Friday Blast #50
Distributions of zeros of the Riemann zeta (2018) - mostly for the nice view from Quanta of the various places where a certain distribution appears - zeros of Riemann’s zeta function, spaces between eigenvalues of random matrices, distances between cells in chicken cells in chicken’s eyes etc.
An illustrated proof of the CAP theorem (2014) - the CAP classification is a (somewhat misused) workhorse of describing distributed systems. But it’s also a theorem in it’s own right, with some very precise specifications. This article delves a bit into that, and gives an intuition for the proof.
Lamport’s logical clocks (2015) - a brief overview of Lamport’s famous “Time, Clocks, and the Ordering of Events in a Distributed System” paper (how famous? 11k citations worth). Now the paper itself is easy to follow, and the article is almost as big as it. Still, the graphics are neat and the explanation a bit bigger. The notion of limited ordering in distributed systems is very important. Vector clocks are very often encountered in the design of bigger systems (most famously Dynamo), and they’re improvements to Lamport clocks.
Visualizing linearlizability (2015) - I’m not that familiar with the various consistency models, but linearlizability is one of the important ones, so any intuition about it is good. Indeed the paper seems terse, but the visualisations do help - especially wrt the “equivalence” relation on histories.
Cybernetics - a cyborg-free introduction (2018) - cybernetics is a strange discipline - big for about 30 years from the 40s to the 70s, it is quite obscure now. The good stuff has moved to other disciplines more or less. This article is a very quick overview of the history and objectives of the folks working in the field. I searched a bit to find a more definitive answer to “what happened to cybernetics?”. I think Asa Sherill on Quora offered a good take - the name changed. Cybernetics is just a futurist name for things like control theory, AI, robotics etc.