Thursday, July 15, 2010

Neuromancer Vs. Matrix

Neuromancer was written by William Gibson and published in 1984.  I first read it high school back in 1993. Every few years I read it again, and each time I find something new to like.

In my most recent reading, I find myself noticing how much of the concept matter in The Matrix is based on Neuromancer. Gibson coined the term "The Matrix" and "cyberspace", and Gibson describes a Rasta "freeside" called "Zion" (albeit in orbit), and simstim memory sticks that jack in through a socket behind the ear. It's hard to imagine that Gibson wrote Neuromancer before there was a world wide web.

"The Matrix is ... a concentual hallucination. ..A graphic representation of data abstracted from the banks of every computer in the human system. Unthinkable complexity. Lines of light arranged in the nonspace of the mind, clusters and constellations of data. Like city lights, receding..."

This part reminds me of the "symbols" that fall down the screens in the movie The Matrix:

"And in the bloodlit dark behind his eyes, silver phosphenes boiling in from the edge of space, hypnagogic images jerking past like film compiled from random frames. Symbols, figures, faces, a blurred fragmented mandala of visual information". 

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Android Earcon

Did you notice that Google's Android phones have a startup sound that's quite familiar...that is, if you are a fan of Blade Runner. The little "bootup jingle" is from the opening scene soundtrack by Vangelis in  Blade Runner. Listen here, its at 1 minute 40 seconds.

Hadoop Summit

Last week I attended the Hadoop Summit. It was sold out ten days prior! That doesn't happen very often these days, in an environment where corporate travel is severely cut back. I even saw sizable contingents from Japan and Brazil. This is a very exciting time to be involved in the field of search and data processing. The science track was quite interesting, as was the talk by facebook about how they are crunching something like 90 TB per week, and are siting on 85 Peta Bytes. They are using hadoop mapreduce in near real-time. Processing latencies are getting close to 1 minute. That's nearly real-time availability of all the information you post on facebook, to everyone else (and every moving part) in the facebook system. Oh, and the lunch was great.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

badassery with bits: counting 1 bits

I was recently looking at some code to count the number of bits in an integer that are set to 1. Here is the method:

int = getARandomInt();
   n &= n-1;
print("There are "+count+" bits turned on.");

Can you figure out why it works?

hint: negative one has every bit turned on because negating a number is to take it's two's complement (which flips every bit), and add 1. Watch what happens with the carry bit when you add n to -1.