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Questions tagged [computer-science]

For questions about the scientific approach to computations and its applications.

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Why was the 'differential entropy' from information theory so named?

The entropy of a distribution $p$ on a discrete set $\mathcal{X}$ is defined as $$H(p) = -\sum_{x \in \mathcal{X}} p_x \log p_x.$$ Shannon in his classic paper [1] defines the analogue for continuous ...
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134 views

Can we fairly assess Ada Lovelace's talent for mathematics?

Dorothy Stein, a biographer of Ada Lovelace, was pretty blunt in her assessment: Lovelace was a mediocre mathematician, for example see here. I wonder if she's fair to her. The fact that Lovelace ...
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63 views

In left- or right-rotation for arrays, where did those conventions for the directions come from?

This is a repost from another exchange. I was going to write a paper about code to rotate elements in an array, but I realized I have no idea why rotation towards the start of the array is “left” ...
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1answer
154 views

What technologies were used before JavaScript?

I made a small research about the history before JavaScript was available to use, but I couldn't find much. I only found several plugins that was used, such as Adobe Flash, ActiveX. So, what I want ...
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196 views

Why didn't John von Neumann win the Turing Award, Fields Medal or Nobel Prize?

From what I've read in Wikipedia, John von Neumann made a stupendous number of contributions to economics, computer science and mathematics. Why, then, didn't he receive a top award in any of these ...
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46 views

Where is the first reference to the “Z combinator”, a call-by-value fix-point combinator?

I'd like to know the earliest reference to the Z-combinator. This could be either where the name was first coined, or even the first discussion of a need for an applicative-order Y combinator. I didn'...
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36 views

Frege alluded to a logic algorithm?

Somewhere (I wish I remember where) I read that Gottlob Frege, although he didn't invent a logic algorithm, alluded to one (the Quine–McCluskey algorithm? something else? converting truth tables to ...
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43 views

When was the first appearance of the abbreviation RSA?

When was the first publication of the abbreviation RSA (Rivest, Sharmir, Adleman) because it does not appear in Martin Gardner’s article of 1977 which is at the following url: https://simson.net/ref/...
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370 views

Did amateurs ever produce important proofs or similar?

Background Mathematics and some areas of physics and computer science have the peculiar appeal that some problems and results are easy to understand and it is conceivable that somebody armed with ...
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139 views

Was there an intentional purge of all audio recordings of Alan Turing?

The YouTube video Alan Turing's lost radio broadcast rerecorded contains a re-enactment of Alan Turing's lecture broadcast by the BBC. In the introduction, the narrator (James Grimes, also of the ...
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44 views

When was the Server Side Include feature of web servers first made available?

Server Side Include (SSI) is a specific concept and related feature of web servers. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Server_Side_Includes When was this feature first introduced? The Wikipedia ...
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193 views

Who first invented the programmable digital computer?

I read Charles Babbage invented the first mechanical computer (the Analytic Engine) and that Ada Lovelace devised the first computer programs. Also I realize John Von Neumann invented the first ...
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62 views

Gentzen and computer science

This is a cross-post from mathstack: https://math.stackexchange.com/questions/2584003/gentzen-and-computer-science?noredirect=1#comment5333947_2584003 I would like to learn a bit about the ...
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27 views

How was the “train on 70% of data” convention established?

It's common in machine learning to train on 70% of non-validation data, testing on the remaining 30%. I'm not sure whether the motive for this is theoretical or "empirically this works well", although ...
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70 views

Why is $\eta$ used in $\eta$-conversion?

In lambda calculus there are three types of reduction, $\alpha$-renaming $\beta$-reduction $\eta$-conversion The use of $\eta$ in $\eta$-conversion seems rather strange to me. Since they already ...
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87 views

Who coined the term “machine learning”?

A lot of sources attribute the definition to Arthur Samuel (1959), "the field of study that gives computers the ability to learn without being explicitly programmed", but none of these sources ...
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43 views

Tri-nary processor?

Every now and then, I run across a rumor of the Soviets building a tri-nary processor, way back when. But I can never find a source beyond the infamous guy who knows a guy... The idea is interesting,...
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63 views

Etymology of 'qubit'; is there any relation to cubits?

Whilst several not-very-authoritative sources e.g. Wikipedia state that the word qubit was derived, partially, as a play on the word cubit (obviously it also stands for 'quantum bit'), is there any ...
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128 views

Entscheidungsproblem vs. Unvollständigkeitssatz

The first term is used by Hilbert in his 1928 work, but in Gödel's later work, the same thing is referred to as Unvollständigkeitssatz ("incompleteness theorem"). For today's German CS researchers, it ...
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100 views

What did Tim-Berners Lee mean with “HTTP also allows index search” in his paper “World wide web: The Information Univesrse”?

For my work on the history of hypertext systems and the WWW I cam across one sentence on the development of HTTP which I don't understand and where I could not find any information about: Page 55: (...
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52 views

Grey Walter and Norbert Wiener Regarding Holism

Grey Walter writes: ``Even in the very simplest system, with two active elements, multiple interconnection between elements give several modes for which simple observation is useless. The study of ...
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80 views

What is the relationship between constructivism and object oriented programming?

I am exploring the topic of constructivism from discreet math, and think it is related to object oriented programming. Can anyone confirm or deny the two are related?
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563 views

Did Albert Einstein write a computer program?

I am curious whether or not Albert Einstein wrote a computer program. Did he write a computer program?
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80 views

Was the Vigenère cipher broken many years before Kasiski?

The Vigenère cipher was broken by Kasiski in 1863 but I read novels and romans from older time, for example during the French Revolution where a student broke Vigenère cipher. Is it likely that ...
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159 views

history of backpropagation

Has anybody read or have access to Alex Andrew Significance Feedback in Neural Nets Report of Biological Computer Laboratory, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL GM-10718-03 TR No 5 September ...
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254 views

Did Turing know of Babbage's work?

