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the incomplete thoughts of Prithwis Mukerjee

Updated: 2018-02-15T13:44:30.395+05:30


Time, Gödel & Mahākāl


In the evolutionary ascent of man, the idea of time is perhaps the first concept that differentiates him from his animal past. Unlike a human being, an animal, say a cow, has no -- or very rudimentary -- memories of the past, and certainly no hopes and plans for the future. It lives in the perennial present and is motivated only by the current state of its environment and its own current state

Saraswati 2018


Astrology - an application of Data Science


Every morning, when the sun rises, birds wake up and start chirping. We are not surprised because we see a very clear connection between a cause, the increase in ambient light, and the effect it has in waking up the birds. But when the sun rises, the Ispat Express moves out from Howrah station as well. Even in this case we are not surprised even though there is no obvious connection between the

The fourth R : Computer Programming in Schools


The three ‘R’s -- Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic -- are the three fundamental skills that are compulsory in the curriculum of all primary schools. Should another R --  computer progRamming --  be also included as the fourth fundamental skill?  Computer programming -- as in Java or C++ -- is already being taught as an optional subject in many schools in classes  IX and X as  and Computer Science

Managing GST efficiently with Blockchain and GSTCoin (⇞)


Bitcoin is the rage! With an unbelievable appreciation in prices, many people want to invest in this red-hot cryptocurrency but whether the current valuation is a bubble that will burst is an open question. What is indisputable however is the immense versatility of the blockchain technology that is used in bitcoin -- and all cryptocurrencies. GST too is the rage, or rather the cause of rage

Google Sheets with SQL


The Google App Suite ( or G-Suite) of products is a powerful and free alternative to the traditional Office Suite and includes among others Docs, Sheets and Slides. Google Sheets offers full spreadsheet functionality and in this post and sample, we show how data stored in Google Sheets spreadsheets can be accessed with SQL. This post assumes that the reader is familar with standard spreadsheet

Quantum Computers


My presentation on Quantum Computers at the Cypher 2017 conference in Bangalore on 21 September 2017 more information about Quantum Computers is available in an earlier blog post.

A Central Cyber Defence Authority for Digital India


The weekend of 8th - 10th July 2017 was a little different from most other weekends. First, late on Friday night, the Airtel network in the NCR region went down because of a data corruption in one of their critical computers. Then, and the exact time is not known, someone hacked, or illegally accessed, the Jio customer database, retrieved confidential identity data about customers, including

The IT Professional & the Zone of Comfort


Rapid advances in machine learning and the spectacular success of artificial intelligence software in, say, self-driving cars, voice recognition and chatbots for customer service, is sending shivers of anxiety through IT employees. The havoc that robots and automation technology has played with the jobs of blue collared workers on the shop floor, is now travelling upward into white collar

Facebook : How it meddles with your mind


Facebook is the mythical 800-lb gorilla in the media world that, as the original joke goes, “sits down wherever it wants to”. With 1.2 billion pairs of eyeballs eyeing it every day, it has an audience greater than any American, European or Asian TV news network, newspaper or online news portal. This immense reach also makes it the most effective medium of entertainment. In societies where it

OLAP Data Cube with SQL


As an erstwhile DBA, a long time user and a great admirer of the SQL language -- that has stood the test of time for the last 30 years -- I have always sought to use SQL in many useful ways. In an earlier post, I had shown how SQL can be used to solve a classic data science problem, namely Clustering, using the K-Means algorithm and today, I demonstrate how SQL can be used to process OLAP data

Quantum Computers


Quantum mechanics is a subject that has the strange property of simultaneously being logically rigorous and yet completely counterintuitive. So much so, that even a towering intellect like Einstein could never bring himself to accept its principles even though products based on the same exist all around us. The earliest oddity, identified by Schrodinger, one of the founders of quantum mechanics

Order, Stability or Chaos?


