October 19th, 2003

  • evan

things i've been impressed by lately

Amazon’s talk: by exposing their web API, people were using it in all sorts of imaginate ways. How imaginative? Someone made some software where you could use a camera cell phone to take a picture of a barcode in a store; the software would then query Amazon for their price for the product and send it back to your phone.

Word meanings: rather than trying to use top-down dictionary definitions to get the meanings of words, researchers in 1995 tried it the way humans do it. They downloaded 300 million words of Usenet then analyzed them just for their (lexical!) context. Then the “difference” between words could be calculated, and (at least in the picture in this book) words like puppy and dog are near each other, while america and europe are far away from those but also clustered together.