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Suggested readings week 7/2023

Suggested readings week 7/2023

Exploring knowledge

Abraham Flexner was the founding director of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton (IAS).

He wrote this classic essay on knowledge in 1939 and still this is an extraordinary call for actions for all public and private research institutes, to build on top of useless knowledge and not only focused experiments.

You can choose an excerpt or the full essay.



Homomorphic encryption software programming

The core idea of fully homomorphic encryption (henceforth FHE) is that you can encrypt data and then run programs on it without ever decrypting it.

In case you might think this is nerdish geekish math, consider having a rare desease that a private research insititute can help solving by doing lots of calculations on your DNA properties. And that those properties reveal your inner habits and social behaviours. And that the same institute need to combine results from a number of persons with and without the same desease. And with all good intentions on all sides, an incident occurs and private data gets published unintentionally.

Wouldn't you prefer the calculations being performed on encrypted data, without the private research institute having themselves the right to look into DNA profiles? This is homomorphic encryption, and homomorphic encryption compiler is kind of the ultimate enabler of this strange and useful technology.



The venerable Byte Magazine was an immense source of amusing and interesting essays back in the early days of personal computing and computer science popularization. Columnists and one time authors enternained with all sorts of amazing news from the business and from their own backyard, in a strange mixture of personal views and global trends reporting.


Out of love with cars

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, transportation accounted for the highest share of global greenhouse gas emissions in a partitioning scheme of six sectors, in 2020. Light duty vehicles accounted for more than half of that. So it does make sense to act against transportation pollution, side by side with measures for all other sources.

The good news is that younger generations are falling out of love with personal vehicles.