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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Fat Fingers vs. HAL 9000

So now we are learning that "fat fingers" may not be responsible for the Wall Street roller coaster ride that made our hearts skip a beat and our retirement funds sink lie stones. Nope, it may be computer programs run amok.

Meet HAL 9000, the ultimate in artificial intelligence, the one who would be running our lives on the way to some distant planets in 2001. Instead, he may be running our life savings into the ground.

If you want to have your heart skip another beat, explore a little more about HAL, short for Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic Computer.
A heuristic algorithm, or simply a heuristic, is an algorithm that is able to produce an acceptable solution to a problem in many practical scenarios, in the fashion of a general heuristic, but for which there is no formal proof of its correctness. Alternatively, it may be correct, but may not be proven to produce an optimal solution, or to use reasonable resources.
Sound like Wall Street these days?

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