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The Inspiration of Great Architecture

Buffalo is home to truly spectacular architecture. We have many landmark buildings, historic sites, and cultural attractions and to appreciate them is to be reminded that Western New York was once at the cutting edge of architecture and landscape design that served to make Buffalo an aesthetically pleasing place to live and work. These works of art were conceived and built during a time of remarkable wealth generated as a result of Buffalo’s location at the western terminus of the Erie Canal and a transportation hub for goods moving between the Mid-West and East Coast.

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Don’t shoot.

Criminologist David M. Kennedy’s (1) strategy for reducing gang violence has dramatically reduced youth homicide rates nationwide. Dubbed the “Boston Miracle,” this strategy brings together all the key actors in a neighborhood from the police and community members to gang members, drug dealers, and their mothers and grandmothers to openly discuss their issues. Boston’s youth murders were cut by two thirds after installation of the program (2).

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New Graph Library

A new graph library that provides the right graphs at the right time and with the right information has been developed by Cognigen Corporation, a leading provider of pharmacometric analysis and support services. Comprehensive graphical exploratory data analysis is essential to building pharmacometric models of drug behavior. Previously, deciding which graphs were required to describe the data and then creating a new program for each graph consumed excessive time from both scientists and programmers.

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Life’s Too short

In a recent Wall Street Journal column, Terry Teachout had a wonderful essay questioning the complexity of modern art.* He quotes from James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake, which contains sentences like this:

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Pandora Internet Radio

I found that I was getting into a musical rut and had a hard time finding new music I liked. Then I stumbled on Pandora Internet Radio. On Pandora, you create your own “radio station” by naming a favorite song or artist. Pandora scans thousands of pieces of music that have been analyzed by something called the Music Genome Project to identify those with similar attributes to the one you named. Voilà! New music for you to enjoy.

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Our Move to New Offices

“Thirty minutes until system shut-down” was the announcement over the loudspeaker that signaled the start of the move to new office space.

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Modeling as a framework for knowledge synthesis.

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You WILL Innovate!

Few among us would think highly of a leader who directed us to innovate on demand. After all, innovation is something that comes from a mysterious creative force that strikes like lightning to the fortunate inventor, bringing with it fame and fortune. Think Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard; Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak; Bill Gates; Mark Zuckerberg; or Tim Berners-Lee (huh?) [1].

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Disambiguation

I first came across the word “disambiguation” at a weekend workshop called Ontology in Science. (There is so much that’s just wrong about what I just admitted, but never mind.) I like this word a lot because it makes people ask, “for goodness sake, what are you talking about?” But disambiguation is a serious word, especially in science. It means “to remove ambiguity.” Once you learn that there is a word for getting rid of ambiguity, you begin to realize how much ambiguity there is in the world, especially when people communicate. And it seems to me that the smarter the people and the more complex the topic, the more disambiguation is necessary.

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Living Tongues

Languages, even seldom-used languages, can tell us a great deal about how a group of people categorize the natural and mental world, says Jeff Good, a linguistics professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo (1). Languages are rich in the history and taxonomy of a place, reflecting subtleties that can be lost in translation, says Greg Anderson, an ethnographer who directs Oregon’s Living Tongues Institute (2). When the last keepers of a language die off, so does the fluent understanding of that particular environment.

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