jm + mit   9

Mythology about security…
A valuable history lesson from Jim Gettys:
Government export controls crippled Internet security and the design of Internet protocols from the very beginning: we continue to pay the price to this day.  Getting security right is really, really hard, and current efforts towards “back doors”, or other access is misguided. We haven’t even recovered from the previous rounds of government regulations, which has caused excessive complexity in an already difficult problem and many serious security problems. Let us not repeat this mistake…


I remember the complexity of navigating crypto export controls. As noted here, it was generally easier just not to incorporate security features.
security  crypto  export-control  jim-gettys  x11  history  x-windows  mit  athena  kerberos 
april 2018 by jm
A programming language for E. coli
Mind = blown.
MIT biological engineers have created a programming language that allows them to rapidly design complex, DNA-encoded circuits that give new functions to living cells. Using this language, anyone can write a program for the function they want, such as detecting and responding to certain environmental conditions. They can then generate a DNA sequence that will achieve it.
"It is literally a programming language for bacteria," says Christopher Voigt, an MIT professor of biological engineering. "You use a text-based language, just like you're programming a computer. Then you take that text and you compile it and it turns it into a DNA sequence that you put into the cell, and the circuit runs inside the cell."
dna  mit  e-coli  bacteria  verilog  programming  coding  biohacking  science 
april 2016 by jm
s3funnel
'a command line tool for Amazon's Simple Storage Service (S3). Written in Python, easy_install the package to install as an egg. Supports multithreaded operations for large volumes. Put, get, or delete many items concurrently, using a fixed-size pool of threads. Built on workerpool for multithreading and boto for access to the Amazon S3 API. Unix-friendly input and output. Pipe things in, out, and all around.'

MIT-licensed open source. (via Paul Dolan)
via:pdolan  s3  s3funnel  tools  ops  aws  python  mit  open-source 
april 2014 by jm
Machine Learning Speeds TCP
Cool. A machine-learning-generated TCP congestion control algorithm which handily beats sfqCoDel, Vegas, Reno et al. But:
"Although the [computer-generated congestion control algorithms] appear to work well on networks whose parameters fall within or near the limits of what they were prepared for -- even beating in-network schemes at their own game and even when the design range spans an order of magnitude variation in network parameters -- we do not yet understand clearly why they work, other than the observation that they seem to optimize their intended objective well.

We have attempted to make algorithms ourselves that surpass
the generated RemyCCs, without success. That suggests to us that Remy may have accomplished something substantive. But digging through the dozens of rules in a RemyCC and figuring out their purpose and function is a challenging job in reverse-engineering. RemyCCs designed for broader classes of networks will likely be even more complex, compounding the problem."

So are network engineers willing to trust an algorithm that seems to work but has no explanation as to why it works other than optimizing a specific objective function? As AI becomes increasingly successful the question could also be asked in a wider context.  


(via Bill de hOra)
via-dehora  machine-learning  tcp  networking  hmm  mit  algorithms  remycc  congestion 
july 2013 by jm
Lectures in Advanced Data Structures (6.851)
Good lecture notes on the current state of the art in data structure research.
Data structures play a central role in modern computer science. You interact with data structures even more often than with algorithms (think Google, your mail server, and even your network routers). In addition, data structures are essential building blocks in obtaining efficient algorithms. This course covers major results and current directions of research in data structures:

TIME TRAVEL We can remember the past efficiently (a technique called persistence), but in general it's difficult to change the past and see the outcomes on the present (retroactivity). So alas, Back To The Future isn't really possible.
GEOMETRY When data has more than one dimension (e.g. maps, database tables).
DYNAMIC OPTIMALITY Is there one binary search tree that's as good as all others? We still don't know, but we're close.
MEMORY HIERARCHY Real computers have multiple levels of caches. We can optimize the number of cache misses, often without even knowing the size of the cache.
HASHING Hashing is the most used data structure in computer science. And it's still an active area of research.
INTEGERS Logarithmic time is too easy. By careful analysis of the information you're dealing with, you can often reduce the operation times substantially, sometimes even to constant. We will also cover lower bounds that illustrate when this is not possible.
DYNAMIC GRAPHS A network link went down, or you just added or deleted a friend in a social network. We can still maintain essential information about the connectivity as it changes.
STRINGS Searching for phrases in giant text (think Google or DNA).
SUCCINCT Most “linear size” data structures you know are much larger than they need to be, often by an order of magnitude. Some data structures require almost no space beyond the raw data but are still fast (think heaps, but much cooler).


(via Tim Freeman)
data-structures  lectures  mit  video  data  algorithms  coding  csail  strings  integers  hashing  sorting  bst  memory 
april 2013 by jm
A Slower Speed of Light
a first-person game prototype in which players navigate a 3D space while picking up orbs that reduce the speed of light in increments. Custom-built, open-source relativistic graphics code allows the speed of light in the game to approach the player’s own maximum walking speed. Visual effects of special relativity gradually become apparent to the player, increasing the challenge of gameplay. These effects, rendered in realtime to vertex accuracy, include the Doppler effect (red- and blue-shifting of visible light, and the shifting of infrared and ultraviolet light into the visible spectrum); the searchlight effect (increased brightness in the direction of travel); time dilation (differences in the perceived passage of time from the player and the outside world); Lorentz transformation (warping of space at near-light speeds); and the runtime effect (the ability to see objects as they were in the past, due to the travel time of light). Players can choose to share their mastery and experience of the game through Twitter. A Slower Speed of Light combines accessible gameplay and a fantasy setting with theoretical and computational physics research to deliver an engaging and pedagogically rich experience.
games  physics  mit  science  light  relativity 
april 2013 by jm
Bunnie Huang's "Hacking the Xbox" now available as a free PDF
'No Starch Press and I have decided to release this free ebook version of Hacking the Xbox in honor of Aaron Swartz. As you read this book, I hope that you’ll be reminded of how important freedom is to the hacking community and that you’ll be inclined to support the causes that Aaron believed in.

I agreed to release this book for free in part because Aaron’s treatment by MIT is not unfamiliar to me. In this book, you will find the story of when I was an MIT graduate student, extracting security keys from the original Microsoft Xbox. You’ll also read about the crushing disappointment of receiving a letter from MIT legal repudiating any association with my work, effectively leaving me on my own to face Microsoft.

The difference was that the faculty of my lab, the AI laboratory, were outraged by this treatment. They openly defied MIT legal and vowed to publish my work as an official “AI Lab Memo,” thereby granting me greater negotiating leverage with Microsoft. Microsoft, mindful of the potential backlash from the court of public opinion over suing a legitimate academic researcher, came to a civil understanding with me over the issue.'

This is a classic text on hardware reverse-engineering and the freedom to tinker -- strongly recommended.
hacking  bunnie-huang  xbox  free  hardware  drm  freedom-to-tinker  books  reading  mit  microsoft  history 
march 2013 by jm
Hacking a Google Interview
course notes from a 4-day MIT course on tech interviewing (via Hacker News)
interviews  google  hiring  puzzles  mit  questions  coding  computer-science  algorithms 
august 2009 by jm

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