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Alan Mathison Turing

Update (11/23/2013): " Now, nearly half a century after the war hero's suicide, Queen Elizabeth II has finally granted Turing a pardon." ( http://usat.ly/19bLZET ) Long overdue!!! With academic background in applied mathematics and computer science and years of experience in Information Technology it would be incredibly surprising if I didn't know of Alan Turing, or so I thought. Sure, I knew who he was and had a good idea of what he had contributed to the fields of mathematics, logic, cryptography, and of course computer science, which he basically founded; and things like Turing Machine, Turing Test, and Enigma Code-breaking have been widely popularized. I also knew that he died relatively young, but I am ashamed to admit that I didn't know anything about the circumstances surrounding his premature death. That is until I read the following in the book titled  "The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood" by James Gleick: "Turing's hom

The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood

" In the long run, history is the story of information becoming aware of itself. " The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood by James Gleick - t his was not an easy read for me, I spent more time on this book than on two before and two after (all of comparable volume) combined. And I am not exactly sure why. I guess it could be the style, the vocabulary, the depth and the breadth of the subject matter  coverage , or all of these and few other things put together.  But I feel like it was well worth the effort. The story flows smoothly from the talking drums of Africa to the  world of oral culture;  to the invention of scripts and alphabets; to evolution of languages, books, catalogs and dictionaries; to  further developments of abstraction,  symbolic logic,  and mathematics; to  the birth of computer science, communications theory , information theory, quantum theory, ... I don't think I can right a review that will do this book justice. So, I would simply s

Rational Decision-Making

I've been going through some of my old notes and decided to pull a couple of them together for another post. Decision making is an interesting subject, something that applies to all spheres of our lives - from everyday decision making, to economics, politics, etc. In some cases it is desirable to delay making decisions as long as possible - " I've learned one thing in politics. You don't make a decision until you have to" ( Margaret Thatcher ); in some we need to make decisions quickly - the rapid-fire decisions that make up our daily lives. Sometimes we need to rely on intuition  and instinct, sometimes it is necessary to carefully consider and weigh a complex set of inputs and variables. But regardless of the circumstances we can benefit from getting rid of myths surrounding decision making and becoming more aware of the inner processes we use to make those decisions. For example, the following article from the  Harvard Magazine:  " The Marketplace of Perc