Saturday, February 26, 2011

Hunter-Gatherer

A society whose primary subsistence method involves the direct procurement of edible plants and animals from the wild, foraging and hunting without significant recourse to the domestication of either:


Hunter-Gatherer Society


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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Manchester

The city known as the Silk City:



Manchester (in the State of Connecticut, US)

Manchester is a town in Hartford County, Connecticut, United States (Connecticut is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States).



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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Exabyte

A unit of information or computer storage equal to one quintillion bytes (1,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes):


Exabyte

Note: A quintillion is 1000 quadrillion; where quadrillion is equal to one thousand million million or 1,000,000,000,000,000.

Date Storage

11 February 2011
Global data storage calculated at 295 exabytes
By Jon Stewart
Presenter, BBC World Service
[source: BBC NEWS - TECHNOLOGY: Global data storage calculated at 295 exabytes]
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Mankind's capacity to store the colossal amount of information in the world has been measured by scientists.

The study, published in the journal Science, calculates the amount of data stored in the world by 2007 as 295 exabytes.

That is the equivalent of 1.2 billion average hard drives.

The researchers calculated the figure by estimating the amount of data held on 60 technologies from PCs and and DVDs to paper adverts and books.

"If we were to take all that information and store it in books, we could cover the entire area of the US or China in 13 layers of books," Dr Martin Hilbert of the University of Southern California told the BBC's Science in Action.

Information revolution

By 2007, 94% of stored information was kept digitally
Computer storage has traditionally been measured in kilobytes, then megabytes, and now usually gigabytes. After that comes terabytes, petabytes, then exabytes. One exabyte is a billion gigabytes.

The same information stored digitally on CDs would create a stack of discs that would reach beyond the moon, according to the researchers.

Scientists calculated the figure by estimating the amount of data held on 60 analogue and digital technologies during the period from 1986 to 2007. They considered everything from computer hard drives to obsolete floppy discs, and x-ray films to microchips on credit cards.

The survey covers a period known as the "information revolution" as human societies transition to a digital age. It shows that in 2000 75% of stored information was in an analogue format such as video cassettes, but that by 2007, 94% of it was digital.

"There have been other revolutions before." Dr Hilbert told the BBC's Science in Action programme.

"The car changed society completely, or electricity. Every 40, 50 or 60 years something grows faster than anything else, and right now it's information.

"Basically what you can do with information is transmit it through space, and we call that communication. You can transmit it through time; we call that storage. Or you can transform it, manipulate it, change the meaning of it, and we call that computation."

Other results from the global survey show that we broadcast around two zettabytes of data (a zettabyte is 1000 exabytes). That's the equivalent of 175 newspapers per person, per day.

The fastest growing area of information manipulation has been computation. During the two decades the survey covers, global computing capacity increased by 58% per year.

These numbers may sound large, but they are still dwarfed by the information processing and storage capacity of nature.

"The Human DNA in one single body can store around 300 times more information than we store in all our technological devices" according to Dr Hilbert.

This study looked at the world as a whole, but the scientists say that it does show that the "digital divide" between rich and poor countries is growing. Despite the spread of computers and mobile phones, the capacity to process information is becoming more unequal.

In 2002 people in the developed world could communicate eight times more information than people in the developing world. Just five years later, in 2007, that gap has nearly doubled, and people in richer countries have 15 times more information carrying capacity.

The study also pinpoints the arrival of the digital age as 2002, the first year worldwide digital storage capacity overtook analogue capacity.

Hear more about the study on Science in Action on the BBC World Service.

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Friday, February 11, 2011

IBM Watson

A computing system that rivals a human’s ability to answer questions posed in natural language with speed, accuracy and confidence:


IBM Watson

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Read more and watch the video from the Engineering blog:

Engineering Intelligence: Why IBM’s Jeopardy-Playing Computer Is So Important
sources:
Mashable: Engineering Intelligence: Why IBM’s Jeopardy-Playing Computer Is So Important
IBM Watson: Countdown to Jeopardy!


Language is arguably what makes us most human. Even the smartest and chattiest of the animal kingdom have nothing on our lingual cognition.

In computer science, the Holy Grail has long been to build software that understands — and can interact with — natural human language. But dreams of a real-life Johnny 5 or C-3PO have always been dashed on the great gulf between raw processing power and the architecture of the human mind. Computers are great at crunching large sets of numbers. The mind excels at assumption and nuance.

Enter Watson, an artificial intelligence project from IBM that’s over five years in the making and about to prove itself to the world next week. The supercomputer, named for the technology company’s founder, will be competing with championship-level contestants on the quiz show Jeopardy!. The episodes will air on February 14, 15 and 16, and if recent practice rounds are any indication, Watson is in it to win it.



At first blush, building a computer with vast amounts of knowledge at its disposal seems mundane in our age. Google has already indexed a wide swath of the world’s codified information, and can surface almost anything with a handful of keywords. The difference is that Google doesn’t understand a question like, “What type of weapon is also the name of a Beatles record?” It may yield some information about The Beatles, or perhaps an article that mentions weapons and The Beatles, but it’s not conceptualizing that the weapon and recording in question have the same name: Revolver.

Achieving this is what makes Watson a contender on Jeopardy!, a quiz known for nuance, puns, double entendres and complex language designed to mislead human contestants. Google Search, or any common semantic software, wouldn’t stand a chance against these lingual acrobatics.

