Tomas Petricek's blog articles

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on 3/7/2017 7:31 AM
If you read a about the history of science, you will no doubt be astonished by some of the amazing theories that people used to believe. I recently finished reading The Invention of Science by David Wootton, which documents many of them (and is well worth reading, not just because of this!) For example, did you know that if you put garlic on a magnet, the magnet will stop working? Fortunately, you can recover the magnet by smearing goats blood on it. Giambattista della Porta tested this and concluded that [...]
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on 3/2/2017 3:53 AM
As mentioned in an earlier blog post, I've been spending some time at the Alan Turing Institute recently working on The Gamma project. The goal is to make data visualizations on the web more transparent. When you see a visualization online, you should be able to see where the data comes from, how it has been transformed and check that it is not misleading, but you should also be able to modify it and visualize other aspects of the data that interest you. I gave a talk about my work as part of a talk series[...]
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on 1/25/2017 4:31 AM
There were a lot of rumors recently about the death of facts and even the death of statistics. I believe the core of the problem is that working with facts is quite tedious and the results are often not particularly exciting. Social media made it extremely easy to share your own opinions in an engaging way, but what we are missing is a similarly easy and engaging way to share facts backed by data. This is, in essence, the motivation for The Gamma project that I've been working on recently. After several[...]
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on 10/11/2016 9:30 AM
This blog post is an edited and more accessible version of an article Thinking the unthinkable that I recently presented at the PPIG 2016 conference. The original article (PDF) has proper references and more details; the minimalistic talk slides give a quick summary of the article. If you find this interesting, you might also be interested in a workshop we are planning. To keep in touch leave a comment on GitHub, ping me at @tomaspetricek or email tomas@tomasp.net! Our thinking is shaped by basic as[...]
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on 9/27/2016 8:53 AM
When you start working in the programming language theory business, you'll soon find out that lambda abstraction and functions break many nice ideas or, at least, make your life very hard. For example, type inference is easy if you only have var x = ..., but it gets hard once you want to infer type of x in something like fun x -> ... because we do not know what is assigned to x. Distributed programming is another example - sending around data is easy, but once you start sending around function values, thi[...]
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