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About rinselberg

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  • Location
    "sunny California"
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    Software engineer and Rx lens wearer. Interests include world news, jazz and baseball.
  1. I'm not generally one for puzzles or brain teasers, but I just ran into one that is elegant in its simplicity, yet profound in its implications. I like it so much that I have posted it on a handful of other Internet forums. I guess I've had about ten responses - about five on target and five misses. Count me as a "miss" - I didn't figure it out until I did some online research about it. Consider a deck of only three playing cards. One of the cards is a Joker. The other two cards could be anything - even duplicates of each other - anything but another Joker. Three cards, one Joker. You play this game with a computer. The computer can only play fairly and exactly by the rules. The computer deals the cards face down in front of you, Left, Center and Right. The computer is perfectly randomized so that before the deal, the probability that the Joker will be dealt in any particular order (Left, Center or Right) is always one chance in three. After the deal, the computer always knows which card is the Joker. The cards have been dealt. This is what the computer "sees" ... Your objective is to select the Joker. You are perfectly versed in the rules of the game and about how the computer is programmed. But you cannot predict the outcome of the computer's randomizing calculations. At this point you can't do any better than a random selection of your own, so you point to one of the cards - Left, Center or Right. It doesn't make the slightest difference which one. Let's say you select the card on the Left. This is what you see. You select the card on the Left ... There is only one Joker, so whichever card you selected, at least one and possibly both of the other cards are losers. Whichever card you selected, the computer responds by facing one of the other cards and showing you a loser. If, on the strength of one chance in three, you selected the card that the computer knows is the Joker, then the computer has one additional computation to perform. It must decide which one of the two cards that you didn't select - both cards, losers - to reveal to you. It does so in a perfectly random way. It performs the software equivalent of flipping a coin to determine which one of the two losers to face. After the computer shows you a loser, and only two cards remain face down, you have an option: You can play the card that you selected - or you can switch (renege) and play the last remaining card. The computer has faced a loser from the cards that you didn't select (Center; Right). Should you play your selection - the card on the Left - or should you switch and play the last remaining card - the card in the Center ..? You want to win. So what decision do you make? Or does it even make any difference to your odds of winning, whether you play your selection, or renege and play the other card? Instead of posting, why not just send me a PM? I will respond with a link to a small essay that you can read online - and that way, you won't be "letting the cat out of the bag" for anyone else who wants to think about this. I will post only a statistical breakdown of the responses - no user names. Images: Iraq Playing Cards. Courtesy of WNBC, New York City, New York.
  2. Here's an idea that I think could be the basis of an interesting project for someone who is studying to go into one of the 3 O's (and perhaps, needs a project to complete for a course requirement), or possibly someone already in the profession who would like to elevate their computer skills. I call it "VirtualOptician." It would be an application of some basic Artifical Intelligence technology to create software that would input the known facts about a patient, and then compute a specific lens (or frame and lens) selection. I don't see that there is enough "juice" in it to provide the basis of a commercial enterprise or salable product. And my computer (an old Mac) is so far out of date that I don't see that I have the facility to experiment with this on my own. I think that you would need a Mac that can run MacOS X or a Windows 95/98/NT/XP computer to start a project like this. I think that some of the expertise of a dispensing optician could be readily converted into software using the techniques of rule-based programming. VirtualOptician would be the kind of computer program that is often referred to as an expert system. source: http://www.ghg.net/clips/WhatIsCLIPS.html A "microscopic" and just about self-explanatory example: IF patient_diagnosis IS hyperope OR myope THEN SET candidate_lens_database TO single_vision IF patient_diagnosis IS presbyope THEN SET candidate_lens_database TO multifocal CLIPS is freeware (freely available software) that supports rule-based programming. If you've ever written a computer program in "C", you can already see how my oh-so-brief example (above) of two (hugely simplified) dispensing rules could be translated into C code. My theory is that with CLIPS (or another software development tool of similar kind), it would be gynormously easier to develop an example of VirtualOptician using a carefully thought-out set of dispensing rules. VirtualOptician could process any/all of the data that a dispensing optician has to deal with; for example: M.D./O.D. data: diagnoses and new refraction data Patient summary age, sex, occupation, hobbies and recreations relevant health issues Current eyeglasses data current Rx, lens type(s), lens material(s), coatings known problems sees internal stress pattern of lenses at all angles/distances when using poly Frame measurement requirements Frame preferences Lens and frame databases condensed from manufacturer's data Practice specific database Our preferred lens suppliers are ... ... References CLIPS Home Page: http://www.ghg.net/clips/CLIPS.html CLIPS Related Web Locations: http://www.ghg.net/clips/OtherWeb.html A ton of information here, for anyone who would consider taking up the VirtualOptician project. Gensym - example of a proprietary rule-based programming engine http://www.gensym.com/ Putting a wrap on it ... THAT, ..., (and your points are very well taken) is the reason why I think this would be an excellent course project for a student going into one of the 3 O's - provided that they are at the level in their curriculum where this kind of research would be appropriate for them to take up. Another one of my points (and again, with my out of date Mac, I can only suggest it, without being able to confirm any of it myself) is that with CLIPS (or another rule-based programming tool), it should be much easier to undertake this project, than it would be using the more commonly known approach of straightforward "C" language programming. With CLIPS (etc.), the uniquely optical part of the project could be isolated from all of the other general software problems that attend the development of any sizable computer program. Running the program with realistic input data and examining the output (lens or lens and frame selections) would be a way of confirming the validity of the optical expertise, as expressed in the "rules" database. The project could also be taken up by an undergraduate level IT or computer engineering student. In that case, the focus would shift to the software side of the equation; for example, which of the various rule-based programming tools is actually the best one to use for this purpose? How many different kinds of information could be processed? Could they (for example) develop a practical way to process the same information that is used to create the OLA's yearly catalog of progressive lenses? And the optician's exact knowledge would move to the background: It would serve only as a realistic test case for proving the software technologies. As I said at the very top (of the thread), I put this forward as an idea for a student project: WRT whether more of the optician's job should be automated ("streamlined" might be a better word), or whether this could be used to facilitate more of those online optical shops: I am not trying to forward any of those particular ideas.
  3. Someone on OptiBoard has asked for information about the new Hoyalux ID progressive lens. This, I believe, is the most "advanced" and certainly the most expensive progressive lens from Hoya. If you know anything about this lens and want to make an input, or if you just want to see what you might learn about it, use this URL: http://www.optiboard.com/forums/showthread.php?t=15204 You would have to register yourself as an OptiBoard member to make a post. Very easy to do ... If you would like to see the Hoyalux ID lens webpage, just CLICK here: http://www.hoyaluxid.com/home.htm
  4. rinselberg


    I don't sing or play an instrument, but I've been listening to a lot of music on my Mac lately, which is fitted with auxiliary stereo speakers and a subwoofer. I have created a free online jukebox that anyone can visit by clicking on this link (just below). Mostly jazz, but I've "spiked it" with some movie soundtrack themes and some pop/rock tracks. Jukebox http://forums.laramyk.com/viewtopic.php?t=3