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Let's look at serious scientific and high performance production grade software
- tensors + grad PyTorch C++
- tensors + grad TensorFlow C++
- tensors numpy C
- random forests XGBoost C++
- computer vision OpenCV C++
- statistics, MCMC Stan C++
- math R R/C/Fortran
- math Julia Julia/C/C++
- math Matlab Matlab/Java/C/C++
- general purpose Python default interpreter is written in C
- molecular simulation Gromacs C++
- solid engineering simulation and 3D modeling Solidworks, Autocad C++
- video processing ffmpeg, gstreamer C/C++
- audio processing google/mediapipe C++
- GPU parallel algorithms CUDA C++
- game engines (physics simulation, business logic, networking) Unity, Unreal Engine C++
- network servers (Erlang VM, Node.JS/V8, HHVM) C++
- Google data warehouse (GFS, BigTable, MapReduce) C++
- open source data warehouse (HDFS, Hadoop, Kafka, Spark) Java/Scala
- popular databases MySQL, PostgreSQL, Redis, Memcached C
- time series database InfluxDB Go (considered C/C++ though)
- productivity tools MS Excel, Google Chrome, Firefox, Photoshop C++
- geo algorithms uber/h3 C
- geo algorithms google/s2 C++
- Google Maps C++
C++ is leading by a large margin. Its ecosystem is astonishing. Pretty much everything of significance has been written and maintained in C++. Bare in mind, other languages like Golang or Rust have been around for around 10 years, still main applications did not migrate to them. Even more, TensorFlow itself is not in Golang, even though they are both from Google and Tensorflow created 6 years later. It is true that Golang is having momentum in service development — things like networking, ORM, business logic — yet it is used in not much anything else.
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
Your project is not good, manager is an asshole, stock is going down, back started to pain again. Finally, you got the award you always wanted, promotion, recognition. Problems, plans, achievements — it's all you. Everything is circling around you. This is your world and you are the in the center. From day 1 and until the end, you are the lead of this story.
Yet, your are small. Your world is a succession of days. With the rising sun, your day begins. You are having a breath of fresh air on your way to work, thinking what you will say to your buddies, then talking to them, getting through the day, finishing the job, thinking of a dinner on the way back home, and, at last, going to rest, until another day begins. In reality though, sun did not go up, it has always been there, fixed. It is your world that is a just a viewpoint from a tiny spot on a spinning rock circling through a vacuum of space around a giant nuclear reactor.
WYSIATI. You are a 24/7 observer of your story. It is all that matters. And not even in years past or future, but right now. Most pressing questions are whether you are hungry or happy, now. At best, you plan for the next season or a couple of years ahead. Rarely, your reflect on distant past or future. That is just you, but there are many others with their own stories. There have been even more before you and will be evermore after. What you do now can't change stories who lived in the past. Likewise, it will be irrelevant to generations far in future. Biggest evils and saints will go to an oblivion and their names will vanish in archives. What could happen will happen, with or without you. And what does is it matter to you anyways what someone in the past of future thinks of you? You are but a spec of dust.
This does not mean you should not do cool staff. Please, do! Rather, next time immediate worries overwhelm you, hold on for a moment and think about the bigger picture.
Leaving Korea today. How will I remember it this time?
Quality service. Civilized people. Cheap housing. Clean streets. Late hours. Latest tech everywhere.
Things just work and damn well for the good of all the people. Things improve.
Korean is everywhere. Whatever is non-Korean is lame. Living with only English is possible, but missing-out on occasion.
Strong respect of experience. Private networks. New friends. Old friends. Giving back to the community.
Better sense of things, place, time, people, and myself.
This is not the first time I am back, and it will not be the last one. I will keep visiting and when stars align will stay here with no worry of leaving.
... discovered academic publishers — MIT, Princeton, Cambridge, Wiley — and very strong material: Normal Accidents, Streetlights and Shadows, Cornered, Causal Reasoning in Physics
... expanded on practical software engineering: The Data Warehouse Toolkit, The Clean Coder, Production Ready Microservices
... looked deep inside myself: The Ego Tunnel, The Manual, The Meditations, On Having No Head
... learned to write a bit better: Dreyers's English, Zen in the Art of Writing
... followed powerful stories: life of Wernher Von Braun in Dr.Space, willpower in White Devil's Daughters, horrors of Night, great leap of Rocket Men, cheerfulness of Jackie Chan, neuroscience in Into the Grey Zone
... got some good life advises: Never Split a Difference, Getting Things Done, Made to Stick, 12 Rules for Life, Range
... touched variety other interesting topics: What We Cannot Know, Brief Answers to Big
Questions, Spying on Whales, The Art of Invisibility, Empty Planet, Novascene
... and just enjoyed some good entertainment: We are legion, Exhalation, What If, Soonish
43 books, longest 460p, average 270p.
Almost all paperback. Almost all gifted to charity, library@coex and friends.
I got this idea that it would be fun to make a couple of wild predictions and later to go back and see how far I was off. So here is the list,
The next big thing is going to be Brain Computer Interfaces (BCI). Data transfer speed will increase exponentially. Materials will get less invasive. Price will drop exponentially. Of course, at first there will be roadblocks, but once first great leap is reached — reading at 2x, memories download, skills upload — private and government capital will pour in. First trials will quickly finish in early 2020s. The race will be at full speed in 2027
Outer space is unbelievably rich in commodities. Yet, keeping human-friendly conditions out there would be even more expensive. All operations, especially in deep space, will be fully unmanned. Software will support whole life-cycle — reaching remote places, extracting materials, building facilities, transporting them back, conducting scientific experiments. Technology is almost ready. Mars and asteroids are pretty far to reach, but moon is very close. First economically meaningful Moon base will operate by 2028.
