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Love

It may be surprising you why I’m writing this on a tech blog. But if you’ll continue following my work you’ll figure out why. I found it important to share some personal views which will be of importance later when writing on topics like electricity and magnetism which I’m still studying.

The fact that I’m a scientist does not mean I don’t believe in God. We all know, including all greatest scientists in history, that science has it’s limits. The scientific method involves proving anything by experimentation. But how can we prove things like love, hatred, jealousy… matters of the heart. This is reality. And therefore reality unites science and religion.
If we go down to what we are made of.. cells.. molecules.. atoms.. it all goes down to the fact that we are made of energy, as well as the rest of the world. And maybe explains our relationship with each other and the universe.
Now, science says that energy is neither created nor lost. This means that when you die, your energy still remains… what you loose is your consciousness, your ‘I am’. In religion, there is life after death. And with science ending at probability and infinity, this could just be true.
What is my point then? Science cannot eliminate things like hatred, sadness, and such. But religion does. If you want to feel these things gone for a moment, try going to a peaceful place with pure nature, close your eyes, forget all your problems, bring happiness to your mind and connect with everything around you. I promise you when you come back to reality you will feel a difference. That connection you will have experienced is what we call love. The only thing that can solve these problems. The biggest virtue that every religion preaches.
If we want to be happy we need to understand that we are one and eliminate that feeling of ‘I am me’ and develop a selfless relationship with everyone and nature.
Don’t think that science is against the belief of God. Science just tries to prove reality. Someone omniscient and omnipresent exists beyond what we can see or imagine. Beyond the speed of light. And we can’t study beyond that.
In science we have assumptions, it’s just religion with proof.
Remember it took a lot of persecution for the church to accept earth is not the center of universe.

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The Roots of Mathematics

Many cultures have contributed to the development of modern science.  Let’s take a moment and look at the roots of mathematics.

Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq)

Mesopotamians made important contributions to the foundations of medicine, astronomy, physics and mathematics. The Sumerians of Mesopotamia and the Elamites invented writing, probably as a means of keeping accounts during the ancient Elamite trade. Startlingly, the astronomy and mathematics of the Mesopotamians was advanced. Like ours, their number system was positional, based on six and sixty. We still use it as seen in how we measure angles in degrees, and how we measure time in hours, minutes and seconds.

The Mesopotamians knew about square roots and cube roots and knew how to solve quadratic equations. They also knew about exponentials and logarithms. Their geometry was not more advanced than their algebra. Although they knew some of the properties of circles and triangles, they were not systematic in proving them.

Egypt

As early as 4,000 B.C., Egyptians were the first people to make books, in the form of scrolls. The building of pyramids and the surveying needs due to the periodic flooding of the Nile led the Egyptians to develop geometry (meaning “earth measurement ” in Greek). For example they knew that a 3, 4, and 5 units triangle is a right triangle, and that the sum of the areas of the squares formed on the two short sides is equal to the area of the square formed on the longest side. However, they didn’t know this applied to all right triangles, a great theory later discovered by Pythagoras.

Thales of Miletus

Thales, born of a Phoenecean mother, travelled extensively in Egypt and Mesopotamia and brought Egyptian geometry to Greece, which he also contributed to. His student, Anaximander also helped to bring Mesopotamian and Egyptian science to Greece. Anaximander was the first to try to draw a map of the world. He imagined the earth to be cylindrical rather than spherical.

Pythagoras

Pythagoras was a student of Anaximander. He discovered that musical harmonics are governed by mathematics. His greatest contribution is the Pythagorean Theorem, the most important single theorem in mathematics.

C2 = a2 + b2

Together with his followers, he discovered that the square root of two is an irrational number, that is, it cannot be expressed as the ratio of two integers.

Euclid

He was probably educated at Plato’s Academy in Athens, but later worked at the museum in Alexandria. Euclid arranged the theorems of Greek geometry in a logical order. An order so elegant that it can hardly be improved. He wrote “Elements of Geometry”, which has proved to be the most successful textbook of all time.

Erastosthenes

He was the director of the great library at Alexandria, Egypt. He made a precise measurement of the radius of the earth. He correctly concluded that most of the earth’s surface is covered by water.

Archimedes

Up there with Newton and Gauss, Archimedes is one of the greatest mathematicians of all time. One of Archimedes’ great contributions to mathematics was his development of methods for finding the areas of plane figures bounded by curves, as well as methods for finding the areas and volumes of solid figures bounded by curved surfaces.

With his use of the doctrine of limits, Archimedes showed that the ratio between the volume of a sphere inscribed in a cylinder to the volume of the cylinder is 2/3, and that the area of the sphere is 2/3 the area of the cylinder. This pleased him so much that he asked a sphere and a cylinder, together with the ratio 2/3, be engraved on his tomb.

