Updated : August 8, 2019
- Character Codes
- Complementary Skills
In Colonial Burma, the administration compiled “Than Kaung Sar Yin” (literally meaning “list taken at midnight”).
US Population Census
The US Population Census Data is compiled every ten years as mandated by law, but the census data takers do not visit houses at midnight.
The data is collected not only from US citizens, but from anyone who happened to be in the US (e.g. studying or working) at the time.
The data is to used mainly for planning (e.g. restructuring of voting areas) and not for storing personal details.
Census Bureau employee Herman Hollerith invented the electronic tabulator and punch cards for the 1890 US Census.
The company that Hollerith founded grew to become IBM (International Business Machines).
UCC computer and machines were used to process the Population Census Data in Burma in the ’70s.
Processing was done mainly with the FILAN software package. Some low-level coding were done using PLAN (assembly language for the ICL 1900s series).
A character in a specified language can be coded as a string of bits (binary digits).
In the early days, English was the primary language used for communications in most parts of the world. The English alphabet consists of 26 letters. 5-bits (which can represent 32 symbols) are need to represent (a) upper case characters (b) lower case characters.
5-bit, 6-bit, 7-bit and 8-bit character codes were developed and used. Some early standards include (a) 7-bit ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) (b) 8-bit EBCDIC (Extended Binary Coded Decimal Interchange Code).
With the wide spread use of computer technology, Character sets for the various languages were developed. Some languages (notably Chinese) require long bit strings.
Fixed length coding gave way to Variable length coding. The most used characters in a language are represented as one byte and the lesser used characters are represented as two or more bytes.
Unicode aims to have standard character codes for the languages. There are formal and informal institutions to help develop, propose and approve new Unicode character sets. UTF is a Unicode Transformation Format to transform Unicode characters to fit the specified length (e.g. UTF-8, UTF-16).
Standards may be (a) De Jure (set by law) (b) De Facto (set by common usage). Standards must be followed for Compliance.
Recommendations, which should be followed, can cause variations in the implementations.
I had several Chess sets.
- My parents bought me a regular sized Chess set with Plastic pieces.
- Saya U Maung Maung Gyi, my father’s teacher, gave me a set with leaded wooden pieces.
- My elder brother gave me a Portable set that he bought during his trip to Colombo, Ceylon to compete in the 1960 ARAE Annual Regatta. He coxed the winning team with U Tin Htoon (A60, Stroke), Sunny Teng (left BIT for abroad), Victor Htun Shein (BAF pilot, GBNF) and Dr. Harry Saing (Pediatric Surgeon and multiple athlete). They won the Willingdon Trophy for Coxed Fours.
My uncle had Chess books specializing in
- End game.
He also followed Chess Columns and the analysis of Championship games.
I did not have time and energy to study Chess literature.
RIT Chess Club
Ko Aung Than (EE) spent time with Chess and Cards more than classes and had to leave RIT before graduation.
He co-founded the RIT Chess Club with Ko Maung Maung, Ko Thet Lwin (Henry) and the visiting Soviet lecturers.
Although I stopped playing chess regularly, I followed the “History of Computer Chess” starting with the Professor Don Michie’s wager with David Levy. The professor was a pioneer in Machine Intelligence at the University of Edinburgh and was optimistic about the computer’s capability to play championship level Chess. David Levy — a programmer and Master level Chess player — wagered a year’s salary if a computer program could beat him within a decade.
David Lev won the bet.
The challenge inspired Computer Scientists (such as Ken Thompson, co-designer of Unix) to develop software and specialized software to play Chess.
It took several decades before a computer could beat a reasonably good Chess player, and ultimately beat the World Champion.
“Deep Thought” was developed at Carnegie Mellon University by a designer of special purpose chip for multi-layer pruning. With the help of four other Ph.D. students (two of whom are excellent Chess players), Deep Thought was taught to learn and play against Top Chess Programs. It won the Championship for Computer Chess hosted by ACM.
IBM hired three of the Ph.D graduates (that worked on the “Deep Thought” project) to design and develop “Deep Blue” with the help of Grand Masters. The objective was to beat Gary Kasparov (then World Champion) in a Best-of-five challenge match. Deep Blue lost on the first encounter.
In a rematch of another Best-of-five series, “Deep Blue” succeeded to beat Kasparov. Per saying, “To err is human”, Kasparov made a slight mistake, and “Deep Blue” relentlessly attacked and won the game and the series. IBM “retired” Deep Blue.
The hardware and software technology used for Deep Blue were enhanced to develop Watson (and the variants) for
- beating the Jeopardy (TV game) champion
- assisting medical doctors in training and diagnosis
- incorporating AI in IBM projects.
CHM (Computer History Museum) had an exhibit on the History of Computer Chess.
I have autographs of the panelists from the CHM session on Computer Chess.
An old joke : “Which one keeps time better : a stopped clock or one that runs fast or slow?”
RIT-YIT-YTU has both types of clocks. One type shows the correct time twice a day. The other type shows the correct time (in different parts of the world) every instant.
