Monthly Archives: October 2010

The wonders of Babbage, Jacquard, Boole, Turing, Shannon … The inventors of foundations of modern day computer

I modified this write up with the recent reading about Turing, another brilliant person who helped us see the mechanical aspects of intelligence or rather humanization of computers. 

The engineering of computers on how it evolved from decilmal system to binary and hence the associated binary logic to solve all problems is a facinating one for me. Here it is; the logical sequence finally all coming together with little bit of research.

The story of contribution of Babbage to modern computing is amazing and he almost is the inventor of modern day computer. Still it would be mechanical and can only do things that fast. However, it needed three more inventions, the logic engine (Boole) and the mechanical computer (Jacquard), and the connection to the electrical switches (Shannon).

Here is the picture of Babbage’s Analytical (Difference) Engine. Ref:

The contribution of Jacquard-Loom for understanding the importance of mechanical binary machine along wiht the works of Leibnitz is amazing. The following picture was created by Jacquard to demo the power of his automated mechanical loom.

Now layer the Boole’s logic engine, and electrical AND-OR-NOT gates, VOILA our modern day computer is conceived… Story goes, Boole lived an eccentric life and died of young age out of sickness caused by long walk in the rain and delivering his lecture in drenched dress for two hours.

Now you bring in the Shannons’ work who showed that electronic switches can do the boolean logic for any deterministic outputs or even stochastic outputs, and it is just a matter of miniturization and mass production principle to get to the world of computers.

The reason i bring all these is, taking lessons from this one example as an abstraction of reality, to point out that we need the following in making quantum jumps in innovation always!

Jacquard card being used even now in the original form for “high quality color designs in  silk sarees” in Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu, India.

– prototype the end product in manual mechanical fashion which is represented by most likely by something that is n-nary combinations of decision states or action states (Babbage)
– split the process in to various components (in this case one huge mechanical machine into CPU, inputs, outputs, storage and connecting it to the lowest level of operations called binary (Jacquard). Jacquard was initially working on the mechanical aspects of n-nary states and implementing solutions at that level.
– concentrate on the binary decisioning process and bring in the calculus of binary decisioning (Boole). Every decisioining process and action process is a collection of binary events.

 Here are the important developments that humanized the computer:

– now abstract back to the known decisioning process which is not binary from the binary calculus (Boole and Shannon)
– show that mechanical process can be taken to the utmost speed that is electrical/electronics/light (Shannon)

and now  Turing comes in:

‘A Perfect and Beautiful Machine’: What Darwin’s Theory of Evolution Reveals About Artificial Intelligence”

 For a more detailed list of developments and for interesting business insights, see   

From Data Monster & Insight Monster

Consumer Engaging Media Channels, Channel Separators, Amplifiers, Channel Mixers and Channel Attributions

There are more than 20 media channels in real life and consumers are constantly bombarded with these channels from different companies.

How do consumers sift through these channels to benefit from these media bombardment to make their decisions to re(search), become sticky to a contact channel allowing the manufacturer/retailer to reach out, and use specific channels for buying products and getting services, given their interests in life and their life stage they are in. This is a constant problem among marketers to figure out these details to be more meaningful and respectful of consumers in reaching out and getting the best possible reponse for their reach out activities.

The technology is here for us to capture quite a lot of these details and also methodological principles and computations that can benefit from these large number of channels to figure out the solution for the above problem.

The engine that runs this application is the reverese of the old days of automated looms, where threads (media channels) come together for a beautical colorful cloth(music). Here we are given a cloth or music and we want to parse out the media channels. This engineering is important so that we can redesign a cloth of certain type which is more useful under some conditions vs. other conditions; certain music or advertisement that will have the right receivable impact at the consumer for right effect.

A good media separator engine will consider the following:

Have procedures, under the demanding current structures data and data collection, to feed the data into consumer media channel separators, to identify and extract the media separators, and media mixers, their signals, adjusting for the impact of channel tails(ad-stocks) in the life-cycle media influence, amplifying signals to noise ratio, to produce quality fidelity with maximum possible signal to noise ratio to attribute what channel contributed to what aspect of (re)search, contact, and buying activities of consumers.

My presentation at Predictive Analytics World Conference

Case Study: Forrester
Making Survey Insights Addressable and Scalable – The Case Study
of Forrester’s Technographics® Benchmark Survey

Marketers use surveys to create enterprise wide applicable strategic insights to: (1) develop segmentation schemes, (2) summarize consumer behaviors and attitudes for the whole US population, and (3) use multiple surveys to draw unified views about their target audience. However, these insights are not directly addressable and scalable to the whole consumer universe which is very important when applying the power of survey intelligence to the one to one consumer marketing problems marketers routinely face. Acxiom partnered with Forrester Research, creating addressable and scalable applications of Forrester’s Technographics Survey and applied it successfully to a number of industries and applications.

Here is the presentation:

Making Survey Insights Addressable and Scalable – The Case Study
of Forrester’s Technographics® Benchmark Survey

Contributor: Roxana Strohmenger, Senior Survey Manager, Operations and Analytics, Forrester Research

Speaker and Contributor: Nethra Sambamoorthi, Ph.D | Team Leader, Consumer Dynamics & Analytics, Global Consulting, Acxiom Corporation

Contributor: Jie Cheng, Ph.D | Vice President, Analytics and Customer Insights, Global Consulting, Acxiom Corporation

From Data Monster & Insight Monster