Wednesday, November 30, 2005
The new LCS and other GBML blog is in beta stage
Thursday, November 24, 2005
GAs Help to Model and Manage Water Distribution and Sewer Collection in Billings
Built atop ArcGIS with native geodatabase support, InfoWater and InfoSWMM offer a single comprehensive, GIS-centric solution for analyzing and managing the most complex water distribution and sewer collections systems. A seamlessly integrated geospatial framework applies GIS intelligence to engineering-accurate information, coupled with the most advanced numerical computation, genetic algorithm optimization and object-component geospatial technologies in the marketplace. The result is a centralized, multi-function system that enables world-record performance, scalability, reliability, functionality and flexibility within the powerful ArcGIS environment, completely eliminating the need for inefficient, unreliable data synchronization, synching schemes, or middlelink interfaces required by other software. These factors and more translate to increased productivity, reduced costs, greater efficiency, and improved designs - giving water and wastewater utilities a clear competitive advantage.
The press release can be found here. A few related posts discussed the use of genetic algorithms in the software of MWH Soft, see for example here.
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
GA company Affinnova gets new CEO
Waleed is a proven leader, one with the optimal combination of sales and marketing management and entrepreneurial expertise needed at this stage of Affinnova's growth," said David Andonian. "His track record of elevating companies affords him keen insights into the critical success metrics needed to take our organization to the next level. He is a well-chosen addition to Affinnova's growing roster of consumer packaged goods and marketing services experts.Affinnova applies interactive genetic algorithms to product design:
Affinnova harnesses the voice of consumers to help companies develop more successful brands and products. Its unique, patent-pending technology uses genetic algorithms to "evolve" product designs in response to consumer preferences. Affinnova's technology has been adopted by a growing list of blue-chip customers including eleven Fortune 500 companies. Affinnova is privately held and headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts. For more information about Affinnova, visit www.affinnova.com.
An earlier IB post about Affinnova is available here.
Sunday, November 20, 2005
Interestingly, large universities have this kind of chemistry. It's called graduate school, but unfortunately that kind of small-team chemistry is almost impossible on a large campus given the pressures toward funded research. Some smaller liberal arts colleges with 1200-2000 students have found this small-group chemistry, and that is why about half of the schools on Max's final list are of that type.
Not everyone is a natural teacher, but there are many with natural gifts for creative building and innovation. Charlie was that rare blend of natural teacher and renegade technologist. He got all of that power from his own study and family dynamics. Apprenticeship is a old, tried and true concept, preceding all of the modern institutions of learning. Can this old concept be reinvigorated in our time, for more than the traditional electrical, plumbing and legacy trades?
Perhaps attempting to tap this mentor to apprentice communication will destroy it. Small team chemistry is meant to be small. Maybe it is best left alone.
Friday, November 18, 2005
TEE the blog
On Wednesday, I submitted the final manuscript for TEE the book to Wiley for publication by summer or fall of 2006. Come on over to the The Entrepreneurial Engineer and keep in touch with your inner engineer.
8 comments and a cloud of dust
To frame the question, let's ask what a "typical" GA/EC user does in "choosing" operators and codings. First, he chooses an initial representation and operators, gains "experience" with that choice, and guides the choice of subsequent representations and codings with the "lessons learned." The processes of choice and experimentation in this tableau are less than well specified, but essentially the user "data mines" the stream of examples tested to do better.
What does a "competent GA" do? It "mines" the data stream systematically and uses the probability distribution of adapted operators and the population to sample new points. More recent work, uses these structural models to build a fitness surrogate, cheaply and accurately, and new work is pointing in the direction of automatically adapting mutation operators and other local search techniques in concert with the competent GA.
Seen in this way, competent GAs systematize the informal experimentation of the practitioner and replace it with sound decision making according to what is actually learned about the current landscape. In this view, there is nothing special about the actions of the practitioner; it should be possible to replace the informal and unsystematic experimentation of the practitioner with machine-based techniques that do a better job on many if not most problems.
Thus, as competent GAs and their derivatives take hold, I predict that there will be a decrease in the numbers of bad GA/EC papers advocating weird combinations of operators and weird techniques on strange grounds and an increase in landscape learning and adaptation. I certainly hope so.
