26 May 2016
24 May 2016
22 May 2016
J. Bradford Hipps answers a rather parochial and oft-cited post by Vinod Khosla:
[I]f anything can be treated as a plug-in, it’s learning how to code. It took me 18 months to become proficient as a developer. This isn’t to pretend software development is easy — those were long months, and I never touched the heights of my truly gifted peers. But in my experience, programming lends itself to concentrated self-study in a way that, say, To the Lighthouse or Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction do not. To learn how to write code, you need a few good books. To enter the mind of an artist, you need a human guide.
19 May 2016
13 April 2016
John D. Cook alerts us to a pitfall in seeding a random number generator (RNG) for multiple processes/threads (for instance, for a Monte Carlo simulation):
Applying the analog of the birthday problem to the RNG seeds explains why the project was launching processes with the same seed. Suppose you seed each process with an unsigned 16-bit integer. That means there are 65,536 possible seeds. Now suppose you launch 1,000 processes. With 65 times as many possible seeds as processes, surely every process should get its own seed, right? Not at all. There’s a 99.95% chance that two processes will have the same seed.