Archimedes must be credited with the invention of differential and integral calculus. Unfortunately, he was not able to pass his invention of calculus to other mathematicians of his time because there was no union between geometry and algebra. This had to wait for Descartes, Fermat, newton and Leibniz.

Descartes

He reunited algebra and geometry, which had been separated ever since the Pythagoreans abandoned algebra after their shocking discovery of irrational numbers, a discovery so contrary to their religion that they kept it secret and renounced algebra. Descartes’ algebraic geometry paved the way for the rediscovery of calculus by Fermat, Newton, and Leibniz. Cartesian coordinates are named after him.

Newton

Isaac Newton was born on 25th Dec, 1642, the year in which Galileo died. While in Cambridge, he first showed his mathematical genius by extending the binomial theorem, which had previously been studied by Pascal and Wallis. Newton’s work on binomial coefficients was foreshadowed by that of the French mathematician Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), inventor of “Pascal’s triangle”.

Newton developed his binomial theorem into differential calculus. What we today call “derivatives” he called “fluxions”. He applied his method of fluxions to mechanics, deducing that the force with which the sun attracts a planet is the square of the distance between the planet and the sun, using the three Kepler laws of planetary motion.

Huygens and Leibniz

Huygens, the Dutch physicist, was the first person to estimate numerically the distance to a star. Another important invention made by him is the pendulum clock.

German philosopher and mathematician Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716) was among the friends of Christian Huygens. He introduced determinants into mathematics, independently invented the calculus and invented a calculating machine which could multiply and divide as well as adding and subtracting.

Daniel Bernoulli

Daniel Bernoulli (1700-1782) is sometimes called the “father of mathematical physics” because of the far-reaching importance of his work with partial differential equations.

He developed the famous wave equation, which we now call a partial differential equation. He developed his wave equation to describe the motion of a vibrating string. Bernoulli realized that the sum of any two solutions to his wave equation is also a solution.

Daniel Bernoulli’s superposition principle is a mathematical proof of a property of wave motion noticed by Huygens, the fact that many waves can propagate simultaneously through the same medium without interacting.

Leonhard Euler

Leonhard Euler (1707-1783) was the most prolific mathematician in history. His memory and his powers of concentration were amazing. Many of his important results were obtained during the last period of his life, when he was totally blind.

Euler’s identities make it easy to derive relationships between trigonometric functions. He was able to show, using the calculus of variations, which he helped to invent, that the equilibrium configuration of a chain hanging between two fixed supports is described by a hyperbolic cosine.

During the centuries that separated Archimedes from Newton, the developing union between geometry and algebra was lost, but through the work of Descartes, Newton, Leibniz, the Bernoulli’s, Euler and many others, both differential and integral calculus were rediscovered and turned into practical tools that form part of the foundation of the modern world.

Jean-Baptiste Fourier

Jean-Baptiste Fourier (1768-1830) founded a branch of mathematics now known as Fourier analysis. Its generalizations have great importance for many branches of theoretical science and engineering.

Erwin Schrodinger

In 1926, the physicist Erwin Schrodinger wrote down a differential equation that governs the motion of very small particles such as electrons moving in an atom.

Using the Schrodinger equation, one can analyze in a very exact way the allowed states of atoms. These allowed states are found to be closely analogous to the harmonics of vibrating strings, studied by Pythagoras many centuries earlier.

 

There are other great mathematicians who have not been mentioned here, the likes of Joseph-Louis Lagrange, Pierre-Simon Laplace, Adrien-Marie Legendre and many others.  But these are outstanding in the development of modern science and technology. Their work is the reason why technology has developed to where we see it today. Not forgetting the works of Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking and other modern scientists, it is fair to say that more is yet to come in uncovering the secrets of the universe. Mathematics is key.

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Why Net Neutrality Is Important For Developing Countries

I don’t know what led you to this topic but for me, frustration did it. Frustration that despite being connected to the internet with a speed of 5Mbps I still can’t enjoy certain content. I’ll give a few experiences that you probably relate with:

  1. I’ve paid for an internet connection of 5Mbps, but my 1GB file takes 2 days to upload.
  2. My friend lives in an estate near the highway, I stay in an apartment next to college. We have the same internet provider, same package, same price. His internet never slows down like mine.
  3. I watch videos on YouTube and Netflix in HD, but streaming a show on my local online TV is a terrible experience.
  4. I purchased ‘unlimited’ internet but after using 1GB my connection becomes slow

The above listed, and more, necessitated that I rise up and find out why I cannot reliably enjoy the internet. That’s when I came across this Net Neutrality thing which, recently, has been all over American News. To most of us in Africa, this topic is a myth.

