Sep 16, 2009

Programming, Networking Free Video Lectures and Other Interesting Ones

OSS Speaker Series: Python for Programmer
Python is a popular very-high-level programming language, with a clean and spare syntax, simple and regular semantics, a large standard library and a wealth of third-party extensions, libraries and tools. With several production-quality open-source implementations available, many excellent books, and growing acceptance in both industry and academia, Python can play some useful role within a huge variety of software development projects.

Moreover, Python is really easy to learn, particularly (though not exclusively) for programmers who are skilled at such languages as Java, C++ and C. This talk addresses software developers who are experienced in other languages but have had limited or no exposure to Python yet, and offers a rapid overview of the main characteristics of the language, plus a brief synopsis of its main implementations, its standard library, and third-party extension packages.

Python 3000

The next major version of Python, nicknamed Python 3000 (or more prosaically Python 3.0), has been anticipated for a long time. For years the author of Python has been collecting and exploring ideas that were too radical for Python 2.x, and it's time to stop dreaming and start coding. In this talk he will present the community process that will be used to complete the specification for Python 3000, as well as some of the major changes to the language and the remaining challenges.

Practical Common Lisp

In the late 1920's linguists Edward Sapir and Benjamin Whorf hypothesized that the thoughts we can think are largely determined by the language we speak. In his essay "Beating the Averages" Paul Graham echoed this notion and invented a hypothetical language, Blub, to explain why it is so hard for programmers to appreciate programming language features that aren't present in their own favorite language. Does the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis hold for computer languages? Can you be a great software architect if you only speak Blub? Doesn't Turing equivalence imply that language choice is just another implementation detail? Yes, no, and no says Peter Seibel, language lawyer (admitted, at various times, to the Perl, Java, and Common Lisp bars) and author of the award-winning book Practical Common Lisp. In his talk, Peter will discuss how our choices of programming language influences and shapes our pattern languages and the architectures we can, or are likely to, invent. He will also discuss whether it's sufficient to merely broaden your horizons by learning different programming languages or whether you must actually use them.

Debugging Backwards in Time

What if a debugger could allow you to simply step BACKWARDS? Instead of all that hassle with guessing where to put breakpoints and the fear of typing "continue" one too many times... What if you could simply go backwards to see what went wrong?

This is the essence of the "Omniscient Debugger" -- it remembers everything that happened during the run of a program, and allows the programmer to "step backwards in time" to see what happened at any point of the program. All variable values, all objects, all method calls, all exceptions are recorded and the programmer can now look at anything that happened at any time.

Learning to Analyze Sequences

Sequential data - speech, text, genomic sequences - floods our storage servers. Much useful information in these data is carried by implicit structure: phonemes and prosody in speech, syntactic structure in text, genes and regulatory elements in genomic sequences. Over the last six years, several of us have been investigating structured linear models, a unified discriminative learning approach to sequence analysis problems. The lecturer will review the approach and illustrate it with applications to information extraction and gene finding. Then he will conclude with a summary of other applications and current research questions.

The XHTML video Element Tag

Video is becoming increasingly important content type, and it's time to make video a first-class citizen on the web. The element is, along with JavaScript bindings, proposed as a simple solution to encourage browsers to support video natively. Equally important is the choice of video format to be used with. The lecturer will argue that the success of the web is based on using open standards, and that video should be no exception. He will then demo Opera showing Ogg Theora video clips natively.
A demonstration is available here:

Pipes: A Tool For Remixing the Web

Pipes is a service platform for processing well-structured data such as RSS, Atom and RDF feeds in a Web-based visual programming environment. Developers can use Pipes to combine data sources and user input into mashups without having to write code. These mashups, analogous in some ways to Unix pipes, can power badges on personal publishing sites, provide core functionality for Web applications, or serve as reusable components within the Pipes platform itself.

Here's what Tim O'Reilly says about pipes: "Yahoo!'s new Pipes service is a milestone in the history of the internet. It's a service that generalizes the idea of the mashup, providing a drag and drop editor that allows you to connect internet data sources, process them, and redirect the output."

You can play with Yahoo! Pipes here: Yahoo! Pipes

BGP (Border Gateway Protocol) at 18: Lessons in Protocol Design

18th anniversary of BGP. In this talk we examine the evolution of BGP over these 18 years, and look at the lessons we could learn from this.

