What I’ve been reading this week: Low level links, Legos for adults and a free AI course by Peter Norvig.

Lot’s of low level this week

For some reason this was the week of low level programming. I came across a great article titled The Demise of the Low Level Programmer on #AltDevBlogADay, a graphics and gaming heavy blog. At the end of the article there is a veritable goldmine of links to articles on low level programming issues that is useful reading (or re-reading) for any programmer.

I took a detour into some articles ruminating about floating point arithmetic.  On John D. Cook’s blogNumbers are a Leaky Abstraction and Anatomy of a Floating Point Number are two interesting posts that deal with the various gotchas about working with floating point numbers.

In an unrelated post, Ars Technica’s Opposable Thumbs blog came out with this story about building better game console emulators. Oddly enough it requires 3GHz of computing power to emulate a 25MHz SNES. Why? Lot’s of low level caveats! This article did a good job of uncovering a host of issues that crop up when emulating console hardware. Good read!

On AI and Robotics

Microsoft is coming out with Legos for adults . This is billed as a rapid prototyping kit for electronic enthusiasts. You get access to hardware components like touch screens, Ethernet ports, USB ports, LEDs, cameras and the like, which can all be plugged together, no soldering required. I’ve been interested in starting a hardware project lately (because I’m very much a non-hardware kind of a guy!) and this may be a convenient starting point.

Also this week Sebastian Thrun and Peter Norvig at Standford University have begun accepting online enrollment to their free online artificial intelligence course. The course will be a standard first year graduate school intro into AI, machine learning and applications towards robotics, computer vision and natural language processing.

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