Archive for the ‘Author: Eric Nichols’ category

2007 Los Angeles Times Book Prize

April 29, 2008

Douglas Hofstadter wins the 2007 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for I Am a Strange Loop.

On April 25, 2008, the Los Angeles Times honored 2007’s most accomplished authors at the 28th Annual Presentation of Los Angeles Times Book Prizes, held at UCLA’s Royce Hall on the eve of the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. Douglas Hofstadter, Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science and Computer Science at Indiana University, won the award for best science & technology book.



April 18, 2008

LorenzI assume you all saw the obituary for Edward Lorenz, but here’s a little article from the New York Times.

Three of the main things that made me excited about science when I was a kid were AI, music composition, and chaos theory — the last one thanks to Gleick’s book. Indeed, just after I typed the period on the previous sentence, I tried to think of how to wrap up this little post, and focused my eyes behind the monitor onto my bookshelf a few feet behind it. Immediately, “James Gleick — Chaos” came into focus, sitting front and center in my shelf of my favorite books. That was totally unexpected, but it’s a nice example of how important Lorenz’s discovery was for me.

We’ll miss you Lorenz!


March 6, 2008

This is sort of a silly note to talk about another kind of temperature — I have a fever due to this cold that’s been going around. So my body cranked up the temperature to kill it off. It’s interesting though — my mind races when I have a fever. Does anyone know why this is? It might as well be the FARG temperature that’s being raised, because the stream-of-thought voice in my head really goes crazy when I have a fever.

It’s not like my body is trying to do simulated annealing, but it’s amusing how it seems related (a product of the high temperature, no doubt). It also reminds me of this paper Alex and I wrote a while back on life flashing before your eyes — it’s weird how the speed and internal “volume” of thoughts is increased when the temperature goes up.

Meeting notes: Feb. 23, 2008

February 23, 2008

Today six or seven of us met at CRCC for a nice discussion. I won’t try to review it all here, but I’ll list a few items of note:

  1. We talked about putting together a demo of lots of the FARG projects and having some sort of gathering (such as an “open house” later this year, say at the start of the fall semester, to celebrate CRCC’s 20th anniversary.
  2. We discussed this blog – everyone seems to agree that this multi-author WordPress system will work fine. If you’re a core FARGonaut who wants to write posts and for some reason hasn’t been added yet, let me know.
  3. I suggested that several of us could draft a paper comparing and contrasting the various FARG projects, as a way of putting new projects into context as well as getting a handle on what features comprise the “core” of the “FARGitecture”. There seemed to be support for this idea, and I’d certainly enjoy helping put together such a report with a couple others in our group.
  4. A large portion of the discussion was on this notion of a “core” – we’ve had plenty of this discussion on the mailing list recently so I won’t repeat it here. Ab suggested listing a bunch of simple domains as “use cases” to help define the common elements. The goal is to write what Matt called the FARG RAGF, or Really Awesome General Framework. Whether or not the RAGF is a good idea is open to plenty of debate, but the idea is, for better or worse, to write a reusable library to facilitate implementation of novel FARG models.
  5. We created a new private Google Group to provide archived FARG discussion as a complement to our local CRCC email list. I brainstormed a list of some features for the RAGF, and I’ll post it there (because it was suggested that such technical discussion may not belong in this blog).

Please let me know if you have any questions or suggestions about our new online FARG features. I’m looking forward to seeing what we start writing here! Just as a word of advice, please remember that this is a public blog and we should all keep things professional and representative of the general mission of CRCC. More speculative discussion (like debate about a hypothetical RAGF) should probably be left to the discussion group.

Welcome to the FARG Blog

February 22, 2008

Dear friends, this is a quick note to kick off our new FARG Blog. We’re setting it up so that a bunch of us can author our own posts, so we can each write about whatever FARG-related topics we’d like. We’re still planning to use our internal mailing list for crazier discussions that don’t need to be on the public blog, but we’ll use the blog to spread the word about current happenings, new projects underway, etc. We’ll see how it evolves as things get rolling

For a list of many of the current and past FARG members, associates, etc., please see the list of people on the CRCC website.