Archive for October, 2010

Futurist Arthur C. Clarke on Mandelbrot’s Fractals


“As you may have heard, mathematician Benoît B. Mandelbrot, the father of fractal geometry, died on Thursday in Cambridge, Mass. He was 85. You can read the full obit in The New York Times, and if you want to learn more about his work, let me resurface this documentary we featured not too long ago. Back in 1995, Sir Arthur C. Clarke, the futurist and science fiction writer most well known for his novel 2001: A Space Odyssey, presented a television documentary on the 1980 discovery of the Mandelbrot Set (M-Set). Fractals: The Colors of Infinity brings us inside the world of fractal geometry, and soon enough we’re encountering what has been called “the thumbprint of God.” Clarke narrates the film, which has a 54 minute runtime. David Gilmour (guitarist, vocalist and songwriter for Pink Floyd) created the soundtrack. Big hat tip to Greg for sending this along…

Note: You can purchase online the DVD of the documentary, along with the original book on which it was based.”

in OpenCulture

DARPA seeks to shape young minds


“The Defense Department’s research and development agency has started an initiative to increase the number of computer science graduates in the United States. The three-year, $14.2 million dollar program will use a variety of online tools and educational approaches to guide interested middle and high school students into pursuing computer science careers. ”


NSF Graduate Fellowships Now Recognize STEM Education as Valid Research Field


” In 2000, the National Science Foundation began funding graduate students who also wanted to help out elementary and secondary school teachers in the classroom. A novel idea at the time, the NSF Graduate STEM Fellows in K-12 Education Program is now an established part of the foundation’s $900 million portfolio aimed at raising the quality of U.S. math and science education. But it’s taken a decade for NSF officials to formally acknowledge that improving science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education is a legitimate research activity for a graduate student. ”

in ScienceInsider

Large study shows females are equal to males in math skills


“The idea that both genders have equal math abilities is widely accepted among social scientists, Hyde adds, but word has been slow to reach teachers and parents, who can play a negative role by guiding girls away from math-heavy sciences and engineering. “One reason I am still spending time on this is because parents and teachers continue to hold stereotypes that boys are better in math, and that can have a tremendous impact on individual girls who are told to stay away from engineering or the physical sciences because ‘Girls can’t do the math.'”

Scientists now know that stereotypes affect performance, Hyde adds. “There is lots of evidence that what we call ‘stereotype threat’ can hold women back in math. If, before a test, you imply that the women should expect to do a little worse than the men, that hurts performance. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

in University of Winsconsin-Madison

Oct. 14, 1985: C++ Adds to Programming


“So, for me, the main satisfaction comes from interesting and challenging applications that just might not have been done without C++, or possibly been delayed for many years for lack of a language suitable for demanding real-world applications.

The Mars rovers, the human genome project’s DNA string matching, Google, Amazon, airline reservation systems (Amadeus), code analysis (Coverity), animation (Maya), cars, airplanes, Photoshop, telecommunication systems. Videogames like Doom, Warcraft, Age of Empires, Halo. Wind turbines, oil exploration. Most of Microsoft’s software and much of Apple’s. Java virtual machines. Thunderbird and Firefox, MySQL, lots of financial software, OpenOffice, etc.”

Bjarne Stroustrup in wired.

Project Tuva – Richard Feynman: The Messenger Series


Apresentação na Wikipedia

Project Tuva – Richard Feynman: The Messenger Series

Smarter Than You Think – Aiming to Learn as We Do, a Machine Teaches Itself


“Since the start of the year, a team of researchers at Carnegie Mellon University — supported by grants from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and Google, and tapping into a research supercomputing cluster provided by Yahoo — has been fine-tuning a computer system that is trying to master semantics by learning more like a human. ”
in The New York Times