Software development, .Net, SQL Server, TDD, Agile, Community and other Odds and Sods
Mitch Wheat has been working as a professional programmer since 1984, graduating with a honours degree in Mathematics from Warwick University, UK in 1986. He moved to Perth in 1995, having worked in software houses in London and Rotterdam. He has worked in the areas of mining, electronics, research, defence, financial, GIS, telecommunications, engineering, and information management. Mitch has worked mainly with Microsoft technologies (since Windows version 3.0) but has also used UNIX. He holds the following Microsoft certifications: MCPD (Web and Windows) using C# and SQL Server MCITP (Admin and Developer). His preferred development environment is C#, .Net Framework and SQL Server. Mitch has worked as an independent consultant for the last 10 years, and is currently involved with helping teams improve their Software Development Life Cycle. His areas of special interest lie in performance tuning
Sunday, June 11, 2006
Bits and er, Bans
As most people are aware, the term bit is short for ‘binary digit’. The coining of this word is credited to the mathematician John Tukey, sometime in the late nineteen thirties or early forties.
Claude Shannon, the father of information theory, was a colleague of John Tukey at Bell Labs, and his way of defining the bit was the amount of information required to distinguish between two equally probable outcomes. Around the same time, the British cryptographer, Alan Turing, had also come up with an idea which represented the amount of evidence that made a guess ten times more likely to be true. He called this unit the ban. (Although I suppose that had this been the ‘winning’ formulation, the dit or ‘decimal digit’ might have been coined!)
These historical insights into the information age and many more can be found in “Fortune’s Formula” by William Poundstone. This is a great read featuring gamblers, mathematicians and gangsters with some classic one liners: “In 1974…A computer was something you saw in a movie (often it went berserk and killed people).”
MSN, Email: mitch døt wheat at gmail.com