Dr. Volkan Tunalı's Personal Blog

Computer, Technology, Science, Art

Quote of the Day from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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Saint ExuperyHere comes the quote of the day from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry who is best remembered for his novella The Little Prince (Le Petit Prince):

Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.

- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

I like this saying because it emphasizes that simple and effective approaches should be sought to design and build anything (eg. software producsts in my profession) elegant.

Written by Volkan TUNALI

September 17th, 2010 at 3:09 pm

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Hottest Majors for Future Career According to Microsoft

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careerThere is a blog article published recently at Microsoft JobsBlog which talks about the hottest fields of study for a career in technology. All these three hottest majors mentioned are data mining related. The list is as follows:

  • Data Mining/Machine Learning/AI/Natural Language Processing
  • Business Intelligence/Competitive Intelligence
  • Analytics/Statistics – specifically Web Analytics, A/B Testing and statistical analysis

The article concludes as:

These fields are very HOT and looking long term, the demand will be just that much greater in these areas.

You can read the full article at http://jobsblog.com/blog/top-three-new-tech-majors/.

Written by Volkan TUNALI

August 26th, 2010 at 8:48 pm

Why I Like Twitter

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twitterWhen everybody around started to use and talk about twitter, I preferred to stay away for a while in order to get the idea why so many people became twitter user and what I could make use of twitter. However, best way to learn about something is to get involved and explore, so eventually I’ve become a twitterer.

Before twitter, the best way for me to follow some person or news source was to use RSS feeds provided by the blog of that person or the web site of the news source. Today, I still effectively use RSS feeds for the same reason (mostly to read daily news). However, people usually have many more things to say but not to prefer to type into their blogs as posts. For example, I find a very good article about data mining, I want to share it to my followers, but it may not be feasable to write about that article in my blog. I don’t like to put a single-sentence blog post that only gives a link to the article. Then, twitter is very handy in such situations. I follow some important Computer Science researchers, and they usually give very useful links in their tweets besides links to their own new blog posts. I understand why use of tools like twitter and FriendFeed is called micro-blogging.

This basic usage style is more than enough for me to stay informed about people I follow. I have not got into deeper features of twitter like trending topics, lists, etc.

As long as used wisely, twitter is a simple, useful, and effective tool for information flow among people. I like it, I use it. You can follow me via @vtunali.

Written by Volkan TUNALI

August 13th, 2010 at 2:58 am

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Proof that P is not Equal to NP?

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Complexity ClassesFor a few days, everyone in the field of computer science has been talking about the manuscript P ≠ NP published by Vinay Deolalikar from HP Research Labs on August 6, 2010. The 102-page manuscript on the P versus NP problem has taken so much attention from computer science researchers like Scott Aaronson, Greg Baker, and Dick Lipton.

Let’s see what Wikipedia says about P ≠ NP as a refreshment for the subject:

The relationship between the complexity classes P (Polynomial time) and NP (Nondeterministic Polynomial time) is an unsolved problem in theoretical computer science, and is considered by many theoretical computer scientists to be the most important problem in the field.

A proof that showed that P ≠ NP, while lacking the practical computational benefits of a proof that P = NP, would also represent a very significant advance in computational complexity theory and provide guidance for future research. It would allow one to show in a formal way that many common problems cannot be solved efficiently, so that the attention of researchers can be focused on partial solutions or solutions to other problems. Due to widespread belief in P ≠ NP, much of this focusing of research has already taken place.

Yes, P ≠ NP is the expected answer, yet there is no accepted proof for that. It will be very interesting and lucky for us to witness an important milestone in computer science if Deolalikar’s claimed proof is found correct and approved by the computer science community. I think acceptance or rejection will take some time, and I’ll be waiting impatiently.

Update Jan 20th, 2011: Today I’ve seen a new work that claims P = NP with a Polynomial Algorithm for Boolean 3-Satisfiability Problem by Vladimir Romanov. http://romvf.wordpress.com/2011/01/19/open-letter/

Written by Volkan TUNALI

August 9th, 2010 at 5:45 pm

Blekko – A Brand New Search Engine

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blekkoI guess it is very likely that you use Google everytime you need to search for something, and sometimes the others like Yahoo, Bing, etc. This is what I do. Google has been my very first choice for a long time. I very very rarely use Yahoo or Bing. Now, there is a newcomer to the field: blekko.

Blekko is in a private beta stage and it is not open to everyone’s use. You need to get a join link from blekko through twitter or facebook.

I’ve just joined to blekko and actually have not tried it thoroughly. The most distinct property of blekko is the search using slashtags. Slashtags are the keywords that appear after a slash, which makes the search results narrow down according to the tag. Slasthtags are defined by blekko as:

Slashtag search lets users slash in what they want and slash out what they don’t. Knock out the spam sites and search only the sites you want to search.

Use of slashtags are very similar to the command line parameters passed to the programs in DOS.

I think I need more time and more trials to get the idea. Who knows, blekko might become my first choice search engine soon.

Written by Volkan TUNALI

August 9th, 2010 at 10:08 am