Friday, October 24, 2003

Expert Systems: AI is Back

Jess Inventor Opines About Rule Engines and Java
Dr. Ernest J. Friedman-Hill, developer of the Java Expert System Shell (Jess), discusses the history and future of his rule engine and speaks out about the application of artificial intelligence and expert systems in real-world Java development. by Jason Morris October 23, 2003

In the late 80s, the buzz phrase "artificial intelligence" went out of vogue after initial returns on early applications did not rise to the hype. Expert systems, a species of AI that emulates human reasoning in a specific domain, are no longer ahead of their time due to exponential advances in computing power and application possibilities. Rule-based expert systems, which reason about problem facts using IF...THEN type rules, are the most mature of these technologies. Such systems unobtrusively power many current high-tech applications such as Web agents, financial calculators, and mechatronic controls. Java technology is a key enabler in this reemerging field.
With the popularity of Java for distributed computing across the enterprise and the explosion of business complexity, more Java developers are reexamining the feasibility of including AI components in their applications. Until recently, few tools were available for integrating such business rules into Java applications. Jess is a robust, versatile Java API for creating a wide variety of commercial-strength, rule-based expert systems.

Saturday, October 18, 2003

Mathematics: Why elections will never be fair and low voter turnout is a good sign ...

The Bizarre Math of Elections
by Richard Muller
MIT Technology Review, 17 Oct 2003

Mathematically, you can prove that their will always be cases when elections are not fair, no matter what the voting process. In addition, low voter turnout may be a sign that the system is working.

Quantum mechanics isn't intuitive either but it is, for better or worse, the way reality works!

Monday, October 13, 2003

Your Chance to Get a Free MIT Computer Science Education

MIT Everyware By David Diamond
Wired Issue 11.09 - September 2003

Every lecture, every handout, every quiz. All online. For free. Meet the global geeks getting an MIT education, open source-style...

When MIT announced to the world in April 2001 that it would be posting the content of some 2,000 classes on the Web, it hoped the program - dubbed OpenCourseWare - would spur a worldwide movement among educators to share knowledge and improve teaching methods. No institution of higher learning had ever proposed anything as revolutionary, or as daunting. MIT would make everything, from video lectures and class notes to tests and course outlines, available to any joker with a browser. The academic world was shocked by MIT's audacity - and skeptical of the experiment. At a time when most enterprises were racing to profit from the Internet and universities were peddling every conceivable variant of distance learning, here was the pinnacle of technology and science education ready to give it away. Not the degrees, which now cost about $41,000 a year, but the content. No registration required.

Friday, October 10, 2003

Web Services: Better than CORBA or DCOM?

Web Services Computing: Advancing Software Interoperability
Jen-Yao Chung, Kwei-Jay Lin, and Richard G. Mathieu
IEEE Computer 35:10:35-37, Oct 2003

Communications of the ACM and IEEE Computer both have Web services as the theme of the latest edition. Chung et al note "web services computing poses significant challenges as developers determine how to leverage emerging technologies to automate individual applications based on croo-organizational heterogeneous software components...

"Over the years, the goal of achieving software interoperability across computer networks has remained elusive. Standards such as the common object request broker architecture (CORBA) distributed component object model (DCOM) have met with marginal success. Skeptics are rightfully asking whether Web services will ultimately be viewed as a revolutionary jump or merely an evolutionary step toward software interoperability.

"With the strong support that most major mmarket players are providing, Web services may achieve what CORBA and DCOM could not. The XML/SOAP approach to Web services offers some significant advantages over CORBA and DCOM. While they are both reasonable protocols for server-to-server communications, CORBA and DCOM have significant weaknesses for client-server communications on the internet. Web services use document-style messages that offer the flexibility and pervasiveness that CORBA and DCOM cannot provide."

The papers in Computer and CACM show the current state of development on the concepts I mentioned on this site in December 1997. Check out Frank Manola's paper, Towards a Web Object Model, Object Services and Consulting, Inc. It is an excellent 1997 analysis of what it will take to turn the Web into a distributed object platform by the editor of the X3H7 Object Features Matrix, the most comprehensive comparative analysis of object models ever published.