The Language of E-books

Competing formats and incompatible devices have spawned a complex lexicon

3 min read
The Language of E-books
Illustration: Richard Mia
Remember the Internet Explorer vs. Netscape “browser wars” back in 1995 or so? That’s where e-book formats are today.

Jani Patokallio

September 14, 2000, is a date which will live in, well, “nonfamy,” if I may be permitted such a neologism. That day, Microsoft released Windows Millennium Edition, its most forgettable operating system. It was also the day I posted the entry p-book to my Word Spy site, along with the following prognostication: “Within a few years, using the word ‘book’ without any kind of modifier will be confusing because people won’t know if you’re talking about a book printed on paper or one that’s printed on electrons (so to speak). So I predict that ‘p-book’…will become a common noun that will help us distinguish between the paper and electronic formats.”

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The Future of Deep Learning Is Photonic

Computing with light could slash the energy needs of neural networks

10 min read

This computer rendering depicts the pattern on a photonic chip that the author and his colleagues have devised for performing neural-network calculations using light.

Alexander Sludds

Think of the many tasks to which computers are being applied that in the not-so-distant past required human intuition. Computers routinely identify objects in images, transcribe speech, translate between languages, diagnose medical conditions, play complex games, and drive cars.

The technique that has empowered these stunning developments is called deep learning, a term that refers to mathematical models known as artificial neural networks. Deep learning is a subfield of machine learning, a branch of computer science based on fitting complex models to data.

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