Seymour Papert with LEGO Mindstorms robotics kits, which were named in recognition of Papert's seminal book, Mindstorms: Children, Computers, and Powerful Ideas. Seymour Papert with LEGO Mindstorms robotics kits, which were named in recognition of Papert's seminal book, Mindstorms: Children, Computers, and Powerful Ideas. The field of educational technology is mourning a visionary whose work was considered 50 years ahead of its time. Seymour Papert, who died July 31 at age 88, was a mathematician and computer scientist who spent decades at MIT. "Seymour was one of the very first people to recognize that new computer technologies could be used by kids to create things in new ways and express themselves," Mitchel Resnick, a professor of learning research at MIT and a longtime colleague and friend, told NPR Ed. "It's amazing that Seymour was thinking these ideas in the 1960s," Resnick adds, "when computers cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, but he foresaw the day that every child would have access to a computer." The great theme of Papert's work and life was the nature of intelligence, or what he called thinking about thinking.
Joe Resnick, a correspondent who covered Los Angeles sports for the Associated Press for more than three decades, died Sunday after a six-month struggle with cancer. Resnick died at home under hospice care, according to close friend Ed Munson. A 1976 graduate of Emerson College, Resnick was a constant presence at all professional and college sports in the Los Angeles area. His first love was baseball, and there weren't many Dodgers or Angels games played without him being in the press box. He lived in Downey because it was approximately halfway between the Dodgers and Angels stadiums.
Increasing availability of information has furthered the need for recommender systems across a variety of domains. These systems are designed to tailor each user's information space to suit their particular information needs. Collaborative filtering is a successful and popular technique for producing recommendations based on similarities in users' tastes and opinions. Our work focusses on these similarities and the fact that current techniques for defining which users contribute to recommendation are in need of improvement. In this paper we propose the use of trustworthiness as an improvement to this situation. In particular, we define and empirically test a technique for eliciting trust values for each producer of a recommendation based on that user's history of contributions to recommendations. We present three computational models for leveraging under/overestimate errors in users' past contributions to recommendations to generate a range each side of a fixed point on the recommendation scale to be presented to the target user. We show how this trust-based technique can be easily incorporated into a standard collaborative filtering algorithm and define a fair comparison in which our technique outperforms a benchmark algorithm in predictive accuracy.
Google's annual developer conference doesn't officially kick off until Wednesday but about 120 of the company's youngest developers are already getting to preview one of its newest announcements. Google is teaming up with MIT's Media Lab to create Scratch Blocks, an updated version of the kid-centric programming language. Available now as a developer preview, student participants at Google's I/O Youth event were able to get an early look at the new tools. Scratch is a visual programming language developed by MIT's Media Lab back in 2007 to make it easier for kids to learn the foundational knowledge required for programming and other technical skills. Now, the MIT team is partnering with Google on the next generation of Scratch, with the hope that Google can help scale Scratch to more platforms and devices.