November 28, 2005

Playing at the edge of AI

"Blondie24 tells the story of a computer that taught itself to play checkers far better than its creators ever could by using a program that emulated the basic principles of Darwinian evolution--random variation and natural selection-- to discover on its own how to excel at the game."
-from the back cover of the book

Thanks to Hollywood movies, I need not tell you what is Artificial Intelligence other than that it is a simple thought that what if you can teach intelligence to machines (Thinking Machines!). Some people argue that Artificial Intelligence is a paradox (oxymoron?) whereas others still dream of creating a 'Digital Einstein' - who (or which?) can really 'think' and discover new wisdom!

'Blondie24:Playing at the edge of AI' written by Chief Scientist, David Fogel, Ph.D is a good book which deals with a bottom-up approach application of AI. He argues that the famous 'Deep Blue', IBM computer which beat Grandmaster Gary Kasparov had no real intelligence embedded in it. The super computer 'Deep Blue' was created with a great collection of successful moves (there were over 4000 positions and 700000 grandmaster games including strategies from Gary Kasparov himself!), extra-ordinary processing speed (capable of evaluating 200,000,000 positions per second) just to defeat one person in the game. Well, after providing extensive cheat-sheets, Deep Blue lost its firs meet. Gary won by 4-2. After doing some homework, the IBM team managed to beat him again in 1997.

Well, what a real intelligent machine do, then. Like a child, learn a game on its own, beat a human grandmaster. David Fogel and Chellapillai Kumar (Yes, an Indian computer scientist) used 'Evolutionary Algorithms' and initiated a computer program to learn Checkers game. It works like a natural process of evolution (survival of fittest), where 'best survives' - offsprings which play well are taken and crossed to give birth to better players. This goes on and on ..till we get a best algorithm which can beat a human being.

I completely agree with the fact that "future of artificial intelligence lies . . . in programs that can automatically improve themselves over time--without the bias of human knowledge". This unbiased nature is very essential in exploring the space for life or finding a medicine for diseases (Sometimes, we human being always use our 'prejudice' and 'common sense' to delimit important facts).

Fascinating read!

If you want a detailed review, find here.

November 26, 2005

Google:Looking Closer

Google Week – Few weeks ago, I compiled a bunch of articles on Google. In case, if you had missed, here are they!               

Once upon a time – How did the 'G' story start?

The Search is On – Two students came together to create a search!         

Google Trivia! – Some interesting one-liners about Google                      

Did Google founders see a future? – Did they foresee?       

10 Lessons from Google! – What philosophies drive Google?       

Google: Faster & Richer – A current look at their economy.      

They said, what? – Competition speaks

Talks from Google – What they say from inside?          

Google Glossary – Do you know what is a 'Google Whack'?       

Things we didn't know about Google – Little known things about Google          

Who is next Google? – Who is going to be the next search giant?

How to kill Google? – Well, assuming they are going to be an industry, can anybody beat Google in their own game?

Compiled from Wired Magazine, CNN, Google and other news magazines.

November 24, 2005

Amul Butter Girl

When the Bruce-Lee film `Enter the Dragon' was released. Year 1976-77

Call her the Friday to Friday star. Round eyed, chubby cheeked, winking at you, from strategically placed hoardings at many traffic lights. She is the Amul moppet everyone loves to love (including prickly votaries of the Shiv Sena and BJP). How often have we stopped, looked, chuckled at the Amul hoarding that casts her sometime as the coy, shy Madhuri, a bold sensuous Urmila or simply as herself, dressed in her little polka dotted dress and a red and white bow, holding out her favourite packet of butter.

Explosive growth of Internet start-ups - April 2000

For 30 odd years the Utterly Butterly girl has managed to keep her fan following intact. So much so that the ads are now ready to enter the Guinness Book of World Records for being the longest running campaign ever. The ultimate compliment to the butter came when a British company launched a butter and called it Utterly Butterly, last year.

 leading bollywood star likely to be selected for the next Bond film - April 2003

It all began in 1966 when Sylvester daCunha, then the managing director of the advertising agency, ASP, clinched the account for Amul butter. The butter, which had been launched in 1945, had a staid, boring image, primarily because the earlier advertising agency which was in charge of the account preferred to stick to routine, corporate ads.

India's historic Cricket Test Match victory against mighty Australia at Adelaide - December '03
In India, food was something one couldn't afford to fool around with. It had been taken too seriously, for too long. Sylvester daCunha decided it was time for a change of image. The year Sylvester daCunha took over the account, the country saw the birth of a campaign whose charm has endured fickle public opinion, gimmickry and all else.

Sachin Tendulkar marks his return to international cricket with a sparkling knock - October'05

The Amul girl who lends herself so completely to Amul butter, created as a rival to the Polson butter girl. This one was sexy, village belle, clothed in a tantalising choli all but covering her upper regions. "Eustace Fernandez (the art director) and I decided that we needed a girl who would worm her way into a housewife's heart. And who better than a little girl?" says Sylvester daCunha. And so it came about that the famous Amul Moppet was born.

By the way, Happy Thanksgiving!

Amul Topicals:

November 16, 2005

Want to read your Favourite Blogs?

Like you, I also read most of the blogs from MSN Spaces, Blogger or Typepad.

It's often difficult to read by visiting my blogs regularly.

Google Reader simplifies this task of reading your favourite blogs.

Go to Google Reader and login using a Gmail account's Username and Password.

For example, to read my postings, all you need to do is to add the feed to your Google Reader using 'Add Subscription'.

That's it, you will receive full text and notifications whenever I post new things to my Space.

