Sep 17, 2009

Git Tutorials for Begginers

Obama speaks at College Park, about the health care reform plan

Barack Obama just finished his speech 30 minutes ago, his words were vigorous as always , and though I am not an American citizen, it was inspiring for me too, it is always great to see a nation walking forward for change ! I went to the University of Maryland Comcast center at 10:30 am, September 17th,2009 and it is so huge that even I reached late there were plenty of available seats. People came with their children and parents, so it became more of a peublic event rather than campus campaign. A number of medical professionals, army people and congressmen were there.You can read more about it here.

As a student of UMD, I did not have to make much plan for it, just came to the campus at usual time and followed the crowd. I thought there would be a scene with security check at entrance, but the security people were quite easy going. I remember I could not enter the American Embassy in Bangladesh with my pendrive, but here they did not mind at all.Obama enteried at 11:48am , and finished his speech before 12:30, and the crowd really enjoyed because he gave much emphasis towards the young audience. One guy among the audience started booing him but could not make much of it, because another supporter lady was just about to punch that guy :) Then the security people came and take him outside, otherwise I think it would not be safe for him to stay among a hall full of supporters and shout against health care reform plan.

I still do not understand much about USA health care system, but it makes me really surprised that how can people go against this kind of initiative. Right now I am signed up for a class project that analyse US Health insurance situation, for this project I still need to gather more domain knowledge in this field, but what I understand is that if government wants to provide something more, there should not be any voice against it at all . And it is always great to have a leader who can cheer you up with his words of hope ( no matter whether they come true or not ) , 'cause hope and confidence can indeed make the difference.

Obama finished his speech heating up the atmosphere and instilling energy among the students, as a mere observer I can just hope that he succeeds with his mission for change.

Sep 7, 2009

Microsoft Research's MySong: play your songs with MySong

you sing your song, software plays the instruments for you :)

MySong is a system that automatically chooses chords to accompany a vocal melody. A user with no musical experience can create a song with instrumental accompaniment just by singing into a microphone, and can experiment with different styles and chord patterns using interactions designed to be intuitive to non-musicians *.


Floating point processors to simulate artificial neural activity

"We want to create an artificial brain that can communicate with a real brain,” says José Nuñez-Yañez, from Bristol’s Centre for Communications Research, as they’ve come up with a method to model neural activity with enough detail and speed for living cells to talk to synthetic neurons. Previous efforts to model neural activity have relied on supercomputers and generalized processors that are not good enough for parallel processing and again, these machine models are so complex that it can take 30 days to process one second of activity . But field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) rely on floating-point processors, with perhaps 1000 processors running in parallel. So this kind of processors can be an answer to the problem. Floating-point representation results in smaller rounding errors and therefore can be more precise. That precision is important for modeling neurons.

We know that Neurons communicate by exchanging spikes of voltage, which last a few milliseconds and may peak at about 70 millivolts. The timing of the spikes is important. In a fixed-point model, rounding errors accumulate, leading to a significant shift in the timing of the spikes. Therefore, floating point model can improve the simulation . The researcher at Bristol are so optimistic about this new idea is that their next step is to have a biological neuron talking to an artificial one. The idea is to take slices of mouse brain and incubate them on top of a sensor. After about two weeks of growth, the neurons will begin communicating as they would in the brain ! An analog to digital converter will measure the voltage produced by these neurons, send it to FPGAs, and different part of neural activity will be analyzed by the computers. I am here just rephrasing the idea that I read from this article published on Spectrum and I am really looking forward to the result of the next step.

visit ot Luray Caverns, Virginia

after arriving at the USA my first few days were really exhausting, and I was tensed as I could not find any suitable place to live yet, at that time I was not that excited about visiting any place, but still made the trip to visit the legendary caverns in Virginia.

We started from Washington, DC and the journey took at least two hours. As we went closer to the caverns, the nature around us became more and more beautiful.But the real beauty was yet to discover inside the caverns. It is amazing how nature has created this marvel that resides underground, the walk was long but worth it.