Taming floating point error (2020) - a brief overview of what error means in floating point and how it affects work. What I found most interesting was the discussion on error analysis and error propagation through a computation. This was one area I didn’t have a good mental model of how to approach from uni days, and it turns out that (at least conceptually) it is quite straightforward and elegant. Indeed, I have an even higher appreciaton for the design of the floating point standard now.
Bloom filters debunked (2020) - apparently there was an
error in the analysis of Bloom filters false positive rates lurking for 30 years. Indeed the last step of the analysis
seemed a bit hand-wavy the first time I encountered it. The authors used
coq to provide a formal proof of the
known correct form and increase our confidence in it.
On the uses of a life (2020) - the author of
tarsnap (and inventor of key derivation methods in cryptography) got called out that essentially he wasted his life
making backup software. This is his response.
Finding the right company to reach Staff engineer (2020) - another one from Will Larson. Staff roles are those very-senior engineering roles in a company, and the article is about alignment and expectation setting in order to reach that.
What engineering managers should do and why we don’t (2019) #video - a short introduction to management for engineers. In video form.