And also, you can use 'Search for new Content' to find feeds on any topic.


November 15, 2005

Bollywood Dreams

I watched this video Bollywood Dreams by Jonathan at

Using a unique style of telling stories with photogaphs, photographic storytelling, the photographer wonders the obsession of people to watch movies and movie-stars.

Watch it yourself!

November 10, 2005

Google brings its Maps to Mobile!

Combining directions, maps, and satellite imagery, Google Local for mobile is a free download that lets you find local hangouts and businesses across town or across the country — right from your phone.

Detailed directions: Whether you plan to walk or drive, your route is displayed on the map itself, together with step-by-step directions.

Integrated search results: Local business locations and contact information appear all in one place, integrated on your map.

Easily movable maps: Interactive, draggable maps let you zoom in or out, and move in all directions so you can orient yourself visually.

Satellite imagery: Get a bird's eye view of your desired location.

November 5, 2005

Memento - Exceptional!

Image Courtesy:

"A man, suffering from short-term memory loss, uses notes and tattoos to hunt down his wife's killer." - this plot line is from IMDB (

A brilliant screenplay starts with killing of the villain (by hero Leonard) in a shabby place (climax!) traces back the reasons behind the killing. The story is narrated in two-fold by the hero Leonard Shelby.

The director presents a challanging experience for viewers to decipher the stroyline.

Some of the quotes I liked n the movie

"Memory can change the shape of a room; it can change the color of a car. And memories can be distorted. They're just an interpretation, they're not a record, and they're irrelevant if you have the facts." - Leonard

"I have to believe in a world outside my own mind. I have to believe that my actions still have meaning, even if I can't remember them. I have to believe that when my eyes are closed, the world's still there. Do I believe the world's still there? Is it still out there?... Yeah. We all need mirrors to remind ourselves who we are. I'm no different. " - Leonard

"I don't even know how long she's been gone. It's like I've woken up in bed and she's not here... because she's gone to the bathroom or something. But somehow, I know she's never gonna come back to bed. If I could just... reach over and touch... her side of the bed, I would know that it was cold, but I can't. I know I can't have her back... but I don't want to wake up in the morning, thinking she's still here. I lie here not knowing... how long I've been alone. So how... how can I heal? How am I supposed to heal if I can't... feel time? " - Leonard

"The world doesn't just disappear when you close your eyes, does it?" - Leonard

"When I looked into his eyes I thought I saw recognition. Now I know. You fake it. If you think you're supposed to recognize somebody you, you just pretend. You bluff it to get a pat on the head from the doctors. You bluff it to seem less like a freak. " - Leonard

"So you lie to yourself to be happy. There's nothing wrong with that. We all do it. " - Teddy (Villain)

And a few words about the Tamil film Gajini which is inpired from this. Obviously, director AR Murugadoss cannot possible remake this film scene-by-scene. So, he took only two things from the original 'Short-term memory loss' and 'vengeance to kill the person who killed the hero's partner'.

It would've been interesting if the villian had played a role of close friend of the hero (who constantly misdirects the hero) as in Memento. Gajini is an usual run-of-the-mill, 1980's tamil revenge film!

November 3, 2005


"Study and in general the pursuit
of truth and beauty is a sphere of
activity in which we are permitted
to remain children all our lives."
-Albert Einstein

November 1, 2005

How to kill Google?

Even the biggest party has to end one day! Here’s how to topple Google in their own game. This article draws inspiration from wired magazine special edition ‘Googlemania’ published during it’s first IPO season. Also, lately I came across some research papers on the pitfalls in Search Giant’s approach.

#1. Build a search engine which can crawl every webpage ever created on this planet.

Google or any other search engine as a matter of fact, still scratching the surface of the web and about 80% of the deep web remains unexplored. Some estimates say that the deep web (invisible from any search engine) is 550 times greater than the normal web space.

Google has 3 billion pages in its database, with AlltheWeb and Inktomi close behind. But there may be a trillion more pages hiding in plain sight - in online databases such as WebMD and The New York Times' archive, and they can't be reached by hopping from one link to another”

#2. Can you index and save a history of every webpage modifications.

“Google lets you search only its most recently crawled version of the Web. Pages that were changed or deleted prior to the last crawl are lost forever. What if you could search every version of every page ever posted?”

#3. Following, Aggregating RSS feeds

News sites and blogs are supplementing their pages with RSS feeds - a service that pushes new content to subscribers as soon as it's published. Google doesn't track RSS feeds, and bloggers gripe that their posts take two to three days to show up in search results. An engine to which Web site owners could upload RSS would provide the latest version of every page.”

#4. What about knowledge mining?

Yes, Google returns the search results in milliseconds or lesser fraction of time. So, what. Still, I need to spend 30 minutes of time in Google to gather the information what I need. So, the information has to be aggregated from various sources to present ‘information related to a context’. Something similar to Yahoo Mindset – the beta search where you can adjust between ‘Shopping’ and ‘Researching’. If I type, “Biography of Gandhi”, the search companion should return extracts (authentic) from various webpages.

#5. Google is not so good.

At google, rich becomes richer. That is, the web pages resulting in top of the results page get linked again by many, promoting them further. Google’s ‘backlink algorithm’ is already flawed and bombed by hackers. It’s time to move on to a better Expert algorithm. We need to build an alogorithm which resembles an expert researcher who sieves through millions of junks to return golden nuggets of information and knowledge.

It’s not this easy. You need to build a complete, fast, free, search companion suiting each and everyone’s needs. More importantly, you should do it quickly!

The End