Dr. Yakov Rekhter joined Juniper Networks in Dec 2000, where he is a Distinguished Engineer. Prior to joining Juniper, Yakov worked at Cisco Systems, where he was a Cisco Fellow. Prior to joining Cisco in 1995, he worked at IBM T.J. Watson Research Center.

Yakov Rekhter was one of the leading architects and a major software developer of the NSFNET Backbone Phase II. He co-designed the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP). He was also one of the lead designers of Tag Switching, BGP/MPLS based VPNs, and MPLS Traffic Engineering. Among his most recent activities is the work on Generalized Multi-Protocol Label Switching (GMPLS). His other contributions to contemporary Internet technology include: Classless Inter-Domain Routing (CIDR) and IP address allocation for private Internets.

He is the author or co-author of over 40 IETF RFCs, and numerous papers and articles on TCP/IP and the Internet. His recent books include: "MPLS: Technology and Applications" (Morgan Kauffman, 2000) and "Switching in IP Networks: IP Switching, Tag Switching and Related Technologies" (Morgan Kauffman, 1998).

A New Way to Look at Networking

Today's research community congratulates itself for the success of the internet and passionately argues whether circuits or datagrams are the One True Way. Meanwhile the list of unsolved problems grows.

Security, mobility, ubiquitous computing, wireless, autonomous sensors, content distribution, digital divide, third world infrastructure, etc., are all poorly served by what's available from either the research community or the marketplace. The lecturer will use various strained analogies and contrived examples to argue that network research is moribund because the only thing it knows how to do is fill in the details of a conversation between two applications. Today as in the 60s problems go unsolved due to our tunnel vision and not because of their intrinsic difficulty. And now, like then, simply changing our point of view may make many hard things easy.

Building Large Scale Systems at Google

Google deals with large amounts of data and millions of users. We'll take a behind-the-scenes look at some of the distributed systems and computing platform that power Google's various products, and make the products scalable and reliable.

Authors@Google: Steve Wozniak

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak discusses his new book iWoz as part of the Authors@Google speaker series. The book chronicles his experiences founding Apple and taking part in Silicon Valley's boom period.

Computer Versus Common Sense

It's way past 2001 now, where the heck is HAL? For several decades now we've had high hopes for computers amplifying our mental abilities not just giving us access to relevant stored information, but answering our complex, contextual questions.

Even applications like human-level unrestricted speech understanding continue to dangle close but just out of reach. What's been holding AI up? The short answer is that while computers make fine idiot savants, they lack common sense: the millions of pieces of general knowledge we all share, and fall back on as needed, to cope with the rough edges of the real world. The presenter will talk about how that situation is changing, finally, and what the timetable -- and the path -- realistically are on achieving Artificial Intelligence.

Dasher: Information Efficient Text Entry

Keyboards are inefficient for two reasons: they do not exploit the redundancy in normal language; and they waste the fine analogue capabilities of the user's motor system (fingers and eyes, for example). I describe a system intended to rectify both these inefficiencies. Dasher is a text-entry system in which a language model plays an integral role, and it's driven by continuous gestures. Users can achieve single-finger writing speeds of 35 words per minute and hands-free writing speeds of 25 words per minute. Dasher is free software, and it works in all languages, and on many platforms. Dasher is part of Debian, and there's even a little java version for your web-browser.
More on Dasher:

Winning The DARPA Grand Challenge

The DARPA Grand Challenge technical details explained by Sebastian Thrun's whose team won, and an introduction to the next phase called "The Urban Grand Challenge".

More on the DARPA Grand Challenge
Wikipedia link to DARPA Grand Challenge

The Google Story

Here is what the author of the book has to say about the lecture/talk:

Not since Gutenberg invented the modern printing press more than 500 years ago, making books and scientific tomes affordable and widely available to the masses, has any new invention empowered individuals or transformed access to information as profoundly as Google. I first became aware of this while covering Google as a beat reporter for The Washington Post. What galvanized my deep interest in the company was its unconventional initial public offering in August 2004 when the firm thumbed its nose at Wall Street by doing the first and only multi-billion dollar IPO using computers, rather than Wall Street bankers, to allocate its hot shares of stock.

A few months later, in the fall of 2004, I decided to write the first biography of Google, tracing its short history from the time founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page met at Stanford in 1995 until the present. In my view, this is the hottest business, media and technology success of our time, with a stock market value of $110 billion, more than the combined value of Disney, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal,, Ford and General Motors.

"The Search" (Google Search)

John Battelle, co-founding editor of Wired and founder of The Industry Standard visits the Google New York office to speak about his book The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture


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