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Peter J. Denning, Editor in ChiefThe digitally connected world has become a large, swirling sea of information stripped of context. We help our readers make sense of it, find meaning in it, learn what to trust, and speculate on our future.

Peter J. Denning,




October 2016
by Alessio Malizia, Alan Chamberlain

Have you ever thought of "lying" to your smartphone to protect your privacy? Everyday we face a dilemma about privacy: We take advantage of apps that are able to use our location or data to provide "smart" services at the expense of privacy (we all know our data can be supplied to third parties), or we cling on to our privacy and ignore the benefits of such smart technologies.

It does not have to necessarily be like this, in this article we describe the rise of a new kind of intelligent apps we called Screwbots---programs that can access the personal data we share on the cloud and scramble it ("screw it up"), or intentionally lie by reducing data accuracy, to protect our privacy.



Unums 2.0: An Interview with John L. Gustafson

September 2016
Interviewed by Walter Tichy

In this follow-up interview, John Gustafson goes beyond unum 1.0. Type 2 unums pave the way for custom number systems that squeeze the maximum accuracy out of a given number of bits. This new format could have prime applications in deep learning, big data, and exascale computing. ...


Rethinking Randomness: An interview with Jeff Buzen, Part II

August 2016
Interviewed by Peter J. Denning

In Part 1, Jeff Buzen discussed the basic principles of his new approach to randomness, which is the topic of his book Rethinking Randomness. He continues here with a more detailed discussion of models that have been used successfully to predict the performance of systems ranging from early time sharing computers to modern web servers. ...


Rethinking Randomness: An interview with Jeff Buzen, Part I

August 2016
Interviewed by Peter J. Denning

For more than 40 years, Jeffrey Buzen has been a leader in performance prediction of computer systems and networks. His first major contribution was an algorithm, known now as Buzen's Algorithm, that calculated the throughput and response time of any practical network of servers in a few seconds. Since then, he formulated a more complete theory of randomness, which he calls "observational stochastics." Last year he published the book "Rethinking Randomness," which lays out his new theory. We talked with Jeff Buzen about his work. ...