[ExI] ai class at stanford

G. Livick glivick at sbcglobal.net
Sun Aug 28 05:04:31 UTC 2011

I've followed this thread for a bit, but can't for the life of me see 
how the AI class, the offering of LISP as a preferred means for creating 
AI software, and the use of spreadsheets in lieu of hard coding, all fit 
together.  It appears that optimal solutions are being proposed for 
requirements not yet known, which raises another point: this class is a 
fundamental introduction to contemporary methods used to good advantage 
by autonomous robots operating in unstructured environments -- with 
applications in other areas related to object recognition, etc.  These 
are "basic" tools (the word 'basic' being rather relative in that the 
math involved ruins the lives of science students through at least their 
junior years at university), not general solutions.  Because of that, 
I'm not expecting much class work discussion between those of us taking 
the course that would interest ExI's.  We won't be developing AI, just 
learning some of the basic probability theory and numerical methods in 
the current tool-set; extremely dull stuff for anyone mainly interested 
in the Great Oz, and not the man behind the curtain.

Hopefully I'm wrong....


On 8/24/2011 9:29 AM, spike wrote:
>> ... On Behalf Of BillK
> Subject: Re: [ExI] ai class at stanford
> On Wed, Aug 24, 2011 at 2:41 PM, Kelly Anderson wrote:
>>> What we really need for spreadsheets to more fully reach their full
> potential are:...
>>> Give me that and I'll be all over programming in Excel.
>> ...Yes, very nice, except for the elephant in the room...
> [debugging]...BillK
> I was thinking of a different elephant.  Anything written in Excel is in
> some sense owned or controlled by the BILL.  It is analogous to building
> your dream house on someone else's land.  I have done some really cool
> things in Excel, such as the atmosphere model, some iterative numerical
> analysis stuff, a model of a bouncing tetrahedron (with graphics!  {8^D), a
> sudoku solver, plenty of useful stuff in a programming environment that puts
> out solutions in a form useful to the many other excel users in any big
> company.
> That last point is important.  We have a lot of Matlab users, a lot of
> Labview users, C++ jockeys, all of these being powerful tools for a controls
> engineer, indispensible.  But most engineers never use either Matlab or
> Labview, and plenty couldn't write a line of code in any language that came
> along after Fortran went out of fashion.  On the other hand, every person
> who can fog a mirror in a big company such as Lockheeed, down to and
> including the guys who empty trash cans and possibly even upper management,
> use excel regularly.  So for that possibly bad reason, Excel allows
> collaborations where each specialty can create a worksheet.  If you know how
> to write a specification for a sheet and know how to integrate other
> people's work, you can do some truly amazing stunts in that environment.
> But it still belongs to the BILL in some important sense, the one with a G,
> not a K.
> spike
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