Nine Algorithms That Changed the Future

Author: John MacCormick
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9780691147147
Release Date: 2012-01-03
Genre: Computers

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

Author: John MacCormick
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9781400839568
Release Date: 2011-12-27
Genre: Computers

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.

The Golden Ticket

Author: Lance Fortnow
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9781400846610
Release Date: 2013-03-27
Genre: Computers

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.

Stochastic Algorithms for Visual Tracking

Author: John MacCormick
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 9781447106791
Release Date: 2012-12-06
Genre: Computers

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.

Automate This

Author: Christopher Steiner
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 9781101572153
Release Date: 2012-08-30
Genre: Computers

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

Author: Harold Abelson
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
ISBN: 9780137135592
Release Date: 2008
Genre: Computers

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.

Algorithms Unlocked

Author: Thomas H. Cormen
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 9780262313230
Release Date: 2013-03-01
Genre: Computers

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.

Stuck in the Shallow End

Author: Jane Margolis
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262260964
Release Date: 2010-02-26
Genre: Education

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.

What Can Be Computed

Author: John MacCormick
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9781400889846
Release Date: 2018-05-15
Genre: Computers

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
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 3642153283
Release Date: 2010-12-10
Genre: Science

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.

Probably Approximately Correct

Author: Leslie Valiant
Publisher: Basic Books
ISBN: 9780465032716
Release Date: 2013-06-04
Genre: Science

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.

The Power of Networks

Author: Christopher G. Brinton
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9781400884070
Release Date: 2016-11-21
Genre: Computers

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.

Tubes

Author: Andrew Blum
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 9781443414395
Release Date: 2012-05-15
Genre: Technology & Engineering

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.

Lauren Ipsum

Author: Carlos Bueno
Publisher: No Starch Press
ISBN: 9781593276577
Release Date: 2014-12-14
Genre: Computers

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+

Algorithmic Puzzles

Author: Anany Levitin
Publisher: OUP USA
ISBN: 9780199740444
Release Date: 2011-10-14
Genre: Computers

Algorithmic puzzles are puzzles involving well-defined procedures for solving problems. This book will provide an enjoyable and accessible introduction to algorithmic puzzles that will develop the reader's algorithmic thinking. The first part of this book is a tutorial on algorithm design strategies and analysis techniques. Algorithm design strategies — exhaustive search, backtracking, divide-and-conquer and a few others — are general approaches to designing step-by-step instructions for solving problems. Analysis techniques are methods for investigating such procedures to answer questions about the ultimate result of the procedure or how many steps are executed before the procedure stops. The discussion is an elementary level, with puzzle examples, and requires neither programming nor mathematics beyond a secondary school level. Thus, the tutorial provides a gentle and entertaining introduction to main ideas in high-level algorithmic problem solving. The second and main part of the book contains 150 puzzles, from centuries-old classics to newcomers often asked during job interviews at computing, engineering, and financial companies. The puzzles are divided into three groups by their difficulty levels. The first fifty puzzles in the Easier Puzzles section require only middle school mathematics. The sixty puzzle of average difficulty and forty harder puzzles require just high school mathematics plus a few topics such as binary numbers and simple recurrences, which are reviewed in the tutorial. All the puzzles are provided with hints, detailed solutions, and brief comments. The comments deal with the puzzle origins and design or analysis techniques used in the solution. The book should be of interest to puzzle lovers, students and teachers of algorithm courses, and persons expecting to be given puzzles during job interviews.