Artificial Intelligence is one of my favorite areas of interest. There’s something about this field that pulls me towards it. Its a pity that I couldn’t do more in this field because every time I had to weigh my options and there is not much being done in this field here in Pakistan to encourage me to pursue it.

Its been 50 years since the birth of this field and we are yet to see something worth mentioning done in this field. There is a lot effort being put in just to pass the Turing test but still all we have is AI programs like Joan. The aim of AI is much more than just learning to speak like humans. This article that I came across today gives quite a good reason why. It also lists some really good accomplishments that AI people can look back and feel proud about. Still there is much to be done and much to be learned specially about the design of human brain and the process of thinking.

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Miain Fahim-ul-Haq gave us his own farewell treat last night:). Yup! that sounds quite odd but not that odd if you know us. But everything apart, it was one of the most memorable dinner. Well for me at least; specially because it was perhaps my last dinner for a long time with one of my most trusted and most reliable friend as Fahim is leaving for Microsoft tomorrow. BEST OF LUCK to him. I’ll write more about us guys in my next blogs.

Here’s a pic of us all (well almost since Rehan is behind the camera:))

Here is a pic of Fahim (in White) and me (the other one:) )

Adding Rehan’s picΒ on his request πŸ™‚

rehan

Bio Hazard?

September 15, 2006

I always thought that kashif was one of those rare people who have a good taste for humor. He just recovered from Hepatitis A and this is his ploy to protect his drink from others.

Happy Programmer’s day

September 14, 2006

One of my friends and coworker here at Mentor, Fuaad Ahmed, just wished me Programmer’s day. Its 2 to the power 8th (256th) day of the year (analogy for the total number values that can be represented using one byte-8 bits).

Happy Programmer’s day to all the great people we call programmers:). Although I’m ~24 hrs late to wish :).

I think the answer to this is yes. Perhaps the blog structure wasn’t designed to be this popular and authentication was not considered for comments. But as it stands today, the blog culture is getting popular by the second. There is something that worries me though. I can pose to be anybody on anybody’s post while leaving a comment. Its so easy to destroy someone’s image by faking comments OR you can imitate famous people and comment on your own blog to get famous:). I don’t know if there are laws against this or not but even if they exist, it will be mighty hard to catch the culprit. This area might not be that sensitive, because things will eventually get cleared, but it sure is one which is better off not to be put to test:).

Arnold Hacked?

September 13, 2006

This is interesting, California’s Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s computer was claimed to be hacked to get hold of some private documents/conversations. Great! can’t get spies to work? employ hackers:). It would have been an interesting scenario for one of his movies though. A governor hacked by his counter parts. hmm perhaps he would have invaded them with M-60’s and terminated them. but life isn’t that easy in the real world is it:).

The Reunion

September 11, 2006

It took a long time coming and some serious efforts from Fahim and Rehan, but it finally happened. It certainly was one of the best get-together’s I have recently had. It refreshed the memories of the great days we had in our university. I hope this proves to be a trend setter and we get more and more PUCIT students to participate every year.

My recruiter at Mentor Graphics, my Technical Lead in my very early days at Mentor, a very good friend and a really nice counter strike player πŸ™‚ Khurram is leaving for England tomorrow (28th Aug 2006) on an HSMP (Highly Skilled Migrant Program) visa. He worked of RTOS group for a couple of months before he joined Compilers group. He had a 4 year long stay with Mentor. He is one of the most technically sound guys I know perhaps that’s why he was the tech lead :). It was really fun and a great pleasure to work with him. We will all miss him and his Suzuki-FX. It wouldn’t be same working without him in the team. I wish him luck and hope he succeeds in achieving his goals like he always has.

Second time lucky

August 27, 2006

A couple of days back (on Thursday 24th August) I went to purchase a laptop from Shah Almi market (Lahore). I stood under an 8 story tall building as I confirmed the shop’s address from my brother over the phone. I didn’t buy the computer because I didn’t like it but when I came out of the shop (which was not more than ~50-60 yards away from where I called my brother), I saw that the top four floors of that very building had collapsed. It was a terrible scene. Certainly the most tragic scene I’ve witnessed. People were trapped under the rubble, injured people were lying on the road, cars under that building were smashed, and even worst there were some people (possibly labors) trapped in another building whose exits were blocked by the debris. The rescue workers took 10 agonizing minutes to come but still considering that particular locality, I’d say that it was a very good response time.

This was my second narrow escape. Some 5 months earlier, I was working out in the gym when a powerful storm struck Lahore. When it was relatively calm outside, I thought this would be the perfect time to go home because I just needed 10 minutes window to reach home. Suddenly when I came out, the wind picked up again. I put my helmet on as I reassessed the situation, and the next second, a huge window glass smashed right on top of my head. I could think of nothing else to do but to go back inside the gym. I went back there in the morning and saw a window (~8-10 yards away) missing a 4′ square glass. I could tell that it was something big because of the intensity of the impact. It flew all that way to smash top of my head. My helmet proved life saving after all πŸ™‚

Well however odd this may sound but people might file such cases in future. The growing interest in MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online) games might just lead to this. Games like World of Warcraft can support thousands of players at a time. They all play simultaneously in a persistent world. To play you just need to buy the game and a monthly subscription to access the game world. Then you can go on playing and earn gold coins and similar currency with which you can buy weapons and stuff.

The world isn’t perfect in reality and in computer games as well :). Hackers can steal the account info, virtual gold, magic weapons etc in MMO games and sell it for real money πŸ™‚ and a good chunk of it as well. Microsoft has recently issued a warning to the MMO game players about this threat. Lets see what they come up with to eradicate it. If not, the police might need to set up an online crime branch employing computer scientists :).