back to article Failed gambler? How about an algorithm that predicts the future

Another coffee, please. Yes, I know we're about to start. There is always time for one more coffee. It's good for your brain. Thanks. Could you hold my cup for a moment? I need to visit the restroom. Yes, I know we're about to start; you told me that already. There is always time for coffee AND a comfort break. Yes, I know the …

  1. b0llchit Silver badge
    Pint

    Half full or empty

    ...coffee-cup-half-full type...

    As an engineer, I reject the half full/empty premise and submit that the cup was not produced with the correct specification.

    1. chapter32

      Re: Half full or empty

      As a project manager I would say that was an agile cup.

      1. Patched Out

        Re: Half full or empty

        As a reliability/safety engineer, I would say that the cup was designed with 100% safety margin.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Half full or empty

          As a field engineer, I'm having to explain why marketing said the plastic water cup could be used for hot coffee when it clearly can't. Hence why half the contents are on the ground.

          1. Rameses Niblick the Third Kerplunk Kerplunk Whoops Where's My Thribble?

            Re: Half full or empty

            As an auditor, I require a detailed explanation of where the other half of the coffee went, why it wasn't accounted for and a report detailing how you intend to mitigate this in the future

            1. Citizen of Nowhere

              Re: Half full or empty

              Helpdesk here. To stop burning your fingers and spilling half your coffee you're going to need to superglue the broken handle back on (although the sales guys did suggest buying a new cup).

          2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

            Re: Half full or empty

            As a software developer, I'm half way to my next mug of coffee.

        2. HildyJ Silver badge

          Re: Half full or empty

          AS a software developer, we're working on a patch for that.

          1. Stoneshop Silver badge
            Coffee/keyboard

            Re: Half full or empty

            As Application Support we've been waiting for that fix for over a year, and it's still listed as being in the next sprint. Perhaps you should feed your snails some coffee.

      2. newspuppy

        Re: Half full or empty

        The cup is agile.. or the bladder is agile?

    2. BenDwire Silver badge

      Re: Half full or empty

      As a grumpy retired engineer, I submit that the cup is half empty, the contents are stone cold, the cup has a chipped rim and I've just cut my lip on it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Half full or empty

        As a pedantic, I would said if I'm drinkng from it, it's half empty. If you're filling it's half full.

        There again, I don't drink the stuff - what do I know?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Half full or empty

          I think you mean "as a pedant"

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Half full or empty

            You should be grateful that something was left on the table for you, even if it was half full; or empty.

        2. Omgwtfbbqtime

          Re: Half full or empty

          As a Far side fan - I ordered a cheese burger.

    3. Pascal Monett Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Half full or empty

      I reject that argument entirely. As far as I'm concerned, if you're asking the question, the cup needs to be refilled.

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: Half full or empty

        I reject that argument entirely. As far as I'm concerned, if you're asking the question, the cup needs to be refilled.

        I vote for this as the best answer/solution. I raise my cup in salute to you sir.

        1. Horst U Rodeinon

          Re: Half full or empty

          Yes, but is the cup you're hoisting full, half full, half empty, or empty?

          1. Ghostman

            Re: Half full or empty

            None of the Above: The cup has reached it's nominal functionality by achieving only a 50% rate of capacity.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Half full or empty

      As a Stackiverflow user, I'd say drinking coffee is depreciated and no longer best practice, you really should be brewing tea instead.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Half full or empty

        "I'd say drinking coffee is depreciated [...]"

        Well we do seem to have an inflationary spiral - but I think your spelling checker should have used "deprecated",.

        1. Stoneshop Silver badge
          Headmaster

          Re: Half full or empty

          but I think your spelling checker should have used "deprecated",

          That word has been depreciationelised.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Half full or empty

        Shirly tea is an infusion, not a brew. (Lancastrians excepted, of course)

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Half full or empty

          Ah, I see I managed to trigger a Yorkshireman :-)

    5. HandleAlreadyTaken

      Re: Half full or empty

      As a one percenter, I say "This cup? It's not my cup! My cup was full! AND it was a bigger cup!"

      (badly quoted from Terry Pratchett, the source of all wisdom)

    6. herman Silver badge

      Re: Half full or empty

      It is due to inflation, to avoid having to double the price of the coffee.

    7. KittenHuffer Silver badge

      Re: Half full or empty

      Obligatory XKCD: https://what-if.xkcd.com/6/

  2. Sam not the Viking Silver badge
    Pint

    We need this

    "...a beautiful concept of actually building prediction functionalities directly into the database..."

