California Governor Signs Bill Allowing College Athletes to Earn Money
The Shaw Family Admission Plan
Mostly about buying college admissions through donations, but also how he runs his house.
> The 68-year-old Shaw made his estimated $7.3 billion fortune by bringing the computing revolution to finance. D.E. Shaw & Co., the legendary hedge fund that bears his name, pairs proprietary trading algorithms with obsessive risk management. Less well publicized, however, are the various ways in which Shaw has applied his fund’s risk-averse, quantitative approach to nearly every aspect of his life. Employees tell stories about Shaw wanting Chinese food or a comfortable mattress, and Shaw staff exhaustively researching and testing the options in advance. It was company lore that before Shaw traveled, an assistant would take the exact same trip — same car service, same airport, same seat on the plane — to eliminate any inefficiencies. Shaw has been said to purchase tickets for several different flights on the same day in case his plans change.
Where Theory Meets Chalk, Dust Flies
> A photo survey of the blackboards of mathematicians.
> For the last year, Jessica Wynne, a photographer and professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, has been photographing mathematicians’ blackboards, finding art in the swirling gangs of symbols sketched in the heat of imagination, argument and speculation. “Do Not Erase,” a collection of these images, will be published by Princeton University Press in the fall of 2020.
On studying mathematics
> I understand that most of us do not have a good experience when studying mathematics in high school or college. I assure you that this is a common problem, not only in Vietnam, but all over the world. Mathematics is taught and learned mechanically, without joy. But don’t worry, and please be optimistic, school is not the only place we can learn. I have never had a college degree, and if I can study math, anyone can learn it. The only thing we need is an open mind, daring to try new things, the rest can be left to math!
Algorithms by Jeff Erickson
> This web page contains a free electronic version of my (soon to be) self-published textbook Algorithms, along with other lecture notes I have written for various theoretical computer science classes at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign since 1998.
> 0th edition (prepublication draft), December 2018
Real World Crypto 2019
> January 9-11, 2019
> San Jose Marriott, San Jose, USA
Static Program Analysis
> These notes present principles and applications of static analysis of programs. We cover basic type analysis, lattice theory, control flow graphs, dataflow analysis, fixed-point algorithms, widening and narrowing, path sensitivity, relational analysis, interprocedural analysis, context sensitivity, control-flow analysis, several flavors of pointer analysis, and key concepts of semantics-based abstract interpretation. A tiny imperative programming language with pointers and first-class functions is subjected to numerous different static analyses illustrating the techniques that are presented.
The following candidates are listed in a randomly-selected order.
Prove it isn’t random...
Texas likely is removing Helen Keller from the curriculum
> The first linked article claims that cutting Keller from the curriculum will save forty minutes. Even if you don’t think Keller is worth exactly forty minutes, surely she is worth more than zero minutes, and besides the teacher simply can talk faster if need be (don’t most teachers talk too slowly?).
Trapper Keeper Contraband
> Schools are weird. They get super-political about the strangest things, because kids tend to get hung up about stupid things and those stupid things tend to affect what happens in the classroom. And that leads to common things getting banned. One of those things was the Trapper Keeper—a brilliant tool built to organize students as they went about the myriad subjects in their day. It seems like a useful thing, but schools across the country banned the products at the height of their success, ensuring that they would eventually fade from view. (Try finding one in a store lately?) Today’s issue organizes every spare thought around the Trapper Keeper.
MASCAB: a Micro-Architectural Side-Channel Attack Bibliography
> the volume of papers has expanded rapidly, but the time I’d normally allocate to reading them has been eroded by other commitments (as evidenced by a pile of printed papers gathering dust on my desk). In the end, I decided to tackle this problem by progressively a) collating papers I could read, then b) reading them one-by-one, but in no particular order, and attempting to summarise their contribution (and so organise the sub-field as a whole in my head). MASCAB is the result: after starting to advise MSc and PhD students on how to navigate the sub-field, it seems likely to be of use to others as well.
Closing the Loop: The Importance of External Engagement in Computer Science Research
On leaky abstractions from engineering to academia.
Stories Behind Papers: Integer Overflow
> Overall, dynamic detection of integer-related undefined behaviors in C/C++ is not difficult, but convincing people to take these bugs seriously was a long struggle and the broader issue of how integer overflows relate to program bugs is interesting and deep.
A practitioner’s guide to reading programming languages papers
> Last week I jokingly said that POPL papers must pass an ‘intellectual intimidation’ threshold in order to be accepted. That’s not true of course, but it is the case that programming languages papers can look especially intimidating to the practitioner (or indeed, the academic working in a different sub-discipline of computer science!). They are full of dense figures with mathematical symbols, and phrases thrown around such as “judgements”, “operational semantics”, and the like.
A Conversation about Teaching Software Engineering
> Wow, this is a lot of material, way more than we cover in depth in a semester. Even so, I find it super useful as a high-level vision for the kinds of things students should end up at least having been exposed to.
CNIT 127: Exploit Development
> Learn how to find vulnerabilities and exploit them to gain control of target systems, including Linux, Windows, Mac, and Cisco. This class covers how to write tools, not just how to use them; essential skills for advanced penetration testers and software security professionals.
Doesn’t look too bad.
Some Goals for High-impact Verified Compiler Research
> I believe that translation validation, a branch of formal methods, is just about ready for widespread use. Translation validation means proving that a particular execution of a compiler did the right thing, as opposed to proving once and for all that every execution of a compiler will do the right thing. These are very different.
On unpublished nonresults
> There’s no way to publish an academic paper about that, though, because there’s no “attack” to describe, because there’s no encryption to begin with. Without a paper there will be no talks at conferences, which means there will be no inflammatory headlines like this one.
What’s College Good For?
Jim Simons, the Numbers King
> Algorithms made him a Wall Street billionaire. His new research center helps scientists mine data for the common good.