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computer science

Five Minutes with Hamid Ekbia and Bonnie Nardi

Five Minutes with Hamid Ekbia and Bonnie Nardi

The computerization of the economy—and everyday life—has transformed the division of labor between humans and machines, shifting many people into work that is hidden, poorly compensated, or accepted as part of being a “user” of digital technology. In Heteromation, And Other Stories Of Computing And Capitalism, Hamid Ekbia and Bonnie Nardi explore this phenomenon and its implications.

Changing the Face of Computing—One Stitch at a Time

Changing the Face of Computing—One Stitch at a Time

In honor of Ada Lovelace Day, an international celebration of the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), Yasmin Kafai and Jane Margolis reflect on the legacy of the British mathematician, who is famously regarded as the first female computer programmer.<--break->

Happy Birthday, Alan Turing!

Happy Birthday, Alan Turing!

In honor of Alan Turing's 104th birthday Chris Bernhardt, author of Turing's Vision: The Birth of Computer Science, discusses the pioneer's groundbreaking research paper and how it shaped modern computing.

On June 23, 1912, one of the founders of computer science, Alan Turing was born. He is now famous, having been portrayed on stage by Derek Jacobi and in film by Benedict Cumberbatch. He is well known for his work during the Second World War on code breaking that was pivotal in the Allied powers’ victory, and also for his test to determine whether human intelligence is distinguishable from that of machine intelligence. We all know of his arrest and prosecution for being gay, and for the chemical castration that followed, and we know of his tragic death by cyanide poisoning. But not many people outside of computer science are aware of the groundbreaking paper he published in 1936.

ENIAC's Birthday

ENIAC's Birthday

On February 15th 1946, ENIAC (the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer), the world's first programmable electronic computer made its debut. Thomas Haigh, author of the recently released ENIAC in Action, discusses the milestone and its significance.

Celebrating Ada Lovelace

Celebrating Ada Lovelace

In honor of Ada Lovelace Day, we look back at last year's essay ("Changing the Face of Computing—One Stitch at a Time") by Yasmin Kafai and Jane Margolis about the legacy of the pioneering British mathematician who became the first computer programmer.<--break-> 

As we celebrate Ada Lovelace Day, we should be reminded that one of the first computers in the nineteenth century, the “Analytical Engine,” was based on the design of the Jacquard loom, for weaving fashionable complex textiles of the times. It was fashion that inspired British mathematician Ada Lovelace to write the code for the loom that wove the complex patterns that were in vogue. She also wrote a most beautiful sentence linking computing and fashion: “We may say most aptly that the Analytical Engine weaves algebraic patterns just as the Jacquard loom weaves flowers and leaves.” And yet, the historical and intimate relationship between fashion and computer science has largely been forgotten and ignored, even as Lovelace’s pioneering spirit lives on today’s runways.

National Robotics Week: Architectural Robotics

National Robotics Week: Architectural Robotics

Robotics is positioned to fuel a broad array of next-generation products and applications in fields as diverse as manufacturing, healthcare, disaster relief, national security, and transportation. We are kicking off National Robotics Week with a discussion with Keith Evan Green.

Happy 25th Birthday, HAL!

Happy 25th Birthday, HAL!

David G. Stork, Rambus fellow and editor of HAL's Legacy, celebrates the birthday of science fiction's most famous computer.

“Good afternoon, gentlemen. I am a HAL 9000 computer. I became operational at the H. A. L. plant in Urbana, Illinois on the 12th of January, 1992.” —Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Nearly a half-century ago, Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick introduced us to cinema’s most compelling example of artificial intelligence: the HAL 9000, a heuristically programmed algorithmic computer. The sentient HAL was not only capable of understanding his human colleagues—he could also speak, see, plan, understand emotion and play chess. Perhaps not surprisingly, HAL was shown to be the most human character in 2001: A Space Odyssey. While Frank Poole died silently in the cold vacuum of space and the demise of the hibernating crew members was revealed by a medical monitor’s trace going flat, by contrast HAL sang a touching yet dissolving rendition of “Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do” as David Bowman deliberately shut down his consciousness.

National Robotics Week: The Technological Singularity

National Robotics Week: The Technological Singularity

Robotic technologies that we once only saw in the realm of science fiction are quickly becoming reality. Advancements continue to push forward at a dizzying rate, demonstrating a broad array of possibilities and uses for the technology. Artificial limbs, healthcare, national security, communication, and even artificial intelligence programs are just some of the ways robotic technologies have been integrated into our everyday lives.

National Robotics Week continues today with an excerpt from Murray Shanahan’s The Technological Singularity. In this book from the Essential Knowledge Series, Shanahan discusses the hypothetical event in which artificial intelligence would be able to adapt itself without human programming—commonly known as the “technological singularity.” The excerpt describes how advanced AI could communicate with humans.