Global, national and local societies face many threats. We are threatened by enemies -- internal and external -- who want to destroy our way of life. We are plagued with environmental degradation as we quickly try to ramp up the economy and improve our living standards. Finally our own social systems are in tatters because efforts to mitigate the effects of the first two reasons are stymied by

Biohackers & Biohackspaces


The ubiquity of computers and smartphones and the pervasive presence of digital technology means that everybody who is reading this article is familiar with hackers. Hackers, as we all believe, are evil people, who either create viruses that ruin our machines or access our computers to steal confidential information with the intention to cause harm. We also have ethical, or white-hat, hackers,

Beautiful and unusual gift from PMI West Bengal


Yesterday, I had the good fortune to have been invited to speak at the PMI Regional conference where instead of the regular, and pointless, bouquet of flowers that is traditionally given to the keynote speaker, I was presented with the following certificate what this means is that PMI has paid some money to plant 10 trees on my behalf and "my tree" is visible in at the URL

Spark with Python in Jupyter Notebook on Amazon EMR Cluster


In the previous post, we saw how to run a Spark - Python program in a Jupyter Notebook on a standalone EC2 instance on Amazon AWS, but the real interesting part would be to run the same program on genuine Spark Cluster consisting of one master and multiple slave machines. The process is explained pretty well in Tom Zeng's blog post and we follow the same strategy here. 1. Install AWS Command

Spark with Python in Jupyter Notebook on a single Amazon EC2 instance


In an earlier post I have explained how to run Python+Spark program with Jupyter on local machine and in a subsequent post, I will explain how the same can be done an AWS EMR cluster of multiple machines. In this post, I explain how this can be done on a single EC2 machine instance running Ubuntu on Amazon AWS. The strategy described in this blog post is based on strategies described in posts

Raja Shashanka and the Calendar in Bengal


The origin of the Bengali calendar On Saturday, 15th April 2017 Common Era, Bengalis in India, especially in West Bengal, Assam and Tripura, will celebrate the 1st Baisakh, or “Poila Boisakh”, 1424 Bengal Era (BE) -- the start of the Bengali New Year. Most of us are aware that the globally used Common Era, or Christian Era, starts with the birth of Jesus Christ in 1 CE, but what exactly is

The Entangled Future of Man & Machine


First we had computers, then we had the world wide web and now we are talking about IOT, the Internet of Things. Computers are now pervasive and have occupied every nook and corner of life. Artificial intelligence seems to be growing bigger, faster and smarter everyday. Science fiction writers have often spoken of machines taking over the world but is that pure fantasy or is it a matter of time

Time Travel


A historical perspective “What is time?” Asks James Gleick, in this history of Time Travel. “We know that it is imperceptible. It is immaterial. We cannot see it, hear it or touch it. Time is what clocks measure. But what is a clock? An instrument for the measurement of time. The snake swallows its tail again!” This is the kind of circular logic that the author tries to break out of in this

Faster, Cheaper .. CRISPR


Let us imagine a quaint little colony where you and I live in peace but this peace is very often disturbed by outsiders who come in and dump garbage or play loud, ear-splitting music. What do we do? We collect photographs of the items that have created a nuisance in the past -- garbage bins, sound systems --  and store them in a photo album. We hire guards and give them  copies of photographs

Asimov’s Children - Robots in Space


When I was a child, we used to spend Durga Puja at the foot of the Ayodhya Hills, Purulia where one of the fascinations was to spot artificial satellites, with our naked eyes, as they darted through the stars across the night sky. This Deepawali, parked in the pristine gardens of the Tumsong Tea Retreat near the dreamy town of Ghoom, Darjeeling, I was looking forward to a similar sky show when

Donald Trump -- why am I not perturbed?


I just read in the newspapers that Donald Trump has been sworn in as 45th President of the United States and so the world is about to come to an end. It is the end of globalisation and the beginning of new protectionist order where the new mantra is buy American and hire American. It is the end of liberal democracy and the beginning of a new Putin-style illiberal autocracy. Francis Fukuyama and

Habitats in Space : Our Second Home


If not on Earth, where else can humans beings be? Not as a traveller in a spacecraft or as a one-off tourist on the Moon but as an immigrant, or a colonizer who sets up a permanent residency for multiple generations. Given our current knowledge of physics and the state of propulsion technology, we really do not have the ability to travel to other stars in a reasonable amount of time, so our