve basic problems that can be modeled in a computer with a mathematical structure called a "graph" (useful for modeling road networks, dependencies among tasks, and financial relationships); how to solve problems that ask questions about strings of characters such as DNA structures; the basic principles behind cryptography; fundamentals of data compression; and even that there are some problems that no one has figured out how to solve on a computer in a reasonable amount of time.

The Power of Networks

Six Principles That Connect Our Lives

Author: Christopher G. Brinton,Mung Chiang

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 1400884071

Category: Computers

Page: 328

View: 6875

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What makes WiFi faster at home than at a coffee shop? How does Google order search results? Why do Amazon, Netflix, and YouTube use fundamentally different rating and recommendation methods—and why does it matter? Is it really true that everyone on Facebook is connected in six steps or less? And how do cat videos—or anything else—go viral? The Power of Networks answers questions like these for the first time in a way that all of us can understand and use, whether at home, the office, or school. Using simple language, analogies, stories, hundreds of illustrations, and no more math than simple addition and multiplication, Christopher Brinton and Mung Chiang provide a smart but accessible introduction to the handful of big ideas that drive the technical and social networks we use every day—from cellular phone networks and cloud computing to the Internet and social media platforms. The Power of Networks unifies these ideas through six fundamental principles of networking, which explain the difficulties in sharing network resources efficiently, how crowds can be wise or not so wise depending on the nature of their connections, how there are many building-blocks of layers in a network, and more. Understanding these simple ideas unlocks the workings of everything from the connections we make on Facebook to the technology that runs such platforms. Along the way, the authors also talk with and share the special insights of renowned experts such as Google's Eric Schmidt, former Verizon Wireless CEO Dennis Strigl, and "fathers of the Internet" Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn. Networks are everywhere. The Power of Networks shows how they work—and what understanding them can do for you.

What Can Be Computed?

A Practical Guide to the Theory of Computation

Author: John MacCormick

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 1400889847

Category: Computers

Page: 408

View: 9247

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An accessible and rigorous textbook for introducing undergraduates to computer science theory What Can Be Computed? is a uniquely accessible yet rigorous introduction to the most profound ideas at the heart of computer science. Crafted specifically for undergraduates who are studying the subject for the first time, and requiring minimal prerequisites, the book focuses on the essential fundamentals of computer science theory and features a practical approach that uses real computer programs (Python and Java) and encourages active experimentation. It is also ideal for self-study and reference. The book covers the standard topics in the theory of computation, including Turing machines and finite automata, universal computation, nondeterminism, Turing and Karp reductions, undecidability, time-complexity classes such as P and NP, and NP-completeness, including the Cook-Levin Theorem. But the book also provides a broader view of computer science and its historical development, with discussions of Turing's original 1936 computing machines, the connections between undecidability and Gödel's incompleteness theorem, and Karp's famous set of twenty-one NP-complete problems. Throughout, the book recasts traditional computer science concepts by considering how computer programs are used to solve real problems. Standard theorems are stated and proven with full mathematical rigor, but motivation and understanding are enhanced by considering concrete implementations. The book's examples and other content allow readers to view demonstrations of—and to experiment with—a wide selection of the topics it covers. The result is an ideal text for an introduction to the theory of computation. An accessible and rigorous introduction to the essential fundamentals of computer science theory, written specifically for undergraduates taking introduction to the theory of computation Features a practical, interactive approach using real computer programs (Python in the text, with forthcoming Java alternatives online) to enhance motivation and understanding Gives equal emphasis to computability and complexity Includes special topics that demonstrate the profound nature of key ideas in the theory of computation Lecture slides and Python programs are available at whatcanbecomputed.com

Algorithms Unplugged

Author: Berthold Vöcking,Helmut Alt,Martin Dietzfelbinger,Rüdiger Reischuk,Christian Scheideler,Heribert Vollmer,Dorothea Wagner

Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media

ISBN: 9783642153280

Category: Science

Page: 406

View: 401

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Algorithms specify the way computers process information and how they execute tasks. Many recent technological innovations and achievements rely on algorithmic ideas – they facilitate new applications in science, medicine, production, logistics, traffic, communi¬cation and entertainment. Efficient algorithms not only enable your personal computer to execute the newest generation of games with features unimaginable only a few years ago, they are also key to several recent scientific breakthroughs – for example, the sequencing of the human genome would not have been possible without the invention of new algorithmic ideas that speed up computations by several orders of magnitude. The greatest improvements in the area of algorithms rely on beautiful ideas for tackling computational tasks more efficiently. The problems solved are not restricted to arithmetic tasks in a narrow sense but often relate to exciting questions of nonmathematical flavor, such as: How can I find the exit out of a maze? How can I partition a treasure map so that the treasure can only be found if all parts of the map are recombined? How should I plan my trip to minimize cost? Solving these challenging problems requires logical reasoning, geometric and combinatorial imagination, and, last but not least, creativity – the skills needed for the design and analysis of algorithms. In this book we present some of the most beautiful algorithmic ideas in 41 articles written in colloquial, nontechnical language. Most of the articles arose out of an initiative among German-language universities to communicate the fascination of algorithms and computer science to high-school students. The book can be understood without any prior knowledge of algorithms and computing, and it will be an enlightening and fun read for students and interested adults.

Tubes

A Journey to the Center of the Internet

Author: Andrew Blum

Publisher: Harper Collins

ISBN: 1443414395

Category: Technology & Engineering

Page: 304

View: 8243

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Everybody knows that the Internet is the most powerful information network ever conceived. It is a gateway to information, a messenger of love and a fountain of riches and distraction. We are all connected now, but connected to what? In Tubes, acclaimed young journalist Andrew Blum takes readers on a fascinating journey to find out. As Blum writes, the Internet is tangible: it fills buildings, converges in some places in the world and avoids others, and it flows through tubes—along train lines and highways, and under oceans. You can map it, smell it and see it. As Tom Vanderbilt does in his bestselling Traffic, Blum goes behind the scenes of our everyday lives and combines first-rate reporting and engaging explanation into a fast-paced quest to explain the world in which we live. The room in Los Angeles where the Internet was born; the busy hub in downtown Toronto that links Canada with the world; a new undersea cable that connects West Africa and Europe; and the Great Pyramids of our time, the monumental data centres that Google and Facebook have built in the wilds of Oregon—Blum visits them all to chronicle the dramatic story of the Internet’s development and explain how it all works.

Math Hysteria : Fun and games with mathematics

Fun and games with mathematics

Author: Ian Stewart

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191547395

Category: Games

Page: 256

View: 579

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Welcome to Ian Stewart's strange and magical world of mathematics! In Math Hysteria, Professor Stewart presents us with a wealth of magical puzzles, each one spun around an amazing tale: Counting the Cattle of the Sun; The Great Drain Robbery; and Preposterous Piratical Predicaments; to name but a few. Along the way, we also meet many curious characters: in short, these stories are engaging, challenging, and lots of fun!

Probably Approximately Correct

NatureÕs Algorithms for Learning and Prospering in a Complex World

Author: Leslie Valiant

Publisher: Basic Books

ISBN: 0465032710

Category: Science

Page: 208

View: 9346

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Presenting a theory of the theoryless, a computer scientist provides a model of how effective behavior can be learned even in a world as complex as our own, shedding new light on human nature.

Lauren Ipsum

A Story About Computer Science and Other Improbable Things

Author: Carlos Bueno

Publisher: No Starch Press

ISBN: 1593276575

Category: Computers

Page: 192

View: 3963

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Lauren Ipsum is a whimsical journey through a land where logic and computer science come to life. Meet Lauren, an adventurer lost in Userland who needs to find her way home by solving a series of puzzles. As she visits places like the Push & Pop Café and makes friends with people like Hugh Rustic and the Wandering Salesman, Lauren learns about computer science without even realizing it—and so do you! Read Lauren Ipsum yourself or with someone littler than you, then flip to the notes at the back of the book to learn more about logic and computer science in the real world. Suggested for ages 10+

The Pattern On The Stone

The Simple Ideas That Make Computers Work

Author: W. Daniel Hillis

Publisher: Basic Books

ISBN: 0465066879

Category: Computers

Page: 192

View: 2739

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Most people are baffled by how computers work and assume that they will never understand them. What they don't realize—and what Daniel Hillis's short book brilliantly demonstrates—is that computers' seemingly complex operations can be broken down into a few simple parts that perform the same simple procedures over and over again. Computer wizard Hillis offers an easy-to-follow explanation of how data is processed that makes the operations of a computer seem as straightforward as those of a bicycle.Avoiding technobabble or discussions of advanced hardware, the lucid explanations and colorful anecdotes in The Pattern on the Stone go straight to the heart of what computers really do. Hillis proceeds from an outline of basic logic to clear descriptions of programming languages, algorithms, and memory. He then takes readers in simple steps up to the most exciting developments in computing today—quantum computing, parallel computing, neural networks, and self-organizing systems.Written clearly and succinctly by one of the world's leading computer scientists, The Pattern on the Stone is an indispensable guide to understanding the workings of that most ubiquitous and important of machines: the computer.

