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Programming News and Views

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SoFi - A Robot Fish Contributes to Scientific Research
Mar 24 | Sue Gee
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Researchers at MIT CSAIL have created a soft robotic fish that can independently swim beside real fish without spooking them, giving scientists a better opportunity to observe marine life.

March Week 3
Mar 24 | Editor
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Every day I Programmer has book reviews, articles and news written by programmers, for programmers. Each week our digest gives a handy summary of what's new on the site. It's also worth exploring our older stuff of over 10,000 items!

RISC Pioneers Gain Turing Award
Mar 23 | Sue Gee
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John Hennessy and David Patterson are the recipients of the 2017 ACM A.M. Turing Award for their foundational contributions to the development of the RISC microprocessors that led to today's mobile and IoT revolutions.

Microsoft Introduces DirectX Raytracing
Mar 23 | Kay Ewbank
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Microsoft has announced a way of specifying the details of 3D scenes for rendering. DirectX Raytracing (DXR) is a new API that will be included in DirectX 12. Aimed at providing more realistic lighting and shadows, it will enable DirectX applications to use hardware-accelerated raytracing.

Choosing Tools for Efficient Deployment on AWS
Mar 22 | Limor Leah Wainstein
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More and more we are relying on the cloud — specifically on Amazon Web Services. Here we explore the benefits and use cases of deploying your applications on the cloud before getting the lowdown on five tools that can assist with efficient deployment on AWS.

JDK 10 Released
Mar 22 | Kay Ewbank
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The latest version of Java, JDK 10, has been released, just six months after Java 9 hit the shelves. This version adds local variable type inference among other improvements.

Microsoft Research Achieves Human Parity For Chinese English Translation
Mar 21 | Sue Gee
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Researchers in Microsoft's labs in Beijing and in Redmond and Washington have developed an AI machine translation system that can translate with the same accuracy as a human from Chinese to English. 

New Challenge - Create A Better Facebook
Mar 21 | Lucy Black
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With Facebook in the news for having insufficient regard for its users data, a challenge to create a billion-user social network to replace Facebook has been initiated by Launch. Is this a serious proposition?

Firefox To Deprecate Sensor APIs
Mar 21 | Mike James
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Mozilla has decided to remove two W3C standards in Firefox. You might agree with its risk assessment, but it is a worrying time when browser makers get to pick and choose which standards are safe to use.

Facebook Offers Devs Instant Games Platform
Mar 20 | Alex Denham
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Facebook is making its Instant Games platform available to all developers who want to write HTML5-based games.

Firefox Quantum Extensions Challenge
Mar 20 | Kay Ewbank
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Mozilla has launched a competition for developers to create Firefox extensions that make use of Firefox's new and improved WebExtensions APIs.  Winners in each category will receive an iPad Pro and promotion of their extensions to Firefox users.

Amazon GameOn With Amazon Prizes
Mar 19 | Lucy Black
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Amazon has announced GameOn, a cross-platform, competitive gaming service, built on the AWS cloud infrastructure. It will allow developers to create competitions with real-world prizes fulfilled by Amazon.

GitHub Bug Bounty Program Expanded In Scope and Reward
Mar 19 | Alex Armstrong
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GitHub recently celebrated the fourth year of its Security Bug Bounty program and reported that 2017 had seen growth in participation by researchers, program initiatives, and the rewards paid out.

Databricks Adds ML Model Export
Mar 19 | Kay Ewbank
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Databricks has added a machine learning model export feature that can be used to export models from Apache Spark MLib.

It's Not Too Late - Your Own Altair 8800
Mar 18 | Harry Fairhead
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Without the Altair 8800 where would we be today? Ed Robert's minicomputer kit was a vital catalyst to today's technology, inspiring Bill Gates and Paul Allen to found Microsoft in order to write a BASIC interpreter for it. If you missed the original you now have another chance to discover its interface of lights and switches with the Altair-Duino kit

The Chatbot Phenomenon - An Infographic
Mar 17 | Lucy Black
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Chatbots used to be the stuff of science fiction. Now they are increasingly part and parcel of the everyday world, both at home and in commerce. Love them or loathe them they are here to stay.

