Sunday, January 4, 2015

Q&A - 4/1

Report (PDF)

The algorithms that we use today for speech recognition, for natural language translation, for chess playing, for logistics planning, have evolved remarkably in the past decade. It’s difficult to quantify the improvement, though, because it is as much in the realm of quality as of execution time.

In the field of numerical algorithms, however, the improvement can be quantified. Here is just one example, provided by Professor Martin Grötschel of [KZZI] Berlin. Grötschel, an expert in optimization, observes that a benchmark production planning model solved using linear programming would have taken 82 years to solve in 1988, using the computers and the linear programming algorithms of the day. Fifteen years later – in 2003 – this same model could be solved in roughly 1 minute, an improvement by a factor of roughly 43 million. Of this, a factor of roughly 1,000 was due to increased processor speed, whereas a factor of roughly 43,000 was due to improvements in algorithms!


But how could that be? Innovation is dead (!)


[Another Uber PR f..k-up]

Tech is making deeper inroads into social life

Ordering stuff online and having them delivered to people's doorstep is one thing; inserting yourself in the middle of much richer human interaction is another. Transportation, offered by the people, for the people is that kind of a "busier" and richer interaction IMO. Some of the blame for the most recent PR fubar can be laid on the Uber's chief executive, due to his particular "style", but mostly the issue is the new business / social environment Uber finds itself in. AirBnb is having similar experiences (social, legal, etc). This is good! Tech is inserting itself more and more into social realm.