jonny goes to england

London & co

Cambridge Workshop

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So, I was in Cambridge, attending the workshop “Frontiers in Computational Reasoning” at Microsoft Research. Too bad I couldn’t find the battery cable for my camera, so only a few, low quality pictures

It was quite an interesting workshop, as it brought together many researchers who reason about programs in different ways. The most interesting talk (beside the first one from Byron Cook) was the last talk about “On Reasoning and Intelligent Behaviour”. It questioned whether the approach we use these days to make computers “intelligent” is the best way and how its different from what early AI reseachers in the 60ies thought AI going to be. Basically, now a days, all successful applications are using very primitive techniques plus a lot of data. Google can provide you with accurate answers, not because it’s smart, but because it’s backed up by billions of data entries it can run statistics on.
Modern machine translation is able to translate Chinese into English without understanding either of the languages, purely driven by lots of training data and statistics over it. This is however (probably) not how humans reason about their environment. One member of the audience however pointed out that it’s a very naive idea to try to build artificial intelligent after a model of how humans are thought to think. Mostly, because we don’t know ourself how our brains work.

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Being at Microsoft Research itself was interesting too. Every participant got his/her (although I counted a total count of 1 woman besides the catering girls, strange!) own wifi login and a complex password with expiry date, that’s how access control should be :). I had an ms visitor batch hosted by Tony Hoare, which was nice.

Then I was visiting Cambridge .. and to my surprise, I enjoyed it! Even worse, I realised how very stressful London can be at times. Cambridge was quite peaceful, slow and I can imagine how people can perform well in such an environment. And with five trains an hour to London (50mins) it’s not too far away from Mayhem either.

That’s how it looks like when you go into a sports shop. Certainly not what you would see in a Swiss shop:

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On the way home, close to Liverpool street:

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Written by jk

March 22, 2009 at 4:31 pm

Posted in english, german, QMUL

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