Turing's Cathedral

The Origins of the Digital Universe

Author: George Dyson

Publisher: Pantheon

ISBN: 0375422773

Category: Science

Page: 401

View: 9442

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Documents the innovations of a group of eccentric geniuses who developed computer code in the mid-20th century as part of mathematician Alan Turin's theoretical universal machine idea, exploring how their ideas led to such developments as digital television, modern genetics and the hydrogen bomb.

Blown to Bits

How the New Economics of Information Transforms Strategy

Author: Philip Evans,Thomas S. Wurster

Publisher: Harvard Business Press

ISBN: 9780875848778

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 261

View: 6015

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Richness or reach? The trade-off used to be simple but absolute: Your business strategy either could focus on "rich" information - customized products and services tailored to a niche audience - or could reach out to a larger market, but with watered-down information that sacrificed richness in favor of a broad, general appeal. Much of business strategy as we know it today rests on this fundamental trade-off. Now, say Evans and Wurster, the new economics of information is eliminating the trade-off between richness and reach, blowing apart the foundations of traditional business strategy. Blown to Bits reveals how the spread of connectivity and common standards is redefining the information channels that link businesses with their customers, suppliers, and employees. Increasingly, your customers will have rich access to a universe of alternatives, your suppliers will exploit direct access to your customers, and your competitors will pick off the most profitable parts of your value chain. Your competitive advantage is up for grabs. To prepare corporate executives and entrepreneurs alike for a fundamental change in business competition, Evans and Wurster expand and illuminate groundbreaking concepts first explored in the award-winning Harvard Business Review article "Strategy and the New Economics of Information," and present a practical guide for applying them. Examples span the spectrum of industries--from financial services to health care, from consumer to industrial goods, and from media to retailing. Blown to Bits shows how to build new strategies that reflect a world in which richness and reach go hand in hand and how to make the most of the new forces shaping competitive advantage.

Crossing the Finish Line

Completing College at America's Public Universities

Author: William G. Bowen,Matthew M. Chingos,Michael S. McPherson

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 1400831466

Category: Education

Page: 416

View: 7171

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The United States has long been a model for accessible, affordable education, as exemplified by the country's public universities. And yet less than 60 percent of the students entering American universities today are graduating. Why is this happening, and what can be done? Crossing the Finish Line provides the most detailed exploration ever of college completion at America's public universities. This groundbreaking book sheds light on such serious issues as dropout rates linked to race, gender, and socioeconomic status. Probing graduation rates at twenty-one flagship public universities and four statewide systems of public higher education, the authors focus on the progress of students in the entering class of 1999--from entry to graduation, transfer, or withdrawal. They examine the effects of parental education, family income, race and gender, high school grades, test scores, financial aid, and characteristics of universities attended (especially their selectivity). The conclusions are compelling: minority students and students from poor families have markedly lower graduation rates--and take longer to earn degrees--even when other variables are taken into account. Noting the strong performance of transfer students and the effects of financial constraints on student retention, the authors call for improved transfer and financial aid policies, and suggest ways of improving the sorting processes that match students to institutions. An outstanding combination of evidence and analysis, Crossing the Finish Line should be read by everyone who cares about the nation's higher education system.

The Number Mysteries

A Mathematical Odyssey through Everyday Life

Author: Marcus du Sautoy

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

ISBN: 9780230120280

Category: Mathematics

Page: 272

View: 6282

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Every time we download music, take a flight across the Atlantic or talk on our cell phones, we are relying on great mathematical inventions. In The Number Mysteries, one of our generation's foremost mathematicians Marcus du Sautoy offers a playful and accessible examination of numbers and how, despite efforts of the greatest minds, the most fundamental puzzles of nature remain unsolved. Du Sautoy tells about the quest to predict the future—from the flight of asteroids to an impending storm, from bending a ball like Beckham to forecasting population growth. He brings to life the beauty behind five mathematical puzzles that have contributed to our understanding of the world around us and have helped develop the technology to cope with it. With loads of games to play and puzzles to solve, this is a math book for everyone.