More Recent News



Book Review

The Art of Assembly Language 2nd Ed
Friday 23 Mar

Author: Randall Hyde
Publisher: No Starch Press, 2010 
Pages: 760
ISBN: 978-1593272074
Print: 1593272073
Kindle: B011DAPHEO
Aimed at: Beginners
Rating: 4
Reviewed by: Harry Fairhead

If you have always wanted to learn assembly language then this book might be just what you have been looking for but you need to know exactly what it is all about to make a decision.


Featured Articles

Processor Design - RISC,CISC & ROPS
Harry Fairhead
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When it comes to processor architecture we still don’t  have a clear agreement on what sort of design philosophies should be followed. How do you make a faster general purpose processor? This is a question about architecture. 

Fundamental C - Functions
Mike James
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You can't get far in creating C programs without using functions. The good news is that in C functions are simple and efficient and there is no reason not to use them. In this chapter we look at functions, parameters, pass-by-value, return values, prototypes, local and global variables.

Small Basic - The Programmer's Guide
Mike James
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If you have been looking for a simple language that makes it possible to teach complete beginners then you might be pleased to meet Small Basic. It is, as its name suggests, a small and simple language, but it also has lots of rewards built in to keep the beginner's interest.

Android Programming In Kotlin: Animation
Mike James
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You can animate Android graphics using nothing but a timer. It's not the best way to do the job for anything complex , but it's good to know it can be done. This extract is taken from Beginning Bitmap Graphics in a new book aimed at Android programmers wanting to use Kotlin.

How Error Correcting Codes Work
Harry Fairhead
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Error correcting codes are essential to computing and all sorts of communications. At first they seem a bit like magic. How can you possibly not only detect an error but correct it as well? How do they work? In fact it turns out to be very easy to understand the deeper principles.


Unhandled Exception!
Code Golf

Code Golf

Can you remember the first time you encountered code golf?  The idea that shortest program wins is completely anti-good style and yes in a sense all our programs should strive for reverse code golf status. But... and this is a big but, how often do you see variable names that are so long your eyes get tired just scanning the lines. Reverse code golf is just as bad.

 Click for larger image

More cartoon fun at xkcd a webcomic of romance,sarcasm, math, and language


Book Watch

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Book Watch is I Programmer's listing of new books and is compiled using publishers' publicity material. It is not to be read as a review where we provide an independent assessment. Some but by no means all of the books in Book Watch are eventually reviewed.

ASP.NET Core in 24 Hours (Sams)
Thursday 22 Mar

The familiar concept of 24 sessions of one hour or less is applied to ASP.NET in this book. Author and ASP.NET Program Manager Jeffrey T. Fritz guides you from jumpstarting development with templates to implementing cutting-edge security and containerization, to help you build professional-quality, cloud-based, web-connected solutions with ASP.NET Core. This book’s straightforward, step-by-step approach guides you from the basics to advanced techniques, using practical examples to help you make the most of Microsoft’s radically revamped ASP.NET Core framework.


Spark: The Definitive Guide (O'Reilly)
Tuesday 20 Mar

The creators of the Apache Spark cluster computing framework have written this book showing how to use, deploy, and maintain Apache Spark. With an emphasis on improvements and new features in Spark 2.0, authors Bill Chambers and Matei Zaharia break down Spark topics into distinct sections, each with unique goals. Topics covered start from the basic operations and common functions of Spark’s structured APIs, as well as Structured Streaming, a new high-level API for building end-to-end streaming applications.


Reactive Programming with RxJS 5 (Pragmatic Bookshelf)
Monday 19 Mar

This book shows how to use RxJS 5 to write complex programs in a simple way, alongside use of the Observable: a powerful data type that substitutes callbacks and promises. Author Sergi Mansilla shows how to think about your programs as streams of data that change and adapt to produce what you want. He also shows how to integrate RxJS 5 with your existing projects and use it with the frameworks you already know. All the code in this new edition has been thoroughly revised and updated for RxJS 5, ES6, and Cycle.js Unified.


Home Robotics (Aurum Press)
Thursday 15 Mar

Subtitled, "Maker-Inspired Projects For Building Your Own Robots", this illustrated guide shows how to make your own robots, featuring 13 robotics projects suitable for beginner to intermediate level. Author Daniel Knox shows how to use easily sourced components that illustrate simple electronics and programming, and how to design and build custom-made creations that can walk, draw or even guard your home.


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