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substructural: Programming and the Markets's Blog

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What is the ML Module System?, Part 1

July 5, 2012 Comments (0)

Browsing through the heated Scala mail list discussion from 2009 on OOP versus functional programming, I ran into a number of messages which indicate some confusion as to the role and mechanism of the ML module system. The natural question that was raised is how is a module system different from a "low-level" object system. I am not entirely sure what a "low-level" object system is but in this post I would like to compare and contrast the ML module system and object systems,...

Formal Semantics for Top 5 Programming Languages

June 27, 2012 Comments (0)

A recent blog post on undefined behavior in C got me thinking. Being from the ML community, I have a certain appreciation for rigorous formal semantics that can be machine checked. Though the machine checked part is largely a new development, rigorous formal semantics has been with us for decades. Standard ML is the epitome of this approach to language design. The 48-page (128-pp total when including appendices and TOC/index) The Definition of Standard ML - Revised formally specifies the...


June 26, 2012 Comments (0)

Recently, I was looking around for a nice quick and light nonfiction reading. NPR is usually a great source for hearing about new nonfiction. There are many NPR programs where the host invites an author to peddle his or her wares. Alas, this time I was looking for a more concentrated list of potential light reading (where my definition of light reading may differ from yours). Furiously flipping through the NY Times bestseller list yielded a couple of candidates, but quite matched my craving for...

Garbage Collection in JavaScript, Part 2

June 20, 2012 Comments (0)

Of the Chrome V8 JavaScript JIT's 198kloc source (excluding comments), about 19kloc comprise the garbage collector. It is a generational Cheney copying collector with mark sweep. In October 2011 the V8 team added an incremental garbage collector to the mix. Incremental garbage collection contrasts with traditional stop-the-world garbage collection in that it is more amenable to low-latency applications requiring minimizing garbage collection pauses at the cost of reduced total throughput....

Skills Shortage

June 18, 2012 Comments (0)

The Time Magazine has a recent article on Skills Shortage written by a Wharton professor. The key take-away is that businesses are leaving vacancies open due to lack of interest in training employees, matching pay with market demands, and other reasons unrelated to candidates' actual lack of knowledge. I've considered this phenomenon at length. One example of lack of interest in training the article had was an opening for a cotton candy machine operator which demanded considerable...

The Scientific Method and Epistemology

June 4, 2012 Comments (0)

Listening to a past Intelligence Squared discussion on whether "Science will have all the answers", or as interpreted by one of the panelist "science is the only route to knowledge." This question lies in the purview of epistemology, the study of the nature of knowledge and the limits of that knowledge. Curiously enough, all this question is ultimately wrapped up in mathematical logic. Taking a step back, consider for a moment when you were first introduced to the scientific method....

Near and close (Facebook IPO)

May 22, 2012 Comments (0)

I read some interesting posts on HN that argue the advertising merits of social media. With the Facebook IPO just past us, there has been a bevy of posts and articles on how social media advertising did not work for some particular organization. It isn't only Facebook this time. At least one poster reports disappointing results from Twitter's paid tweets. IIRC, Twitter's advertising platform is still technically in "beta" at this point. In any case, despite the frenzy over social media as the...

Notes from the MacQueenFest

May 21, 2012 Comments (0)

I had the excellent opportunity to attend the MacQueenFest a couple of weekends ago in honor of David MacQueen. The venue provided interesting insight into what the alumni of the ML community was up to these days. Many of the slides are now up on the website. The talks were scheduled roughly chronologically based on Dave's contributions. Most were looking forward as much as they were considering the historical significance of the contributions. Read more »

Artists and Scientists

May 3, 2012 Comments (0)

Recently, I finished reading the acclaimed tome by Eric Reis, The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses. The ending was the most impressive part to me. Reis is willing to submit his own ideas of innovation accounting and the like to rigorous testing in startup research labs in universities. A footnote mentions that Nathan Furr of BYU and Thomas Eisenmann of Harvard Business School are already studying lean startup...

Flash Crash Research, Part 2

May 2, 2012 Comments (0)

A couple of papers I spotted a while ago: Easey et al study a measure of order flow toxicity called Volume-Synchronized Probability of Informed Trading in The Microstructure of the ‘Flash Crash’: Flow Toxicity, Liquidity Crashes and the Probability of Informed Trading. Johnson et al considers a large number of mini-flash crashes from 2006 to 2011 in Financial black swans driven by ultrafast machine ecology [PDF].