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  • feedwordpress 08:01:36 on 2019/04/18 Permalink
    Tags: Big Data, computers, , , database, , relational database, Ted Codd,   

    “Big Data is like teenage sex: everyone talks about it, nobody really knows how to do it, everyone thinks everyone else is doing it, so everyone claims they are doing it”*… 

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    You’ve probably heard of kilobytes, megabytes, gigabytes, or even terabytes.

    These data units are common everyday amounts that the average person may run into. Units this size may be big enough to quantify the amount of data sent in an email attachment, or the data stored on a hard drive, for example.

    In the coming years, however, these common units will begin to seem more quaint – that’s because the entire digital universe is expected to reach 44 zettabytes by 2020.

    If this number is correct, it will mean there are 40 times more bytes than there are stars in the observable universe…

    The stuff of dreams, the stuff of nightmares: “How Much Data is Generated Each Day?

    * Dan Ariely


    As we revel in really, really big numbers, we might spare a thought for Edgar Frank “Ted” Codd; he died on this date in 2003.  A distinguished computer scientist who did important work on cellular automata, he is best remembered as the father of computer databases– as the person who laid the foundation for for relational databases, for storing and retrieving information in computer records.



  • feedwordpress 08:01:01 on 2016/07/15 Permalink
    Tags: , , computers, , ELIZA, Enigma, , Joseph Weizenbaum,   

    “The most fruitful and natural exercise for our minds is, in my opinion, conversation”*… 

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    In this age of Alexa and Siri, it’s worth recalling the (long) history of human-machine conversation.  At MIT in 1966 an experiment with an early form of artificial intelligence anticipated just how close we might grow with our machines…

    Client: Men are all alike.

    ELIZA (a computer): In what way

    Client: They’re always bugging us about something or other.

    ELIZA: Can you think of a specific example

    Client: Well, my boyfriend made me come here.

    ELIZA: Your boyfriend made you come here

    Client: He says I’m depressed much of the time.

    ELIZA: I am sorry to hear you are depressed

    Client: It’s true. I am unhappy.

    ELIZA: Do you think coming here will help you not to be unhappy

    Client: I need some help, that much seems certain.

    – Joseph Weizenbaum, from a transcription of “Computational Linguistics.”

    Named after George Bernard Shaw’s ingénue in Pygmalion, the ELIZA program operated on the Project MAC computer system at MIT and made natural language exchange possible between man and machine. ELIZA identified key words and phrases and responded with rote answers that simulated a conversation.

    Talking Cure,” via Lapham’s Quarterly.

    * Michel de Montaigne, The Essays


    As we lie back on the couch, we might note that it was on this date in 1928 that the Enigma Machine encoded its first message.

    A simple German machine the size of a portable typewriter, ENIGMA allowed for security in communications by a process in which typed letters were replaced by a cipher text displayed on illuminated lamps. The cipher was symmetrical so entering the cipher text into another ENIGMA reproduced the original message. Security was provided by a set of rotor wheels and a series of patch cables whose arrangement was agreed upon previously.

    ENIGMA was used extensively by the German military during World War II to transmit battle plans and other secret information. By December of 1941, however, British codebreakers managed to decipher the code, allowing them to routinely read most ENIGMA traffic.

    [source- Computer History Museum]



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