    That would be like auto-correct then.

    Inflatable, er, infallible.

    1. Alistair Dabbs Silver badge

      Re: We need this

      In the early days, autocorrect would routinely replace 'Alistair' with 'Alligator'. This was annoying when it happened but amusing when I failed to notice.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: amusing when I failed to notice.

        Aha, my friends, you now see that our mental conditioning technique has worked after all. Our friend A, originally given a whimsical and moderately embarrassing animal-themed name by his parents, now *truly* believes he is really called the much less socially troublesome name "Alister" instead. And since all the altered documentation has been in place for some time, I think we can call this a wrap!

        ...

        ...

        Hmm, mind you, there is still the "Dabbs". Do you think we could maybe do better? :-)

  3. Franco Silver badge

    I'd try and write some sort of clever comment normally, but right now for some reason I'm entirely focused on coffee.

    I predict the future is caffeinated.

    1. Warm Braw Silver badge

      I was always taught a fresh cup of really hot tea offered better prospects, though I've never been able to afford the finite improbability generator.

      1. Franco Silver badge

        To be fair it's a big problem powering your infinite improbability drive when the onboard drinks dispenser produces a drink that is almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Growing up I always saw the evenings and the future as peaceful and mentally quiet, with wonderful music playing (LP's on the record deck) and everyone sitting around talking while sharing a puff with each other and passing the album covers around, enjoying company and conversations.

      But now that's illegal and we're drinking coffee and posting on social media instead, is this our caffeinated future?

  4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    tspDB? A teaspoon database?

    Connecting it to BitCoin & the like should be interesting - if it handles the feedback correctly it will disappear up its own oracle.

  5. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "My entire lab really loved this project."

    Back in the day N Ireland didn't use the blow-in-the-bag breathalyser. They had a device using wet chemistry, colorimetry and operator input to obtain the final reading. The RUC operators needed training courses and the training courses needed other RUC officer volunteers to be test subjects (I don't thing there were any conscripts) and consume alcohol. There was a slight downside in that it involved having several blood samples taken over the course of the day although I suppose they were feeling less pain as the day progressed.

    A colleague had the job of managing herding the volunteers. She reported that some of them got a bit upset that the course was paused for the lunch break and broke into the drinks cupboard.

    1. CuChulainn Silver badge
      Happy

      Hey, you just triggered a memory of something I hadn't thought about in donkeys' years - the original breathalyser used by police at the roadside.

      It, too, used wet chemistry - you blew through a tube of crystals into a bag and the colour change in the crystals reflected the approximate amount of alcohol present in your breath and likely got you a trip to the station.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Call that wet chemistry? This one, as I recall, bubbled the breath at a controlled rate through an actual solution.

        1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

          Eh, in my day, it wasn't wet chemistry unless the fire sprinklers are going off in the lab...

          ...and you tell that to the kids today...

        2. CuChulainn Silver badge
          Happy

          "Call that wet chemistry?"

          As a chemist, yes ;-)

          I would imagine the one you used was intended to be more accurate as it used a colorimeter to assess the colour change, but I would also imagine it was still based on potassium dichromate. The dichromate has to be wet or moist for it to react with the alcohol.

          But anyway, you did remind me of something I hadn't thought about for decades.

    2. swm Silver badge

      "My entire lab really loved this project."

      At GE where they built microwave ovens one researcher used to bake cakes in them. He could tell by how the cake rose where the microwave energy was going.

      Around 4:00 a large crowd of researchers gathered around to eat the discarded cakes.

      1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        It's fun to microwave Peeps (those marshmallow ducks with the colored sugar coating). You can see them "breathe" when the microwave is set on 50% duty cycle, and if it has a turntable you can see when they go through the hot spots in the cavity.

        Best of all, after a minute, you get that wonderful roasted marshmallow smell, and you get to eat the test subject!

  6. chivo243 Silver badge
    Happy

    Old pizza crusts

    and Stonehenge research? I'm in! Let me help you with that pizza!

  7. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Coffee is good for health!

    For the french speaking audience: Un caoua SVP!

    1. Alistair Dabbs Silver badge

      Re: Coffee is good for health!

      That was fun, thanks.

    2. Dr_N Silver badge

      Re: Coffee is good for health!

