Sometimes the best way to learn about something is to create it. If I want to learn about an interesting subset of mathematics, eigenvalues perhaps, the explanation of the math can only go so far. I must let my pencil do the talking as I learn through construction. Programming is no different. So, when I became interested in cellular automata, I decided to make some examples of different types. Today, we can go over elementary automata.
Elementary automata are particularly interesting for two reasons:
With these two characteristics, elementary cellular automata have become a tool to explore emergence, chaos, and complexity in a non-linear system.Read more...
In preparation to some travel abroad to Ivrea, Italy, I decided that I needed a secure way to connect back to my server at college. SUNY Geneseo is kind enough to provide a Cisco IPSec VPN into their heavily firewalled network and, with a little work, we can VPN in without an issue.
Cisco provides a proprietary VPN client for users, however this application lacks official linux support, and remains unstable on Arch Linux. The open source community has created an alternative to the Cisco VPN client called the OpenConnect Client. Arch Linux has a package in the official repositories called openconnect To install, open a terminal and run
pacman -S openconnect
Once installed, we can configure and initialize a VPN instance using the
It has become commonplace for today's universities to release faculty evaluations to their students as a way to assist students in choosing classes. Recently, however, Yale decided that public access to this freely available information should not be allowed when they blocked university access to Yale Bluebook+, a student-made service to view faculty evaluations along with course registration information. At my alma mater, SUNY Geneseo, our faculty evaluation are obscured from view as non-searchable pdf files never to be seen by students again. As shown in Figure 1, this approach has consequences.
When students are unable to see the results of their evaluations, participation drops. When participation drops, the data become less valuable and the cycle continues. On the flip side, if the data were to become useful again -- as a metric for students to choose future professors, perhaps -- we could restore the worth of the SOFI data. My question is, what would happen if this data were to be place directly in the hands of the people who need it the most, exactly when they need it?Read more...
From as early as 1869, apiarists have reported a set of symptoms in which colonies lose many adult worker bees leaving behind large stores of food, brood, and even the queen. Colony Collapse Disorder, as described above, continued at a steady incidence rate of ~17-20% in the 1990s and early 2000s. The rate of CCD started to increase, however, in November of 2006 to between 30% and 90% (an admittedly large range).
Bees are an important component in the pollination of plants, particularly in modern agriculture where bees are known to pollinate over 120 different species of crop. Given that pollinators, such as bees, are known to develop mutualistic relationships with particular species of plants, Matthew Taylor, Andrew Patt, and I set out to create an agent-based model to explore how obligate pollination affects the dynamics of plant competition.Read more...
For the last few weeks a couple of colleagues and I have been modeling competition in pollinating plants under ecology professor Dr. Gregg Hartvigsen. In our particular research, a 2D spatial simulation consisiting of agents simulate plant and bee behavior. At face value, the model looks similar to cellular automata, but in this case the rules are slightly more complex.
After we started testing our model, we realized a massive mistake: we biased some plants over others when we handled time. This led to a question of if we should adapt our model to use continuous time or discrete time and what those two approaches would entail.Read more...