Net Neutrality is the principle that anyone can access any online content freely and without any restrictions. Meaning, Internet service providers and phone companies should not have the power to restrict access to certain websites or slow down internet speeds depending on how much you pay. We should rather have laws denying  ISPs these powers.

As developing countries, here is why we should give attention to Net Neutrality:

  • Small businesses relying on the internet struggle to reach clients reliably.
  • Innovation is hindered as most of we young techies cannot afford the so called ‘business internet packages’.
  • The internet was designed to be neutral. When he built the World Wide web, Tim Berners-Lee did not have to ask for permission and similarly, we don’t have to ask for permission to use it.
  • Monopolies in Internet service provision have become greedy, instilling expenses to consumers.

These are my views at least from experience. In developing countries, I don’t think we have regulations on Net Neutrality as such. Maybe we should wait and see how this battle ends up in the US.

Artificial Intelligence, Engineering, Security

The Internet of Things Is Here

The Internet of things… sounds interesting. Smart cities, smart homes, smart cars, smart everything.

It’s estimated by 2020 there will be 50 billion objects connected to the internet.  The current internet protocol, IPV6, creates more potential addresses than there are atoms on the surface of the earth.

How it Works

  1. Sensors that transmit data are embedded in the physical things around us.
  2. This data may be processed locally in the individual devices.
  3. If the data is too large or the device is not connected on the internet, it is stored locally.
  4. The next level is networking, where the device is connected to the internet. WiFi developments are making the internet of things work better.
  5. Cloud processing with more power than local processing, where data from different sensors is processed and analyzed.
  6. And finally cloud storage where processed data is stored to be consumed and used in different applications.

As these intelligent systems of devices share data and analyze it over the cloud, they are transforming our world in countless ways.

  • monitoring the weather
  • monitoring our personal health
  • giving real time updates on where to park our cars
  • IoT on cars and streets to facilitate rush hour traffic
  • smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, smart refrigerators

Yes. The internet of things is already in effect. There are so many startups. Very many ideas and projects in our colleges and universities. Big corporations are investing billions on IoT. And I really look forward to how this could save lives, especially in health monitoring and emergency services.

IoT will come with security issues. Yes I love IoT, but this part gets me a little bit terrified. Technology that you may not even be aware of is monitoring your every move. I once made a video on this but I was threatened so I scrapped it off immediately. Anyway it’s no secret that I am an optimist.  I don’t want to talk about many DDoS attacks and creepy children toys. The internet of things can be a weapon of  mass destruction.

Later I’ll tell you how easy or hard it is to take over the world. How we can eliminate this situation where access to health depends on income, monitoring climate, technocracy and privacy, one of the big societal concerns.

Let’s talk tech!

 

 

Security

Prime Number Magic

Math is central to our daily lives. This is a fact, whether you love it, hate it, or don’t even understand it in the first place.

Numbers are weird objects; and I’m particularly fascinated by prime numbers.  A prime number is only divisible by itself and 1. Another mysterious fact is that every even number is the sum of two primes. Today I’ll talk about an algorithm, as an example of how math is crucial to our online security.

As a mathematician I love algorithms; instructions that solve problems. Algorithms are ancient. As much as I’d talk about technology, they are not exclusive to the world of technology. The first algorithm was to find the Greatest Common Divisor(G.C.D) of a number. One modern algorithm you may have heard of is the Pagerank algorithm by Larry Page and Sergey. If you’ve not heard of it, then you’ve used it. This is the algorithm used to rank web pages by Google, the world’s leading search engine. Creating algorithms requires a lot of creativity and genius. It’s no surprise only a few come up with world-changing and award-winning algorithms.

Now, back to prime numbers. E-commerce and the internet wouldn’t be safe without these special numbers.

Banks, websites and other systems use the RSA public-key encryption algorithm to keep our internet secrets. RSA are the initials of the people that came up with the algorithm; Rivet, Shamir, Adleman.

RSA encryption is achieved by producing a public key and a private key. The public key is two massive primes multiplied together. The public key is available for anyone to use.  If you want to decode the secret key, you need to know the original prime numbers. The only way to do this would be to take that massive number and factorize it. This is impractical with current technology. And this is how prime numbers uniquely secure our information.

This is just an example of the many ways math impacts our lives and an application of prime numbers. If you love cryptography and code cracking don’t go far as more is coming. Let’s talk tech!