      That's a fairly accurate portrait of a French working life with coffee.

      Except maybe not enough handshaking. (Or failed handshake/fist-bump these days.)

  8. Howard Sway Silver badge

    coffee cup half empty

    If the algorithm predicts that the algorithm isn't going to be very good and you're going to need a bigger algorithm, that's when you know it's started to truly understand the world - when it starts making more work for itself in order to keep its job. That's when you'll know that it's passed the Consultancy Horizon.

    1. You aint sin me, roit
      Mushroom

      Re: The Consultancy Horizon...

      I saw a documentary about that.

      Once the horizon had been crossed someone tried to pull the plug... and that's how we ended up with terminators running around in California!

  9. Dr_N Silver badge
    Coat

    Dexter

    Luckily the Cartoon Network one, not the blood splatter serial killer one

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dexter

      Either are good programmes to watch!

  10. Kubla Cant Silver badge

    If I asked them what this algorithm might look like in its final form, they'd probably say: "Er… brown?"

    Well, the eponymous Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi was from Iran.

    1. DJV Silver badge

      Dunno about brown...

      ...but mauve has more RAM.

    2. Irony Deficient Silver badge

      Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi

      As his name indicates, he was from Khwarazm, on the Amu Darya river delta, which is immediately south of what was once the southern shore of the Aral Sea; thus, he was from the Umayyad caliphate, which included, but was not exclusively, Iran. (Using modern borders, he was from either Uzbekistan or Turkmenistan.) Twelve centuries before al-Khwarizmi’s birth, though, Khwarazm had been part of Iran under the Achaemenids.

  11. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Where there’s AI Will there are Myriad New Ways to Skin Dead Bouncing Cats*

    "This is a beautiful concept of actually building prediction functionalities directly into the database," confirms co-author Devavrat Shah. "It has never been done before, and so we want to make sure the world uses it."

    Oh please, ... never been done before? Of course, it has. Have you not been paying attention? Where have you been?

    And here be crown jewel stating evidence proving/illuminating the fact, and in so doing also beta tests El Reg resolve to continue leading reporting on matters both extremely sensational and disruptively controversial? :-) I Kid U Not Either.

    amanfromMars [2205190929] ...... ventures on https://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/articles/2022/5/18/shyu-announces-new-fund-to-help-small-businesses

    [Thank you. Your comment will be displayed soon after reviewing.]

    The simplest and most direct viable route for a deservedly rapid disbursement/granting of funds is not necessarily in any specific client developer application but rather more, and it be much better servered whenever so, by the funder recognising the significant advantages and highly disruptive possibilities which be clearly enough widely freely revealed in readily available documentation/virtual presentation as an inevitable series of events which can be impossible to prevent and/or avoid.

    Immediate stealthy principal engagement then allows for the probability that any feared destructive remote agent proprietary intellectual property can be contained and retained and maintained and restrained and retrained for a greater universal use.

    The Reactionary Funder following a Promising Stream then seamlessly morphs into HyperRadioProACTive Sponsor delivering Dreams for Teams. I Kid U Not.

    And the Advanced IntelAIgent Methodology trailed and trialed there, is here beta testing Pentagon Defense Research and Engineering capabilities and utilities/vulnerabilities and fragilities ‽

    Yes, it certainly is ..... and also beta testing the suitability of the NDIA and their National DEFENSE magazine to host and post in the public domain, worthy breaking national security news.

    * Dead cat bounce ........ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dead_cat_bounce

    1. Alistair Dabbs Silver badge

      Re: Where there’s AI Will there are Myriad New Ways to Skin Dead Bouncing Cats*

      I'm intrigued. Is that an actual quote or a bunch of paragraphs produced by a word randomizer?

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Where there’s AI Will there are Myriad New Ways to Skin Dead Bouncing Cats*

        "produced by a word randomizer"

        Or a marketing department. You'd need a Turing test 2.0 to see if there's a difference. What does the Twitter Bot Identification System say?

      2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: Where there’s AI Will there are Myriad New Ways to Skin Dead Bouncing Cats*

        Is that an actual quote or a bunch of paragraphs produced by a word randomizer?

        It's amanfrommars, is there a difference?

        1. Citizen of Nowhere

          Re: Where there’s AI Will there are Myriad New Ways to Skin Dead Bouncing Cats*

          And I guess National Defense Magazine is less indulgent of Martians than ElReg:

          "[Thank you. Your comment will be displayed soon after reviewing.]"

