Friday, December 25, 2009

Do Computers Understand Art?

ScienceDaily (Dec. 25, 2009) — A team of researchers has shown that some mathematical algorithms provide clues about the artistic style of a painting. The composition of colours or certain aesthetic measurements can already be quantified by a computer, but machines are still far from being able to interpret art in the way that people do.

How does one place an artwork in a particular artistic period?

The researchers have shown that certain artificial vision algorithms mean a computer can be programmed to "understand" an image and differentiate between artistic styles based on low-level pictorial information. Human classification strategies, however, include medium and high-level concepts.

Read more....

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Are Computers Blinding Our Perception?

...Computers have become an extension of us: that is a commonplace now. But in an important way we may be becoming an extension of them, in turn. Computers are digital — that is, they turn everything into numbers; that is their way of seeing. And in the computer age we may be living through the digitization of our minds, even when they are offline: a slow-burning quantification of human affairs that promises or threatens, depending on your outlook, to crowd out other categories of the imagination, other ways of perceiving.

Welcome to the Age of Metrics — or to the End of Instinct. Metrics are everywhere. It is increasingly with them that we decide what to read, what stocks to buy, which poor people to feed, which athletes to recruit, which films and restaurants to try. World Metrics Day was declared for the first time this year.

The once-mysterious formation of tastes is becoming a quantitative science, as services like Netflix and Pandora and StumbleUpon deploy algorithms to predict, and shape, what we like to watch, listen to and read.

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Math Goes Viral in the Classroom With
the West Nile Virus

ScienceDaily (Dec. 11, 2009) — At least a dozen Alberta high-school calculus classrooms were exposed to the West Nile virus recently.

Luckily, however, it wasn't literally the illness. University of Alberta education professor Stephen Norris and mathematics professor Gerda de Vries used the virus as a theoretical tool when they designed materials for use in an advanced high-school math course. The materials allow students to use mathematical concepts learned in their curriculum to determine the disease's reproductive number, which determines the likelihood of a disease spreading.

"This piece was designed to satisfy an optional unit in Math 31 (Calculus), for which there are no materials, so we said, 'let's fill the gap,'" said Norris. "These materials show a real application of mathematics in the biology curriculum for high-school students."

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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Are Our Brains Constantly Making Subconscious Calculations?

Our brain is wired to perform calculations that let us judge how far away an object is when we walk or jump around or reach for a container of milk. Although this task may seem easy, it turns out that calculating depth is surprisingly complex.

When we look at an object, our eyes project the three-dimensional structure onto a two-dimensional retina. To see the three dimensions, our brain must reconstruct the three-dimensional world from our two-dimensional retinal images. We have learned to judge depth using a variety of visual cues, some involving just one eye (monocular vision) and others involving both eyes (binocular vision).

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Corresponding Article!

Computers Based on Brains?

Your brain is doing some amazing calculations as you read these words. Not only are your recognising the letters, the upright and top cross of the 'T', but you are also understanding what they mean. Imagine if you could build a computer with the same kinds of skills? Computer Scientists are looking at how our brains work to build better machines. One area where people are far better than current technology is in seeing. Around half your brain is estimated to be involved in processing some type of information from your eyes.

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Sunday, December 6, 2009

Baby brains are hard-wired for math

Experiment indicates that infants recognize apparent errors in subtraction.

Next time someone complains about arithmetic being hard, math lovers can defend themselves by saying "even a 6-month-old can do it."

Through monitoring the brains of infants, researchers confirmed that infants as early as 6 months in age can detect mathematical errors, putting to rest a debate that has gone on for over a decade.

A team of scientists from the United States and Israel exposed 24 infants to a videotaped puppet show. They used the puppets for addition and subtraction while observing the reaction of the babies.

For example, they started the show with two dolls. Before the show ended, a doll was removed and then the infant's vision was blocked with a screen. When the screen was taken away, either one doll was left, as expected, or two dolls, which would not be mathematically correct.

The infants looked at the screen longer (8.04 seconds) when the number of dolls was two, which did not agree with the solution of 2 – 1 = 1.

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The 7 Wonders Of The Ancient World: Mathmatician's Idea?

The man who created the idea to have 7 wonders of the world was the Byzantine Mathematician Philon. When not creating amazingly complicated math formulas, he would travel the lands in search for monuments of beauty. He traveled nearly, all the lands that were known at that time. He wrote on a piece of paper “De Septem Orbis Spectaculis”(the seven wonders of the world). Here were his seven. This was around 150 years before the birth of Christ.

Read all 7 here....

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