Grapevine says that many machinery and laboratory equipment were magically transported during the Adhamma Era.
With the Swel Daw Bins razed, the old Clocks were the last standing symbols of the Thabon Kyaung.
New clocks could be installed, but the rebellious spirit of alumni preferred to restore and/or repair the old clocks.
Thanks to Beik (Mergui) Soe Myint (M72) and his team, most clocks are running and keeping correct time.
U Khin Maung Zaw (EC76) wrote :
The joke is true, an old fashioned dead clock shows the correct time twice a day. It may not be true if a modern-day dead clock using military time. 😉
Just a coincidence that I have been looking for a small atomic wall clock for my bed room. As the reviews go, many of them on Amazon, the most common failure of these clocks is that it failed to sync up with the Atomic Clock at the DST (Daylight Savings Time) switch. I still have a big atomic wall clock in my living room, which took couple of weeks to show the correct time at the DST switch. [The Atomic Clock is located in Boulder, Colorado, US, under NIST, National Institute of Standards and Technology, a government department under Department of Commerce. It emits radio signals and the atomic clocks supposed to synchronize the time using this signals.]
Just a little anecdote with regards to Computer Time synchronization. The early Windows OSes had a hard time synchronizing the time between them due to lack of coordination between themselves. One very early authentication/authorization package used time-based schematic where it challenged a person, under the wraps, to specify a token – a feature known as handshake which sets an expiration time. This scheme occasionally failed because the return handshake went on to different server with slightly different system time. The tolerance was a fraction of a second. One Engineer came up with a small script running on each and every servers in the cluster, several thousands in those days, calling this Atomic Clock’s website, and have the time synchronized on every servers. I personally gone through this scenario, it’s a nightmare to locate, diagnose and correct this recurring problem. Thank God! Due to this problem. Windows team – and other OS vendors came up with a Time Server/Service, where only handful of servers in a big organization sync up with the Atomic Clock and all servers/desktops etc in the organization in turn sync up its own Time Server.
The success of a company or a product often requires complementary skills. Three examples are provided.
Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, passed away at the age of 65. He had the technical expertise.
Bill Gates had the business acumen to turn Paul Allen’s ideas into products.
The two were complementary.
Steve Wozniak is fondly called Woz (Wizard of Oz). He built the microcomputer and wanted to give it free to the members of the Home Brew Computer Club. After retiring from Apple, he returned to school under an assumed name.
Steve Jobs had the business acumen and persuaded Woz to form Apple Computers.
The two were complementary.
Oscar Hammerstein wrote beautiful lyrics.
Richard Rodgers was a talented composer.
The two were complementary. They combined their talents to produce hits for the Broadway and the movies. Their works include “Oklahoma”, “Sound of Music”, “South Pacific” and “My Fair Lady”.
For about three years, the Burmese experienced the Japanese Occupation.
Several Japanese forces brought along their printing presses to produce the Japanese currency for use in Burma.
Not all Japanese notes were accepted. The note must be able to “stand up” and to “pick up sand”. It is known as “Htaung Ma Lei; Thei Kaw“.
In the early days of the occupation, the common practice was to barter goods (e.g. a car tire in exchange for food or other items).
Sad to note that when the Occupation ended, all the Japanese Currency in circulation was declared void and useless.
Dana may stand for offering, alms, and donation.
Dana transcends religion and culture.
Dana provides opportunities to gain kusala (wholesome deeds) before, during and after the offering.
One can share merits when performing a Dana. One can rejoice past Dana and gain merits.
Dana may be performed anonymously, privately or publicly. Dana may be performed daily or on specific occasions (e.g. sabbath, birthday, anniversary).
Individuals, groups and organizations offer free books and CDs covering dhamma talks. They include :
- Dhamma Download web site
- Triple Gems Publications
- Tathagata Meditation Center (TMC)
An old saying states, “Dhamma Dana excels all Dana”.
Sayagyi U Ba Than donates the Garwara Money that he received from the SPZPs and alumni back to Charitable Organizations.
During one my visits, I witnessed the donation of One Lakh Kyat each to ten organizations. They include : Bo Bwa Yeik Tha, Little Sisters for the Poor, School for Deaf and Dumb, School for the Blind, U Hla Tun Foundation, Nar Yay Ah Thin.
It may stand for offerings made for the advancement of education (of the people and the society).
There are different forms of Pyinnya Dana. They include :
- Sponsoring scholarships (e.g. NorCal RITAA provide some financial assistance to eligible YTU students with the help of RITAA.)
- Donating to the “YTU Library Modernization”
- Sharing of experience, knowledge and wisdom
Swel Daw Yeik Foundation (SDYF) provides some financial assistance to eligible sayas and sayamas for Hospitalization and Frequent visits to the Clinic.
Cash and Kind
RIT Ah Nu Pyinnya Shins donate to the various noble causes (e.g. SPZP, Shwe YaDu, YTU Library) in cash and kind (e.g. paintings, cartoons).
We were aware of Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, Labor Day, Christmas and Thanksgiving.