          There are no comments displayed under the news article amanfrommars was commenting on ;-)

          1. billat29

            Re: Where there’s AI Will there are Myriad New Ways to Skin Dead Bouncing Cats*

            He/it/they have been spotted here

            https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2020/09/your-man-in-the-public-gallery-assange-hearing-day-7/comment-page-1/

            But seeing as this version doesn't ramble so much, it's likely to be tailoring its output according to its audience

      3. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Re: Where there’s AI Will there are Myriad New Ways to Skin Dead Bouncing Cats*

        In furtherance of intriguing satisfaction, Dabbsy, yes and no are the answers to the question you posted.

      4. Stoneshop Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: Where there’s AI Will there are Myriad New Ways to Skin Dead Bouncing Cats*

        Yes

  12. Pete 2 Silver badge

    I predict failure

    > I look forward to tspDB disrupting the gullibility market by not spouting bollocks.

    But ... isn't the gullibility market based on the sound business model of telling people what they want to hear?

    Much like the newspaper market, if you don't like one version of the news just find a different one.

  13. Sandgrounder
    Alert

    A data revolution

    A database that can predict its own data. Imagine the opportunities this will provide

    - No more clunky data access code for inserts / updates, the db knows what is about to arrive.

    - Banks no longer needing to track transactions, they can simply predict your balance.

    - Instant democracy, no more pesky voting, results will be in before the count starts

    - As for IoT, forget it. We can predict what sensors would have been installed along with the readings

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: A data revolution

      But their tspDB's predictions of my balance might not agree with mine.

      1. ThatOne Silver badge

        Re: A data revolution

        B-But, you won't go as far as question the Computer's wisdom, do you???

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: A data revolution

        Then obviously, you are wrong.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A data revolution

      I think several countries already have such mechanisms. The USA and UK are the latest to see the ongoing benefits it accrues to the ruling clique.

    3. A____B

      Already done (allegedly)

      Back last century, we had a batch of PCs which kept getting memory induced blue screens on a pilot project.

      Called in the DEC [remember them?] account manager for a word on our ** "disappointment".

      Along came the account manager and one of his pre-sales, 'technical support' guys who explained to us in condescending tones that:

      "Windows NT uses pre-emptive multi-tasking. This means that the system knows what you want to do next and loads data into memory ready to run for efficiency. If you do something unexpected, it has the wrong data, which is why we're seeing the crashes." In other words it was our fault!!

      After the "if it's so smart, it can write my document for me as it 'knows' what I want to do" comments, the guy was promptly escorted from the premises and the DEC account manager informed that, if that was the quality of the support, then the main project would [against our company's procurement recommendations] be run on HP hardware. And, indeed, HP got the job (and later DEC too, via Compaq -- but I doubt our order change caused that!)

      Strange that they didn't predict that bullsh*tting rarely works, patronising condescension works even more rarely and a successful outcome from the combination of the two is even less likely than finding a straight talking, honest politician.

      ** my employers - no royal pretensions :-)

  14. Semtex451
    Joke

    "wishes he was better at organized thinking and mathematics so that he would be better at writing" Should have left it there Dabsy ;)

    Pints are on me its Friday

  15. Tim99 Silver badge
    Coat

    Err…

    Isn’t an app programmer just something that turns coffee into code?

    Mine has the arabica beans and K&R in the pockets >>=======>

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm trying an experiment in the garden by throwing all my used paper ground coffee bags on a flower bed. So far the Fuchsias are still thriving. So much for the theory that the coffee plant uses caffeine to stop other plants getting too close to it.

    1. ThatOne Silver badge

      It's just making them nervous.

  17. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

    top ten reasons for choosing a programming language

    10. Semicolons hate me.

    Python then.

  18. oiseau Silver badge
    Pint

    Dabbs' best phrase

    Everyone is talking about coffee and algorithms and skinning bouncing cats.

    But I have not seen a single mention on the best phrase in Mr. Dabbs' last article:

    ... will be popular in the world of finance and other such crooks.

    +1 Mr. Dabbs.

    Have a good week-end and one on me. --->

    O.

  19. tiggity Silver badge
    Devil

    Coffee cup

    A 50% coffee cup means it is time to walk to the coffee maker to make a new one, by the time the new coffee is ready you will have finished drinking the old one.

    Repeat until heart palpitations act as an indication of enough coffee for the day.

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