Algorithms & What you didn’t think you already knew about them…

Until very recently (well the last year or so) I had no idea myself what an Algorithm was.  It wasn’t until I started taking college courses that I learned what they are.  I had heard the word used in the past, although I had no idea what it meant, or the desire really to find out more about it because it didn’t seem to pertain to anything in my life… or so I thought, but as it turns out in fact we come across algorithms everyday.

Here is the definition from the World English Dictionary:

algorithm
n
1. Compare heuristic a logical arithmetical or computational procedure that if correctly applied ensures the solution of a problem
2. logic, maths a recursive procedure whereby an infinite sequence of terms can be generated

As you can see there are a couple of different meanings for algorithms, and in this case definition 2 applies the most.  In its most basic form an algorithm is a set of instructions that eventually make up a solution.  An algorithm is also something that can create something once its set of instructions have been carried out.  This result can be anything from a cake after following a baking recipe or learning how to skydive from an instructor.  I would imagine that mathematicians would argue that they shouldn’t be generalized as much as I have done, but .  Algorithms can be quite complex or fairly simple depending upon the desired outcome of the solution, problem, or recipe.  I’m betting a lot of you with no previous knowledge of what an Algorithm was are having light bulbs go off right about now.  The use of algorithms is all around us in computers, analyses of data, even Facebook, and Google use them to predict things that you are already planning on doing.  They have a similar App for smartphones in development (if it hasn’t come out already), and there is also a really good TED Talk on the subject of algorithms as well.   I’m hoping that I’ve been able to shed some light on the subject somewhat, and have given you the desire to want to learn more about them.

NewTechieGirl

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Codecademy Becomes A Platform: Now Anyone Can Write Programming Tutorials

I know I’ve been getting a bit behind on my programming, and it would be nice if there was a way to ask questions, but I still think this is a great tool for anyone interested in learning basic programming.

Found a great article on technology, and some good tips for anyone that is intimidated by it. From all of my experience up to this point they all ring true, and will definitely help to prevent a lot of frustrations people have with technology by just trying one or two of them. Enjoy!

Inspiration Files

These days, nerds are everywhere. Twitter profiles proclaiming oneself as a nerd abound. Ironic nerd eyeglasses have been popularized by celebrities and adopted by the masses. There’s even a nerd dating website, and I swear at least one of your colleagues is on it. I wouldn’t even be surprised if Nerd candy made a comeback. Blue tongues for everyone!

No longer confined to dusty basement computer labs and all-night LAN parties, one would imagine that the great 21st century nerd outage would result in all of us getting a little smarter when it comes to all things techy. Right? Wrong. Here are 10 things I’ve learned from having my very own live-in nerd. These may sound basic, but they’ve eliminated 90% of my tech problems over the past seven years.

  1. When there’s an update, do it. It sounds silly, but I used to think that those little updates…

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Data Scientist ~ Could this be your future or mine?

I know it has been awhile since I’ve posted anything new, and I do try to keep something for everyone to read while I’m away with work, and school.  I hope that you haven’t lost interest quite yet, and that you’ll stick around a bit longer.  After a mountain of homework that I finally tackled this weekend, and while perusing the internet as I so often do I came across an article about the next big career in IT… wait for it ~ Data Scientist.  After reading the article (I’ll post the article at the end of my post) I was amazed at how little I fathomed the amount of data that people use on a day-to-day basis.  This prompted me to do a bit more research on the subject, and what did I find exactly…  Well, tons and tons and tons of…yup you guessed it — DATA!!! (Data on data, how puzzling, but I digress)  Until recently I hadn’t even thought of where all of the data that I view, or use, or create goes or comes from.  It seems difficult to grasp a subject that you can’t actually grasp… let me elaborate.  While in school we read textbooks, take notes, do homework, make projects, all of which is a sort of data.  Now this “data” gets graded and turned back into us either at the end of class, quarter/semester, or year.  What do we do with this data?  Well in some cases this data gets thrown away some people tend to be collectors of data (we’ll call them hoarders), and while others keep only the important data and destroy the rest.  Now imagine the mass quantities of data that you plus everyone else creates while in high school, or college even, and expand that even further to businesses, non-profit organizations, the “Government”, and you can see that the amount of data storage that we require is astronomical…and it will only grow as we continue to create more data, and require more storage.  Different technology companies have responded by creating smaller and faster storage devices, and even the “Cloud”, which is in its simplest form is offsite data storage, all of these things help us to store the massive amounts of data that we create and use on a day-to-day basis.

RAMAC

First hard drive introduced by IBM in 1956 with 5MB of storage.

Currently consumer hard drives can go up to about 4TB (terabyte) which is about 4000GB of storage, and average about $399.00 in price from what I found on newegg.com.  Granted most companies require quite a bit more storage than your average user, and therefore there are much larger options for them as well.

Now back to the analogy from earlier about the amount of data you accumulate in school, if you consider that while in school you are in control of all of this data, and that the data is physical in nature and you figure out ways of storing, and using this data to your benefit.  This to me is what a Data Scientist would do with all of our data that we create and use on a daily basis now and in the future.  These questions…Where does all of that data go?  Where should it go?  How should it be stored?  How can it be indexed?  Is it searchable?  Will this data ever need to be accessed again?  Can this data be analyzed to produce better sales?  and the list goes on and on.  It definitely seems that there will be a need for Data Scientist’s and I suppose the only question now is…will you or I be one of them?

 

Happy computing 🙂

 

 

Interesting Articles:

http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2012/01/06/data-scientist-jobs/

http://www.pcworld.com/article/127105/timeline_50_years_of_hard_drives.html

Ampush Media Acquires One Of Bill Gates’ Favorite Education Startups, Academic Earth

This looks like it will be a great resource for anyone out there that wants to learn something new without spending money on tuition and you can do it from the comfort of your own home.

SixthSense: Get the open-source code

This is just simply amazing!!! I hope everyone takes the time to watch the video.

TED Blog

Two years ago, inventor Pranav Mistry demoed the SixthSense technology on the TED stage — and talked about open-sourcing the software behind it. SixthSense is a wearable interface that enables interaction between digital information and the physical world through hand gestures. (Watch his TEDTalk to see how it works.)

As promised, Pranav and his team have open-sourced the code for anyone to use and contribute at www.code.google.com/p/sixthsense. Download the code and create your own SixthSense device, join a discussion group and augment the codebase.

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A Geek Peek at 2012

I thought this was a great article.  Looks like some awesome stuff to look forward to.   A Geek Peek at 2012.