For a long time, we were not aware that some of them are celebrated on different days (depending on the country and religious order).
For example, the Orthodox Church celebrate Christmas and Easter according to the old calendars (e.g. Julian).
The Mahayana celebrate the events (Birth, Enlightenment, Maha Parinibbana) on dates different from those of Theravada Buddhists.
We later learn about Kabyar (Poem) Nay, Myat Saya (Teacher) Nay, Secretary Day, and Friend Day. Some wonder why there is no Grandfather’s Day, Grandmother’s Day or Grandparent’s Day.
Not all events are holidays. Even among holidays, there are Public Holidays, State Holidays, and Bank Holidays. There may be good reasons (social, commercial) for having the designated days.
For us, every day is Thanksgiving (time to repay to our parents and mentors for their unbounded love and care).
Adeline Hpyu Hpyu Aung wrote :
Yes Saya. We should be thanking God, Parents and teachers everyday, without them we will not be who we are.
KMZ wrote :
My left brain at times over-analyzed many of these days. 😉 Many of these holidays are the work of “Holiday Industrial Complex’.
As Ma Adelyne Hpyu Hpyu Aung posted, some of these days like Mothers’ Day/Fathers’ Day should be 365 days a year, not necessarily just the designated day a year.
Believe it nor not there also is a ‘National Splurge Day’ which is June 18th. US Congress eventually passed a law to stop creating those days.
Deep is an Indian word meaning Light. The extended meaning is Wisdom.
Several Indian names have “Deep” (e.g. Deepak).
Deepavali is the Indian Festival of Lights. Some call it Diwali. During our younger days, some Hindu friends would give us Indian sweets as part of their Diwali celebrations.
We express the depth of a physical object or an idea as “Deep” or “Shallow“.
In computer applications, we use “Deep copy” of “Shallow copy” of objects.
Deep Thought was a Chess Machine (hardware and software) developed by Ph.D. students at CMU (Carnegie Mellon University). One Ph.D. student designed and implemented a special purpose chip to implement multi-ply search. Two Ph.D. students, who are Chess experts, designed and implemented the algorithms to play championship level chess. Two more Ph.D. students provided feedback and assistance. Deep Thought beat the competitors to become World Computer Chess Champion.
IBM (International Business Machines) recruited the three Ph.D. graduates to develop Deep Blue and challenge Gary Kasparov (World Chess Champion) to a Best-of-five match. Kasparov prevailed in the first encounter, but made a costly error — a prime example of “To err is human” — to lose in the second encounter. “
IBM made intensive preparations. It hired several Grand Masters for studying Kasparov’s games and techniques.
Deep Learning is an advanced form of Machine Learning. It has become a core subject in AI (Artificial Intelligence) courses.
There are numerous studies about Sleep and Insomnia.
Most people need about seven hours sleep.
Sleeping more than eight hours may be detrimental to one’s well being.
The quality of sleep (e.g. Deep sleep) is important.
- A digit may stand for a finger. The use of ten fingers for counting may have given rise to the Decimal Number System.
- A digit may stand for a symbol of a Number System.
- A Number System has a Base (or Radix)
- The Decimal Number System (Base 10) uses ten digits : 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.
- The Binary Number System (Base 2) uses two digits : 0 and 1.
- An Octal Number System (Base 8) uses eight digits : 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.
- A Hexadecimal Number System (Base 16) uses sixteen digits : 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, A, B, C, D, E, F.
- Some early computers and calculators use Base 10.
- Most computers use Base 2 internally. Since binary numbers are long, they are expressed externally using Octal and Hexadecimal.
- Computers and programs support easy Conversion between the Number Systems.
- Digital displays (read outs) are common.
It is sad to learn about disasters happening in various parts of the world.
Several are natural disasters. A few are man-made disasters.
Despite advantages in technology, there is no reliable and cost-effective system [yet] to predict and/or prevent disasters.
There are general predictions like “the coming of Doom’s Day”. Some are serious about “nuclear wars” (and similar scenarios of “Apocalypse”) and spend exorbitant money to order or build underground hideouts in remote places and also extensive “evacuation plans”.
There are some predictions based on past data, e.g. “The next big earthquake is due. You should take extra care since you are living on a fault line.”
A few could not and would not leave their homes even when the authorities issued “mandatory evacuation”. Some evacuated, but they when they returned they found their houses missing or being vandalized.
Disaster recovery is not simple. The countless lives lost to Cyclone Nargis and its aftermath could have been minimized with proper planning and mobilization of the rescue teams.
Kudos to the individuals and organizations that offer “disaster relief funds”. But, disaster relief is at the tail end.
DSL may stand for Dana Sri Lanka, which was co-founded by Sayama Daw Tin Tin Myint (Emma, “May Tin”, “Mae Daw Gyi”, ChE70) co-founded DSL. DSL has provided financial assistance to Burmese monks studying in Sri Lanka.
DSL may stand for Digital Subscriber Line. DSL allows a relatively high speed Internet connection over ordinary copper telephone lines. ASDL (Asynchronous DSL) is a variation of DSL.