Day 2 Reflection

Play. Everyone loves to play. Whether it is playing with your friends, your pets, or your video games,¬†everyone enjoys to play. It is fun, isn’t it? The fact that the founders of the Internet created some of its most distinct features from just “playing around” with the code astonishes me. Normally, when I think of inventing something new involving a computer or a Network, I think of hours and hours of arduous, planned work that might create an initially satisfactory solution, but a solution that undergo myriad changes until it is good enough to apply to the machine/network. Do I think of men just “playing around” and inventing e-mail, or the IMP language? What fascinated me from week 2’s reading and conversation was the fact that these computer scientists (the best in the world) that founded the Internet (initially the ARPANET) really had no idea what they were doing (Check the RFC 1!). These individuals were just going with the flow as they invented what I believe is one of the most powerful tools that humans have created. Just the freedom and this “Spirit of Play” that the founders of the Internet had when founding the Net is so fascinating to me. Additionally, this made me think of a few questions:

Would students and professors be more successful if they were given less structure?

Would the Internet be what it is today if the founders did not operate with this level of relative freedom?

****Another topic we covered in week 2’s discussion was the concept of flaming. I never had the chance to ask the professors, but what exactly is flaming?

Another thing that continues to fascinate me about the Internet and computers in the binary. In both this seminar and in CS50 I have learned that deep down in the machine code, computers only read 1’s and 0’s. If you were to tell any ordinary man on the street that had not studied computers, that computers basically just run on 1’s and 0’s I’m sure that they would not believe you. As I keep studying the Internet and computers, I always believe that we will stray away from this binary and dive into more complexities. But will we?

Do computers (with all their incredible functions) solely just work with 1’s and 0’s? If so, how does it do everything it does so fast just dealing with 2 numbers?

Thinking about these networks and computers made me think about the concept of simplicity. So often as human beings we get so worked up over a problem and overthink it. We always create complexities, which take our attention away from the simple answer. If only we as humans could think of our problems as simple as 1’s and 0’s (like computers), I believe we could solve many more problems way more efficiently. A question for readers:

Should humans think more like computers (which they created) to solve their problems? Would this help or hurt our problem solving ability?

I hope you enjoyed the 2nd edition of Hollenberg’s Thoughts. More to come.

1 Comment »

  1. Mike Smith

    September 18, 2016 @ 7:58 pm

    1

    Some great questions. I’ll address a couple of them. We can talk about the others in person, if you like.

    You ask about humans thinking more like computers, and we’ll deal with the other direction of this question in Week 6 when we discuss the intelligence singularity. You should ask during that seminar whether the others think that there’s something to the direction you raise.

    Digital computers perform all of their computation using binary values. It’s a fascinating topic (spoken by a hardware guy). Computer Science 141 will explain why computing with binary values is better than using multi-valued logic. It shows you how to build any number from a sequence of zeros and ones. Using these same ones and zeros, you can compute any function from one (yes, one) logic gate. And then through the use of abstraction, you can build the complexity you see in everyday life. Why do we stick with zeros and ones at the base of our digital computers? With the right circuitry, digital logic is restoring. This means noise in the wires and electronic devices doesn’t add up, but is eliminated. A weak or noisy logic-1 value into a digital logic gate comes out as a strong, noise-free logic-1 (assuming you were supposed to produce a 1) at the output.

    Finally, on your question about flaming, you might look at this wikipedia article:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flaming_(Internet)

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