Tuesday, March 7

More ETech: Ray Ozzie "Building Bridges"

I missed Ozzie's talk, and Rohit tells me I should have because Ozzie's apparently very successful demo featured Microformats, an initiative that CommerceNet sponsors. In the talk transcript, Ozzie says:
I have a concept development team that works for me. I went to them a month ago, gave them rough concepts, and gave them challenge: how can we jam things together in a browser?
I have a concept development team that works for me. Hmm. I need me one of those.

From O'Reilly ETech: "Hunch Engine"

I'm in a function room at the Grand Hyatt Manchester in San Diego for O'Reilly's Emerging Technologies Conference, the people who brought you "Web 2.0" and many other desperately hip ideas that they constantly remind you of.

I just caught the tail-end of a talk about the Hunch Engine by Eric Bonabeau of Icosystem Corporation. The basic ingredients are a visualizer on some solution space, with a parameterized multi-demandingly clustering algorithm, and a random solution generator. Then a user (or users!) guide the system towards results they like better by click in the visualized space or fiddling with some sort of parameter control panel. Combinatorial chemistry approach general-purpose optimization. Guided evolution of search algorithms? Something like that.

I know that sounds like gibberish. It was pretty cool, though -- I guess you had to be there. Or you need to have seen some of the old Artificial Life environments and imagine using this to not breed screen critters, but to (say) choose a company name or design a wallpaper pattern.