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Showing posts from 2019

A MIT Crash Course On Hacker Tools

MIT has provided an online version of crash course on navigating the command line, using a text editor and version control, automating mundane tasks, managing packages and software and configuring your environment.  Being at least familiar with the command line and knowing how to set up a programming environment is an essential aspect of today's college classes, even not those directly associated
with Computer Science.This MIT class, originally presented on-campus during the winter break, aims to fill that gap by familiarizing students to those handy computing practices. We've felt the importance of that in the article "How To Successfully Teach Computing Disciplines To The Uninitiated" where we saw how you can turn a student with little background in computation into a competent programming computer user, witnessing how SciNet, the supercomputer department of the University of Toronto, teaches computing disciplines to graduate students in emerging fields such as com…

Functional Programming Patterns With RamdaJS

An interactive course on Educative's platform exploring the underlying principles of FP in Javascript with aid of the small RambdaJS library. It is addressed to programmers already familiar with Javascript at intermediate to advanced level. Let me start by saying that this is obscure the concepts with each other. It's also interactive as you won't have to leave your browser window to run the code examples. All the code is embedded within the course's web pages and runs in place, hence there's no need to open a separate browser tab or window in order to load a code playground. However, if that is your preferred way of doing things, there's also a dedicated RambdaJS playground available at
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"Risk-First Software Development: The Menagerie" book review

This first volume of the Risk-First series, looks at managing software projects under an alternative perspective. 
This book draws on the author's long lasting experience with software projects and is based on empirical rather than scientific evidence; "Is it scientific? No. Is it correct? Almost certainly". During his career, Rob Moffat came to the conclusion that things don’t match up with the way the books say they should be done. This view was formed when he observed that:  Development Teams put a lot of faith in methodology. Sometimes, this faith is often so strong it borders on religion. For some, this is Prince2. For others, it might be Lean or Agile.Developers put a lot of faith in particular tools too. Some developers are pro-or-anti-Java, others are pro-or-anti-XML. All of them have their views colored by their experiences (or lack of) with these tools.full article on i-programmer

How To Successfully Teach Computing Disciplines To The Uninitiated

How can you turn a student with little background in computation into a competent programming computer user? Could the solution be R and data science. This topic is addressed in a research paper on how SciNet, the supercomputer department of the University of Toronto, teaches Computing Disciplines to graduate students in emerging computational fields such as biology and medical science.
Toronto University specifics aside, the research paper contains valuable insight on how to construct a successful course on just about any subject in general.SciNet despite not a teaching department but rather a research consortium, offers this course to the University's students in partnership with other University departments such as the Institute of Medical Science, the Physics Department or the Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences.
full article on i-programmer

TCAV Explains How AI Reaches A Decision

Why is it important to understand the inner workings of a neural network? Read on to find out and to be introduced to Google's machine-to-human translator tool, TCAV (Testing with Concept Activation Vectors)  As AI becomes more and more integrated into all aspects of human activity and life there's a pressing need to find a way to peek into its decision making process.This is very important in sectors such as Healthcare, that are critical to humans' wellbeing. Take for example SkinVision, a mobile app that by taking a picture of a mole can decide if its malignant or not. Would the diagnosis be incorrect or misinterpreting a malignant mole as benign could have dire consequences.But the other way around is not without defects as well.It would cause uninvited stress to its users and turn them into an army of pseudo-patients who would come knowing down their already burned out practitioner's door.
full article on i-programmer

Computer Science Curriculum From Minecraft

Teaching Computer Science at school just got easier as Microsoft is making a 30-hour curriculum, targeted at students in the age range 11 to 16, available as a free download.

The curriculum is based on Minecraft Education Edition, a version that offers special features for educators, and Microsoft MakeCode, a block- and JavaScript-programming editor as means for teaching the basics of coding and computational thinking skills. The course is comprised of 10 units with each focusing on specific computer science concepts and programming skills. Teaching all units and lessons will require approximately 30 hours of instruction, with each unit including 1-4 lessons of approximately 45-60 minutes each.
more info on i-programmer

The Enduring Influence Of Postgres

A historical recollection of the Postgres project and its impact on the DBMS industry provides an insight into the key features of the object-relational database as conceived by Mike Stonebraker.

Looking Back at Postgres,  freely available as an pdf, is an essay that also forms part of the just released book "Making Databases Work The Pragmatic Wisdom of Michael Stonebraker". It comes from Joseph M. Hellerstein, a prominent research member of the UC Berkeley Postgres project, which was led by the Stonebraker think tank from the mid-1980's to the mid-1990's, and takes us on a magnificent tour through the evolution of the Postgres project. During that journey, Hellerstein pauses on its milestones to elaborate on its forward thinking that planted the roots of the technologies that shape the database industry today, decades after the project's conception.

full article here

Neural Networks In JavaScript With Brain.js

A fun and practical introduction to the underpinnings of AI.  Working with AI is increasingly easier thanks to new and versatile libraries which encapsulate all the logic so you don't have to, to the extent that your AI skills are worth less than you think: As exciting as the progress is, it’s bad news for both companies and individuals who have invested heavily in AI skills. Today, they give you a solid competitive advantage, as training a competent ML engineer requires plenty of time spent reading papers, and a solid math background to start with. However, as the tools get better, this won’t be the case anymore. It’ll become more about reading tutorials than scientific papers. If you don’t realize your advantage soon, a band of interns with a library may eat your lunch
The truth is that it is the combination ... full article here

EUPL for state software Software Security is a Civil Right!

Like bread and beer, free software development is not for free: developers need some incentives, let’s say just the money they need for purchasing their bread and beer or for ensuring their family a decent way of life. In order to provide these incentives, the European Commission is launching in January about 15 bug bounties on Free Software projects that the EU institutions rely on. A bug bounty is a prize for people who actively search for security issues. The amount of the bounty depends on the severity of the issue uncovered and the relative importance of the software. This EU initiative is part of the Free and Open Source Software Audit (FOSSA) project. "Software Security as a Civil right", Nikos Vaggalis wrote in i-programmer news, quoting the scheme that Julia Reda (MEP) pushes forward. Mission-critical F/OSS applications' audits should be state funded in order to serve the wider good.
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EU Bug Bounty - Software Security as a Civil Right

A State-sponsored bug bounty comes as refreshing news in that it shows that amongst the bureaucrats there are tech savvypeople who understand the true value of OSS software to society, and as such the impact when its security goes wrong. 

This EU initiative is part of the Free and Open Source Software Audit (FOSSA) project, thanks to Julia Reda MEP of the EU Pirate Party, who started the project thinking that enough is enough after severe vulnerabilities were discovered in key infrastructure components like OpenSSL. This prompted her to involve the EU Commission in contributing to the security of the Internet.

full article here