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This is My Passion

It’s Ancentus again! First of all I thank everyone who has been following this blog when it’s been up and when it’s been down. And especially those who have inspired me to resume writing. I came to the realization that I could give my story today and hopefully inspire some people. I’ll talk about how I’ve realised my passion and inner awesomeness!
Passion makes every minute of my life counted and valued. My passion is about science and technology. Something I’ve had since childhood, but which I only discovered while in high school.
I spent a quiet early high school life confused by religious beliefs, history and the existence of life in general. This did not hold me back though. Physics and Computer Studies were my favorite subjects. I focused on what I liked and it didn’t take me long to realize that I was awesome. Since then I came up with exciting challenges and goals which helped and are still helping me a lot. These include:
-typing speed challenges.
-using the computer without a mouse. Helped me achieve fast coding and debugging skills.
-writing a program every day. I am now advancing this challenge to include AI in my daily programs.
-reading tech news daily. My goal is that I be the one writing daily tech news.
I believe I have now fully realized my awesomeness; designing, writing and coding guided by three principles:
1. Sorrounding myself with encouraging people.
2. I know what I want. Money has never been my motivation. And if it was, believe me I wouldn’t be in school now. I have had poor concentration since I was young and tend to fantasize a lot when listening to a teacher. I’ve never taken that as a weakness as my imaginations and fantasy help me realize what I want. It is during such moments that I get great ideas, some realistic and others unrealistic.
3. I take my coffee seriously. Late into the night debugging code, working on a project or doing my artificial intelligence research. I try to learn something new every day and this is what is helping me develop myself and keep up with current tech trends.
Living my passion has helped me get some expertise skills up my sleeve. These include mobile, desktop and web application development, algorithm design and development as well as robotics. My first AI related program was a simple mock-up of an intelligent assistant. Check it out at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPnszq7cv7I&t=20s My first AI program was a supervised AI program simulating a soccer match, which I wrote in the Java programming language. It was a good challenge for me as I came up with ball possession and goal-scoring algorithms using simple probability. Everything comes with challenges and my biggest challenge currently is balancing what I do with my mechatronics course work. Anyway it’s all science and technology so I’ve gotta get down to it.

This is my passion. Tech is my passion.

Artificial Intelligence

The Promised Life of Intelligent Machines

If there are terms in this article which you may not understand, it’s advisable to read it from the Ancentus Tech app so that you can ask Techie bot to define them for you. Get the android app at https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ancentus.tech

I don’t want to talk abut the future. I want to talk about now. I don’t want to talk about AI fiction. I want to talk about the AI we have now. Since the term Artificial Intelligence was coined in the 1950s, many predicted that this will be a century of intelligent machines and technology. Are we living that life?
There has been a wide talk about the dangers of intelligent machines and scientists being worried about them. I won’t go into that now as it is more an issue of the future. But I want to beleive that they would be our friends, the same way I would not think of my best friend turning against me. It’s all about how we make and use them.
I first noticed AI in advertising 4 years ago, when I was 15, while browsing on a home computer. I noticed that most ads displayed were within my interests. That is what we call machine learning. You may also put it under cognitive intelligence, which is all about our needs, wants and behavior, which machines are able to mimic. Advertising is not only about a catchy line or a creative design. Marketers are now facing the challenge to give the customer what they want. Most agencies are taking this challenge and using insights from cognitive intelligence to create personal experiences to clients. Look at Facebook, for example, among your friends, whose posts appear most on your feed? There must be some AI there, right?
Siri, OK Google, Cortana, Amazon Alexa… You must have come across one of these and other bots in your device. These are Intelligent Personal Assistants; which can perform tasks or services for you. I personally love chatbots, especially those that are able to predict my intents, of course without digging into my privacy. All this is artificial intelligence at your service.
Many corporations are currently racing to put self driving cars on the road. Google is actually facing stiff competition as other companies whose core business is autonomous cars have come up. Most of these companies are looking to hit the road by 2020, so we may call the next decade the promised life of autonomous cars. I wont talk much about them for now, but if I got the chance to ride on one, I cant fail to brag about it, believe me.
In robotics, AI is the most controversial field. It has become hard to define Artificial Intelligence, just like the term ‘robot’ itself. We have robots automating manufacturing and other processes in industries, but are they intelligent? As much as most of them have a mechanical construction and electrical components, I would still put industrial robotics under AI as they contain some level of computer program that determines what, when and how they do something.
If you now feel like you want to join the revolution, I’ll give some information. Common fields of artificial intelligence research are expert systems, neural networks, robotics, fuzzy logic and natural language processing. Fortunately, there are many doing research on artificial intelligence, so we can just make use of their products. If you are a developer, for example, you have Google’s TensorFlow which is now open source. TensorFlow is an open source software library for machine learning in various kinds of perceptual and language understanding tasks. Google also has a speech API which you can use in your applications. You may also decide to be like one of my friends, learn programming and focus on writing smart algorithms.
We can all be part of the AI revolution in one way or another. Let’s embrace what artificial intelligence has for us and transform our world to a sophisticated technological marvel while we still have it. We are living in the promised life of intelligent machines, and there is no going back.