[Link] Algorithms literature

From the Social Media Collective, part of the Microsoft Research labs, an interesting and comprehensive list of studies about algorithms as social concern.

Our interest in assembling this list was to catalog the emergence of “algorithms” as objects of interest for disciplines beyond mathematics, computer science, and software engineering.

They also try to categorise the studies and add an intriguing timeline visualisation (that shows how much interest are sparking the algorithms in this time):



[Link] First use of software engineering term

In a post titled <The origin of “software engineering”> Bertrand Meyer writes that the term was not coined in 1968 during the famous NATO conference at Garmisch-Partenkirchen but – at least – two years earlier, in August 1966 by the ACM President.

See the link above for the full story.

But I still think it’s correct to say that the term “software engineering” was not of general use until the conference.


Pope Benedict XVI resigns in twitter era

Early printing press.

The penultimate Pope to resign in history was Pope Gregory XII in 1415Johann Gutenberg at that time was just a teenager. The age of the press didn’t yet start: news were circulating by voice: from place to place, village to village, taking days or weeks.

Today, when  Pope Benedict XVI resigns,  the press age is basically ending: the news resumed to circulate as at that time, from person to person, but much faster: no one in the world will hear this piece of news reading the tomorrow morning newspaper …

Timeline of data mining from Wolfram

Steven Wolfram and team have gathered together a big timeline of key events in the history of systematic data and computable knowledge. The team has created a beautiful infographic and a five foot long poster available for mail order.

It’s fascinating.

One critique I have is that it’s very US-centric, especially in the last period, say the last 50 years.

Just one example: one milestone says 1963 ZIP (Zoning Improvement Plan) codes are introduced by the US Post Office. “
Well, the postal codes have been introduced in Germany in 1941 (the PLZ codes) and maybe in other countries even earlier.

Wow! Obama! Nobel Peace Prize!

So, the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize is going to USA President, Barack Obama.

I personally find it a great choice and well deserved.

I don’t see it a prize for what he has done until now (little) but for the hope that he brought. Hope that things can be done differently, hope that the world can be changed and saved, it doesn’t matter if done by him or by people who will be inspired and will follow.