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Highlights - Day Three at GYSS



Preparing for the Internet of Things


Vinton Gray Cerf, Turing Award (2004)


According to Dr Vinton Gray Cerf, Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist at Google, the Internet of Things (IoT) include more than just mobile phones and wearables. Any piece of software that gathers data in real time is considered an IoT device. For example, even a stock trading programme can be considered an IoT device.


While IoT programmes and devices are now widely used, many of them are lacking in terms of security as well as its “smart” abilities. Technical support is also slow to react, added Dr Cerf, despite decades of programming and great technological advances. “Nobody knows how to write software without bugs,” he said.


Devices are also heavily dependent on other variables such as Internet access and peripherals. “Your world should not stop working just because Internet access is down,” he said. Devices that require special batteries or adaptors could also become useless, if the manufacturers of such peripheral accessories close down. 


Read more on Dr Cerf and the Future of the Internet.



Switches and Latches: The Control of Cell Division


Sir Timothy Hunt, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (2001)


Sir Timothy Hunt believes that there is more to be explored in the regulation on cell growth, long after his discovery of cyclins in the 1980s which led to his Nobel Prize. This is crucial, as cell regulation is responsible for the proper distribution of cells and the replication of DNA in order to ensure the correct development of the organism.


Sir Timothy first discovered cyclins, a family of proteins that control the progression of cells through the cell cycle, when studying cell growth in sea urchin and clam eggs. Cyclins are instrumental in cell growth and cell division because for an organism to function and develop normally, cell division has to occur at a suitable pace.


(Fun fact: Cyclins were named after Sir Timothy’s love for cycling!)



The Travelling-Salesman Problem


Richard Karp, Turing Award (1985)


A door-to-door salesman should aim to complete the maximum amount of sales in the shortest distance covered and end up at his original starting point. This very same principle is applied in computer science, in a classic algorithm problem called The Travelling Salesman Problem (TSP). And this was what Turing Award winner and computer scientist Richard Karp set out to solve. After all, combinatorial optimisation is a common issue in computer science and operational research.


The TSP is found in many combinatorial applications, from circuit board manufacturing to logistics management. For example, when making a circuit board, manufacturers must come up with the most efficient order for a laser to drill many holes. The most efficient order will help to reduce production cost for the manufacturer.


















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