Did Turing have any knowledge of Babbage's work? Is it known if he ever mentioned Babbage?
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465 views

Serendipitous discoveries in Mathematics and Computer Science

I have recently been reading about serendipitous discoveries in science and I found them quite inspiring. Most of those discoveries are in Chemistry. I'm looking for examples of these kinds of ...
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2answers
252 views

Who said “Either you speak maths or you speak nonsense?”

I am in the process of preparing a lecture and remember that some of the Gods (highly esteemed researchers of the past) said, “Either you speak maths or you speak nonsense.” Perhaps is was “Either you ...
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1answer
381 views

Who developed Gaussian Mixture Model (GMM) and applied it to machine learning?

I searched about GMM (Gaussian mixture model), but only found that normal distribution was invented by Carl Friedrich Gauss. I'd like to know who contributed to the development of GMM itself, and to ...
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2answers
115 views

What was the first programming language that implemented hash maps / dictionaries as a base type?

I'm having a discussion elsewhere about this. I suspect that it was Perl, with the hash maps, but that is because I don't know much about older languages rather than any exhaustive research on the ...
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94 views

What did Dijkstra think about Monte Carlo algorithms?

In A Discipline of Programming, Dijkstra wrote: Two circumstances have changed the scene since then.* The one is the insight that, even in the case of fully deterministic machines, program testing ...
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86 views

How many computers are there?

There are about 7.13 billion humans alive today. When installing Java, it says that 3 billion devices run Java. The question is, out of how many? How many computing devices that have enough ...
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124 views

Where did the divide and conquer method for radix conversion come from?

While doing the tedious work of documenting my software I tried to find the original source of the divide and conquer method for the conversion of numbers of one base to a number in another base (...
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587 views

The origin of logic gate symbols

Who first proposed the distinctive shapes and the rectangular shape labels? What is the consideration behind the shapes and the labels?
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475 views

Why is the Halting problem attributed to Alan Turing?

The halting problem is a very famous example from computability theory of a problem that is undecidable. It is often said that the proof of its undecidability was given by Alan Turing, indeed ...
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1answer
88 views

History of computing/computation in higher education

A Google search for the first academic computer science program a couple of years ago cited a half-dozen programs in France and England that were considered proto-computer science. Current searches ...
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2answers
394 views

Was the computer invented through the influence of the printing press or through the influence of the calculator?

I was going through the documentation of the manual page in the Linux Operating System, when, I encountered the term "typesetting". I surfed the web for answers and found it in Wikipedia. But I am ...
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1answer
2k views

When was the first command-line interface developed?

I want to know what the first command-line interface was, and when it was. That is, the first time one could type in a command on a keyboard or similar, and receive feedback via a screen or ...
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2answers
702 views

What happened to analog computers?

When was the last analog computer developed? What about one that is still in use (as in computation or experiment)? Were there major improvement done from the day digital computers became so popular?
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427 views

Is anything known about part II of John McCarthy's Recursive Functions of Symbolic Expressions and Their Computation by Machine Part II?

I know that Part I was published while John McCarthy was working at MIT in 1960, in which he describes the LISP language, which he had invented 2 years prior, and is today considered one of the most ...
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What is the first historical reference to the binary search algorithm?

Most of you know what I mean, but I will define it broadly: the binary search algorithm consists in searching iteratively for an element within an ordered set, by asking yes/no questions that will ...
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1answer
106 views

Who created Agile programming and why?

I semi-recently went to work for a workplace that employs Agile development instead of Waterfall. I have my own reasons for appreciating it, but who was the original creator of Agile? What problems ...
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1answer
273 views

Who created the first vacuum tube?

As far as I know, light bulbs existed early in the late 19th century, and the vacuum tube was created based on their design. But I haven't found any information about who came up with the idea to ...
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1answer
165 views

Did Turing ideas make any impact on Psychology or Brain Science? Why?

Some authors, namely Daniel Dennett and Douglas Hofstadter, argue that anything capable of passing the Turing test is necessarily conscious (Hofstadter, D. R., & Dennett, D. C. (2006). The Mind's ...
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1answer
266 views

How certain is it that Lucas invented the Towers of Hanoi puzzle?

Wikipedia is unequivocal: The puzzle was invented by the French mathematician Édouard Lucas in 1883. I have no reason to doubt this, but given the many legends surrounding the topic, I wonder if ...
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2answers
267 views

What mathematician or scientist has published the most peer-reviewed articles on chess problems?

This question involves not only those provided by the link, but also those "chess-related" mathematics and computer science problems which are not included in the link. Who has published the most ...
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1answer
2k views

Was object oriented programming influenced by the mathematical category theory?

Object oriented programming (OOP) is a programming model where code and data are encapsulated into units called objects that behave semi-autonomously. Interaction between objects is arranged through ...
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2answers
316 views

What's the etymology of an engineering/software bug?

I read the Wikipedia page on Software bugs. It does have a section on its etymology. Albeit interesting it doesn't answer my question but merely notes that the term bug was used in 1878: Use of the ...
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109 views

Did Walter Pitts refuse to allow his name to be made publicly available?

I read on the Wikipedia page on Walter Pitts that : Pitts was also described as an eccentric, refusing to allow his name to be made publicly available. He refused all offers of advanced ...
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3answers
1k views

Why did Norbert Wiener break off relations with Walter Pitts?

I read on the Wikipedia page on Walter Pitts that Norbert Wiener broke off relations with Walter Pitts, which "sent Walter Pitts into 'cognitive suicide'". Why did Norbert Wiener break off relations ...