What Watson achieves is, quite frankly, mind boggling. And the rig that sustains it is equally so, with hardware consisting of 90 IBM Power 750 Express servers. Each server utilizes a 3.5 GHz POWER7 eight-core processor, with four threads per core. Top that off with 16 terabytes of RAM, and you’ve got a hearty machine that can almost run Call of Duty: Black Ops without lag.

In seriousness, this computational muscle is what drives IBM’s DeepQA software, the real star of the Watson show. Hundreds of algorithms run simultaneously in order to deduce meaning from a clue, check it against hordes of relevant data, and decide which response is most likely to be correct. Watson then determines if it is “confident” enough in the answer to buzz in at all. The entire process takes place in under three seconds.

This feat of answering “open questions,” as computer scientists call them, puts IBM’s last big AI triumph — the chess-playing, Garry Kasparov-beating Deep Blue — into perspective. While chess is a complex game, the number of legal moves available at any time is finite. Not so, with natural language.

To document this historic leap in computer science, IBM allowed one journalist — Stephen Baker — unmatched access inside its labs. Baker’s new book, Final Jeopardy: Man vs. Machine and the Quest to Know Everything, chronicles Watson from the early days of development to its deployment behind the Jeopardy! podium. The e-book is available now, and to avoid spoilers, readers will be able to download the final chapter, which analyzes Watson’s televised match against Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, the day after the finale airs (February 17).

We had the opportunity to interview Mr. Baker and discuss what makes Watson tick, as well as the project’s ramifications for the future of artificial intelligence.

video

VIDEO: IBM Watson: Countdown to Jeopardy!

  • Watson's ability to understand the meaning and context of human language, and rapidly process information to find precise answers to complex questions, holds enormous potential to transform how computers help people accomplish tasks in business and their personal lives. Watson will enable people to rapidly find specific answers to complex questions. The technology could be applied in areas such as health care, for accurately diagnosing patients, to improve online self-service help desks, to provide tourists and citizens with specific information regarding cities, prompt customer support via phone, and much more.


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Sunday, February 6, 2011

Tomography

Imaging by sections or sectioning of the internal structures of an object as the human head through the use of any kind of penetrating wave:


Tomography

The word tomography is derived from the Greek tomos meaning slice and graphein which means to write.

A device used in tomography is called a tomograph, while the image produced is a tomogram.

Tomograph
Tomograph

X-Ray Computed Tomography (CT) is a medical imaging that uses tomography created by computer processing; digital geometry processing is used to generate a three-dimensional image of the inside of an object from a large series of two-dimensional X-ray images taken around a single axis of rotation.

Computed Tomography of Human Brain
Computed Tomography of Human Brain

A CT Scanner (computerized tomography scanner) is a special kind of X-ray machine that instead of sending out a single X-ray through the body as with ordinary X-rays, several beams are sent simultaneously from different angles. It was originally designed to take pictures of the brain; however, now it is used for taking pictures of virtually any part of the body. This scanner is especially good at testing for bleeding in the brain, brain tumors, brain damage, and for aneurysms (the condition in which the wall of an artery swells up).

CT Scanning with a CT Scanner
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Friday, February 4, 2011

Web Analytics

The measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of internet data for purposes of understanding and optimizing web usage:


Web Analytics

More info [source: Wikipedia.org: Web Analytics]:

Web analytics is not just a tool for measuring website traffic but can be used as a tool for business research and market research. Web analytics applications can also help companies measure the results of traditional print advertising campaigns. It helps one to estimate how the traffic to the website changed after the launch of a new advertising campaign. Web analytics provides data on the number of visitors, page views, etc. to gauge the traffic and popularity trends which helps doing the market research.
There are two categories of web analytics; off-site and on-site web analytics.
Off-site web analytics refers to web measurement and analysis regardless of whether you own or maintain a website. It includes the measurement of a website's potential audience (opportunity), share of voice (visibility), and buzz (comments) that is happening on the Internet as a whole.
On-site web analytics measure a visitor's journey once on your website. This includes its drivers and conversions; for example, which landing pages encourage people to make a purchase. On-site web analytics measures the performance of your website in a commercial context. This data is typically compared against key performance indicators for performance, and used to improve a web site or marketing campaign's audience response.

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Alex Osborn

The author of the book called Applied Imagination: Principles and Procedures of Creative Problem Solving; in which brainstorming, a group creativity technique designed to generate a large number of ideas for the solution of a problem was popularized:


Alex Faickney Osborn (1888-1966)

[source: 101 Activities for Teaching Creativity and Problem Solving, VanGundy, Arthur B., John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2005]
Brainstorming pioneer Alex Osborn was a master at using perspective changes to suggest new ideas. He developed a list of seventy-three idea-spurring questions designed to create new perspectives. His list included such questions as:

• What other product (problem) is like this one (adapt)?

• How could I change this product (modify)?

• How could I add to this product (magnify)?

• What could I take away from this product (minify)?

• What could I use instead of this product or a portion of it (substitute)?

• How could I alter this product’s composition (rearrange)?

• How could I turn this problem around (reverse)?

• What could I put together to make a new product (combine)?

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Thursday, February 3, 2011

New World

One of the names used for the Western Hemisphere, specifically the Americas, originated in the late 15th century, when America had been discovered by European explorers:


New World

The European explorers had thought of the world as consisting of Europe, Asia, and Africa, collectively, the Old World.

The Spanish scholar Peter Martyr d'Anghiera coined the term "New World" (novi orbis) in a letter dated November 1st, 1492 in which he referred to Columbus first voyage to America. In a subsequent letter a year later he again referred to "the New World" (orbis novus). In 1516, Martyr published a work whose title began De orbe novo ("On the New World") [see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_World for more info].

The New World

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