Four short links: 5 December 2017

Analog Computing, Program Synthesis, Midwestern Investment, and Speed Email

By Nat Torkington
December 5, 2017
  1. A New Analog Computer (IEEE) — Digital programming made it possible to connect the input of a given analog block to the output of another one, creating a system governed by the equation that had to be solved. No clock was used: voltages and currents evolved continuously rather than in discrete time steps. This computer could solve complex differential equations of one independent variable with an accuracy that was within a few percent of the correct solution.
  2. BarlimanBarliman is a prototype “smart editor” that performs real-time program synthesis to try to make the programmer’s life a little easier. Barliman has several unusual features: given a set of tests for some function foo, Barliman tries to “guess” how to fill in a partially specified definition of foo to make all of the tests pass; given a set of tests for some function foo, Barliman tries to prove that a partially specified definition of foo is inconsistent with one or more of the tests; given a fully or mostly specified definition of some function foo, Barliman will attempt to prove that a partially specified test is consistent with, or inconsistent with, the definition of foo.
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  4. Investing in the Midwest (NYT) — Steve Case closes a fund backed by every tech billionaire you’ve heard of, for investing in midwestern businesses. Mr. Schmidt of Alphabet said he was sold on the idea from the moment he first heard about it. “I felt it was a no-brainer,” he said. “There is a large selection of relatively undervalued businesses in the heartland between the coasts, some of which can scale quickly.”
  5. Email Like a CEO — see also How to Write Email with Military Precision. (via Hacker News)
Post topics: Four Short Links