March 21, 2008

Books Recommendation – 1

Filed under: Book — krsrk @ 1:21 am

Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs


From Foreword…

Our traffic with the subject matter of this book involves us with three foci of phenomena: the human mind, collections of computer programs, and the computer. Every computer program is a model, hatched in the mind, of a real or mental process. These processes, arising from human experience and thought, are huge in number, intricate in detail, and at any time only partially understood. They are modeled to our permanent satisfaction rarely by our computer programs. Thus even though our programs are carefully handcrafted discrete collections of symbols, mosaics of interlocking functions, they continually evolve: we change them as our perception of the model deepens, enlarges, generalizes until the model ultimately attains a metastable place within still another model with which we struggle. The source of the exhilaration associated with computer programming is the continual unfolding within the mind and on the computer of mechanisms expressed as programs and the explosion of perception they generate. If art interprets our dreams, the computer executes them in the guise of programs!

From Preface….

Our design of this introductory computer-science subject reflects two major concerns. First, we want to establish the idea that a computer language is not just a way of getting a computer to perform operations but rather that it is a novel formal medium for expressing ideas about methodology. Thus, programs must be written for people to read, and only incidentally for machines to execute. Second, we believe that the essential material to be addressed by a subject at this level is not the syntax of particular programming-language constructs, nor clever algorithms for computing particular functions efficiently, nor even the mathematical analysis of algorithms and the foundations of computing, but rather the techniques used to control the intellectual complexity of large software systems.

  • If u want to become a better programmer
  • A different kind of introductory computer science text
  • It is freely available online [Online copy]
  • If you can’t concentrate on your work for a long time, it is a good read to stimulate your brain.
  • Help you understand the brain 😉
  • Video lectures can be downloaded as well (Thanks to Vijendar)

March 19, 2008

Encephalon – The Vertebrate Brain

Filed under: Brain, news — krsrk @ 10:59 am

Thanks to Mindhacks, I could find a treasure trove of information related to neuroscience and psychology. There is a community of neuroscience and psychology bloggers and they collect the best posts in the past fortnight and post it on one of their blogs. It is one of the peer-recommended, peer-hosted magazines around. It seems interesting. There have been many such issues, I thought why shouldn’t the information and links be got from one page. So here it is….

  1. Issue 1
  2. Issue 2
  3. Issue 3
  4. Issue 4
  5. Issue 5
  6. Issue 6
  7. Issue 7
  8. Issue 8
  9. Issue 9
  10. Issue 10
  11. Issue 11
  12. Issue 12
  13. Issue 13
  14. Issue 14
  15. Issue 15
  16. Issue 16
  17. Issue 17
  18. Issue 18
  19. Issue 19
  20. Issue 20
  21. Issue 21
  22. Issue 22
  23. Issue 23
  24. Issue 24
  25. Issue 25
  26. Issue 26
  27. Issue 27
  28. Issue 28
  29. Issue 29
  30. Issue 30
  31. Issue 31
  32. Issue 32
  33. Issue 33
  34. Issue 34
  35. Issue 35
  36. Issue 36
  37. Issue 37
  38. Issue 38
  39. Issue 39
  40. Issue 40
  41. Issue 41
  42. Issue 42

Most links due to Neurophilosophy, Sharpbrains. Thanks to the new Neurophilosophy for starting all this.

Mindhacks has a reading list for students

Update:- Another Blog carnival that has been temporarily suspended now is Synapse

March 18, 2008

Different views

Filed under: Brain, news — krsrk @ 9:01 am

These are some of the views about a video by ‘The Singin’ Scientist’. I strongly recommend you checkout the video at TED

  •  “some fascinating insights into the experience of having a stroke” – Deric Bownd
  • “You can almost hear the sound of a thousand cognitive scientists gritting their teeth” – Vaughan
  • “it’s eerily fascinating to hear this brain scientist describing what it was like” – The Thinking Meat
  • “The language …. to relate her experience is very much like … describing a mystical or religious experience” – Learning Computation

It is one of the most talked about videos in TED 2008. A neuroanatomist, Jill Bolte Taylor, had a stroke in 1996 and lived on to tell her experiences in a book(amazon, lulu), a radio interview and a video.

Isn’t it amazing to see so many views?

March 16, 2008

Can we see what we want or hate?

Filed under: Decision, Neuroscience — krsrk @ 10:49 am

Recently there have been many articles about Mind reading devices, based on fMRI. Though there are many ethical issues around such a device. But lets us imagine such a device exists, Is it possible to find out what we really want or hate? Maybe..

An excerpt from the release at Princeton University

A team of scientists from Princeton University has devised a new experimental technique that produces some of the best functional images ever taken of the human brainstem, the most primitive area of the brain.

This region of the brain is sometimes referred to as Reptilian Brain, based on evolutionary view of looking at the brain regions. It is involved in many important human brain functions required for survival including decision making.

Some of the difficulties in looking at this region of the brain are its size, movement effects due to heart pulse, existing experimental and analysis methods.

“For a long time, scientists have tried looking at this area of the brain and have been unsuccessful — it’s just too small,” said Kimberlee D’Ardenne, the lead author on the paper.

The article by Kimberlee D’Ardenne, Samuel M. McClure, Leigh E. Nystrom, and Jonathan D. Cohen appeared in February Issue of Science Magazine. They overcome the above difficulties combining a number of techniques including synchronizing the fMRI with heart rate, using novel pulse sequences, novel algorithms for processing the data.

They look at brain activity of thirsty humans when drops of juice/water/money are given and find that the activity in the brain stem encodes positive reward prediction error, error when an unexpected reward is given, and the probability of getting any reward. But they couldn’t find the negative reward prediction error, error when expected reward is not given.

So they can find what you want but not what you hate. But the take home is the ability to look at brain stem activity.

D’Ardenne K, McClure SM, Nystrom LE, Cohen JD (2008) BOLD responses reflecting dopaminergic signals in the human ventral tegmental area. Science 319: 1264-1267 link

March 15, 2008

A few interesting blog articles..

Filed under: news — krsrk @ 12:13 pm

Along came few nice stories..

Enjoy your time with these enlightening views.

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