Thursday, November 17, 2005
GeekGorgeous and genetic algorithms
Lilac, who started working as a programmer at age 16, is now a senior software engineer with an acronym-rich skill-set that includes Java, J2EE, EJB, JSP, JMS, PHP, ASP, ADO, SQL, XML, UML, J2ME, MIDP and more. As an independent consultant, Lilac has worked on numerous business applications on various platforms, from home-automation systems to portfolio optimizers based on genetic algorithms. She's been a technical session speaker at multiple conferences, including Sun's Java One conference, the Borland Technology Conference, and the Denver Java Users Group. A “numbers girl”, Lilac’s latest obsession is data mining and statistical analysis of econometric data for an upcoming real estate investment application. Lilac also owns three video-game stores in Colorado.
The joy of engineering in Harrisburg, PA
MWH Soft Launches New InfoSWMM Calibrator
This revolutionary new calibration platform for urban drainage system models is the first ArcGIS-centric (ESRI, Redlands, CA) optimization software in the world to unleash the power of advanced object-oriented Genetic Algorithms technology in a true high-performance GIS environment. The result is the fastest, most practical, most comprehensive and accurate GIS-based network model calibration program ever created for wastewater engineers.
The press release can be found here. A related post by David E. Goldberg about the use of genetic algorithms in MWH Soft products can be found here.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
New? That meant that there were already dance notations. I just browse a little bit to ease my ignorance, and I run into several entries here. Moreover I found an online paper on dance notations and computers. After reading it, I cannot stop thinking about how the same DISCUS technology used for scenario creation in marketing could be applied to collaborative on-line concept discussions for dance choreographies. And they already have notations for it! I know, maybe it is my naiveness, but I think it would be useful for companies scattered across the globe to boost their interactiveness.
Sunday, November 13, 2005
Competent GAs revisited
...I only know that those Competent GAs "refer to principled procedures that solve a large category of hard problems quickly, reliably, and accurately". However, there is some canonical form for those GAs ?? There is some paper that reports about those GAs...I'm glad you asked. Competent GAs take many different forms, but they all share certain characteristics and principles of operation. First, they are population based and they all possess an adaptive or self-adaptive crossfertilizing mechanism that learns and exchanges effective substructures. Second, the use of a population and crossfertilization mandates a certain physics of initialization, competition, decision, and exchange.
Interestingly, since 1993 and the fast messy GA, many different types of mechanisms have been developed for competent GAs, and if you would compare one to the other, you wouldn't recognize their similarities. For example, outwardly the fast messy GA looks nothing like hBOA. Only at the level of theory of operation do their similarities appear. There are many papers, theses, and dissertations that establish these principles going back to the late 80s and early 90s, but my book The Design of Innovation (see also here) is a one-stop source for surveying the principles and some of the mechanisms of competent GAs. The book provides the basics and you can dig into the different areas of concern at your leisure. A google searchable version of DOI is available here.
Thursday, November 10, 2005
Compression GAs: Less than meets the eye
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
Power laws and blogs
In systems where many people are free to choose between many options, a small subset of the whole will get a disproportionate amount of traffic (or attention, or income), even if no members of the system actively work towards such an outcome. This has nothing to do with moral weakness, selling out, or any other psychological explanation. The very act of choosing, spread widely enough and freely enough, creates a power law distribution.
Some claims are intriguing.
Fighting comment spam
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
The science of wishful thinking
Computer science is the science of wishful thinking.
People laughed, but I am not sure how many people got truth hidden behind what seemed a casual joke. He mentioned computer science, but I guess that it is also extensible to any other human endeavor involving any degree of innovation and creativity; innovation not afraid to transgress current conventions (scientific, social, or cultural), and creativity that dreams about a vision that may, eventually, become reality.
These words sounded pretty powerful to me, when pronounced at the home of ILLIAC, and deserve more than a casual laugh. The truth is that Judea’s talk went beyond the content. It was a talk about how not to dismiss wishful thinking, because it is the fuel that powers human innovation and creativity.
New DISCUS site up and running
Monday, November 07, 2005
Last visit with a penguin
Thursday, November 03, 2005
The entrepreneurial engineer is online
I recently signed a contract with John Wiley and Sons to publish the book upon which the short course is built.
Optimal breakout group size
In a recent IlliGAL technical report, A Little Model of Optimal Group Size in Breakout Meetings, I present a little model of the tradeoff between reporting and discussion in breakout groups and calculate the optimal group size. The note (pdf) is short, but the result is sensible, and it ties to a number of other useful little models in organizational settings. Tian-Li blogs about his presentation at the Academy of Management (here), and our note on optimal team size under deciding and doing is here, and our optimal communication in a hierarchical organization paper is here.