Saturday, July 11, 2015

Hello from Madrid! GECCO - day 1

Hello everyone from Madrid, Spain! First of all, it is quite hellish weather here - no clouds whatsoever and close to 40°C (I won't tell you Farenheits because I hate that!) in the shadow. At least there is some wind blowing... Anyway, today was the first day of GECCO, or more precisely the workshops and tutorials before the main conference. My main focus was the Student Workshop where I presented my paper which I won't write about yet because the Evolution in Computer, pt. 3 is not out yet. As a matter of fact, pt. 2 is not out yet too for which I'm very sorry (but it's almost ready to be released, maybe I'll post it while still in Madrid, stay tuned).

Low or No Cost Distributed Evolutionary Computation

One of the very few tutorials I had time to attend was this one given by JJ Merelo of Universidad de Granada.

It was about how to use (almost) free (to you) resources to do your evolutionary computation job. He claimed to use JavaScript because it is a standard, it is everywhere and you can write both client and server app (through node.js) and that you should to it in JavaScript because in the end you must write both the client and server so why not do both in the same language. Good point, but he probably does not know about Dart. That one has all the attributes of JavaScript he presented and it is not **** :). By the way, if you want to know more about Dart and things around, look at a blog of a friend of mine, Jana Moudrá, who is also a Google Developer Expert on Dart.

Back to the tutorial. The main point was to distribute the evolutionary computation using pool EA. Unfortunately, he didn't talk about that, instead he talked about the technical realization of such distributed computation. The idea is to use web browsers, which are the new operating systems, of ordinary people to run parts of your computation. In other words, turn people into computing power by „convincing“ them to visit your page that contains the client code that will make them take part in the distributed computation. The second main idea is to use (almost) free services to run the server part (he mentioned Heroku and OpenShift). The third idea is to tell about this to people using social networks (he mentioned Twitter) to get as many „clicks“ as possible. But not to smuggle the dirty computation hidden somewhere in an otherwise innocent page, but be open, honest and give „something“ in return. That something is to be knowledge, e.g. code on github.

Should I rate the tutorial, I would say I'm a little bit disappointed. I expected more about the algorithmic part, but on the other hand the idea of using web browsers of ordinary people is brilliant.

That concludes the day one at the Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference or GECCO in Madrid, Spain. Stay tuned for the next day.