Social networks will be controlled by governments. Mandates will be imposed on what you search and how you talk. Access to mass spread of information or social organization will be tightly controlled by governments. USA will likely to protect individual privacy at least in some form, meanwhile places like China will require complete transparency to government even in private matters. On the bright side, similarly to what Instagram did to unlock ephemeral social value, new kinds of apps will emerge. Instagram itself will be replaced by its successor or transformed beyond recognition. Emphasis will be on real physical connection and local communities and businesses. In the end of the decade, VR and BCI will be the new place for social interaction. Hopefully, email will still be around in 2030.
People will continue to travel a lot and keep learning from different places. This may not make public to act coherently, but will influence its choices, such as what accounts for good health care or not, what is good security or not, what is good transport or not. In shadows, public will evolve — one by one, individuals will get smarter and with that, their aggregate, public, will get smarter too. Large waves of migration could happen. Institutions will get stronger too. Starting at big-tech, wave of growth mindset will spread to every big organization, the ones who adopt it will prosper. Many governments and nations will go through self-reflection as well, hopefully leading to better life for everybody. Developed economies of US, Japan, China, Korea will grow primarily driven by dominant position in certain niche of high tech sector.
It is hard to envision what it would be, but it is possible that new kind of computing stack, from assembly up to the high level abstractions, would emerge, which is not based on Turing state machine. It will be faster and more robust for distributed computations that heavily use network. Lowest level software stack will be powered by a system only remotely resembling assembly.
At the end of 2040s, AGI is achieved, but singularity does not happen. There will be emergence of fully digital cognition that is similar to humans, but its exploding self-improvement will not happen for quite a while due some fundamental physical or mathematical challenges we can not fathom today. It is also possible that this already happened in late 2010s, but we were not aware of it. You will talk to new digital species over your computer in 2038.
In most exotic form, BCI, VR, AGI, industrial automation and space programs — all merge together into one symbiotic platform. But then, maybe, none of this will really happen. Time will tell.
Look around, do you know where you are? Maybe you are in your room, maybe you are in a cafe, in a car, or outdoors. You must be clearly convinced you are in 3D space filled with all sorts of 3D objects. This sense is fundamental to your reality. But how do you know all that?
All you see around is colorful 2D shapes. And yet, when you slightly move, these shapes start to deform and overlap. The closer you are the bigger the changes, the easier it is to spot them, the stronger is sense of spatial awareness. There further you are, the less objects change, the harder it is to judge their positions and shapes. At horizon everything becomes 2D. Then there are heuristics that make whole job a lot easier — gradients that mimic shadows, dark and bright colors, continuity of colors and shapes, rules of projections. Funny enough, they don't work all the time leading to abundance of illusions and creatures that exploit these illusions for survival. In the worst case, if you see a car far away — no parallax, small shapes, no gradients — there is no basis to believe it has 3D shape you believe it has. For all you know, you have seen cars before, which leads you to believe it has that particular kind of shape. Next time try it yourself to observe your thought process when guessing shape of object away, you would get just a recollection from memory. Maybe you wold even do some reasoning, if that thing really got your attention. If it is something unseen you would get absolutely no idea. This is basically Tesla Autopilot.
It is easy to think of evolutionary interpretation. Why do we need 3D? It allows more accurate predictions on how world changes. It would help dexterity at your tasks for food gathering, hunting, moving. Why we are so bad at 3D in distance? If we measure complexity of world by number of objects and number of their interactions — nodes and edges in world graph — then 3D world quickly outpaces 2D version with size. Besides, the most important things to you are probably nearby — food, danger, friends. If something is far, then it is pretty safe to get minimal understanding about it until you get closer to it — or it will get closer to you! — only then you may think how it fits into your 3D world. Simple queries for objects far away such as "which direction it moves?", "what it's size?", "is it a single thing?", "what kind of a thing?" all work just fine with fast and memory efficient 2D memory and reasoning. Why do we need heuristics then? Even for small sizes, 3D processing may requite a lot of effort. Meanwhile, due to short distances it has to be fast and reliable. Thus, it is a good idea to have a bunch fast loosely coupled heuristics. It is also interesting how other creatures developed their perception of space due to specifics of their environment. Worlds of bugs in dynamic micro-scale, large creatures in rain-forest, whales in wide oceans, and birds spending fair portion of their time looking to flat surface with all sorts of things — all must be very different from ours. Just as interesting is how subjective perception of 3D changes with echolocation or sense of electromagnetic fields — is it similar to ours, fake 3D on top of 2D imagery, or is it a totally new sense like temperature?
In the end, it is just mind-blowing that 3D world you live in is nothing but a 2D image and a sense. This sense is not even absolute, but rather a continuum from very strong nearby to weak far away. All heavy lifting is done behind the scenes by evolutionary algorithm encoded in neural cortex. It is working hard to provide you with most accurate and fast representation based on all sorts of clues and extra signals. You don't even notice it. When it fails, you don't realize it. But most of the time it works spectacularly. You wholeheartedly believe it and start live in a world of its output even if it does not directly exist anywhere. Truly marvelous tech right here.