John Underkoffler Points to the Future of UI [ Ted 2010 ]

“When Tom Cruise put on his data glove and started whooshing through video clips of future crimes, how many of us felt the stirrings of geek lust? This iconic scene in Minority Report marked a change in popular thinking about interfaces — showing how sexy it could be to use natural gestures, without keyboard, mouse or command line.   John Underkoffler led the team that came up with this interface, called the g-speak Spatial Operating Environment. His company, Oblong Industries, was founded to move g-speak into the real world. Oblong is building apps for aerospace, bioinformatics, video editing and more. But the big vision is ubiquity: g-speak on every laptop, every desktop, every microwave oven, TV, dashboard. ‘It has to be like this,” he says. “We all of us every day feel that. We build starting there. We want to change it all.’ Before founding Oblong, Underkoffler spent 15 years at MIT’s Media Laboratory, working in holography, animation and visualization techniques, and building the I/O Bulb and Luminous Room Systems.”

Claude Shannon – Father of Information Theory

This summer in the Complex Systems Advanced Academic Workshop we are devoting attention to information theory.  In collecting some materials about Claude Shannon, I came across the above video and thought I would share it with others.  Here is the description … “Considered the founding father of the electronic communication age, Claude Shannon’s work ushered in the Digital Revolution. This fascinating program explores his life and the major influence his work had on today’s digital world through interviews with his friends and colleagues.”

Computational World Cup

The Financial Times’s Alphaville blog recently covered a number of quantitative models for predicting World Cup outcomes – models developed by well-known “quant” desks.  Though this may seem like a waste of brains and shareholder value, World Cup outcomes are historically predictive of regional equity performance; furthermore, recent trends in securitization have not passed over sports as large as soccer.  Here are the respective desks’ picks:

  • JPM: England 1st, Spain 2nd, Netherlands 3rd (notes)
  • UBS: Brazil 1st, Germany 2nd, Italy 3rd (notes, p. 37)
  • GS: England, Argentina, Brazil, Spain (unranked) (notes, p. 71)
  • Dankse Bank: Brazil 1st, Germany 2nd (notes)

As could be expected, there is some disagreement as to the value of these predictions.  Gary Jenkins of Evolution Securities chimes in with his own thoughts:

Yes it’s that time again when analysts like me who can barely predict what is going to happen in the market the following day turn away from our area of so called expertise and instead focus our attention on who is going to win the World Cup. I first got involved in this attempt to get some publicity 8 years ago, when Goldman Sachs produced a report combining economics and the World Cup and included their predictions as to who would get to the last four (I believe they got them all wrong) and had Sir Alex Ferguson pick his all time best World Cup team. I decided to do the same thing but had to explain that we could not afford Sir Alex. Thus I got my dad to pick his all time team. It caused more client complaints than most of my research and my favourites to win the tournament got knocked out early, so I abandoned this kind of research for a while.

Again, for more interesting coverage of the real-world effects of the World Cup, see FT Alphaville’s South Africa 2010 series.  P.S. Go Azzurri this afternoon!

Roundup of Coverage: Alvin Greene and the South Carolina Senate Primary

This is a bit far afield for the typical things we highlight on this blog.  However, we thought this was an interesting story.  Both Tom Schaller ( and John Sides (The Monkey Cage) offer good initial analysis of the outcome.  The other three references are simply offered for those seeking background information on the controversy.

Something Fishy in the South Carolina Primary (Tom Schaller @,

Did Alvin Greene Win Because of Ballot Order? Because of Race? (John Sides @ The Monkey Cage)

In South Carolina, Greene is Mystery Man Despite Winning Democratic Senate Nod (Washington Post)

Keith Olbermann Interview of Alvin Greene (YouTube)

Alvin Greene is “Someone’s Plant,” Should be Investigated, Clyburn Says (CBS

Computational Legal Studies – The Interactive Gallery [Repost]

Click on the above picture and you will be taken to the Interactive Gallery of Computational Legal Studies. Once inside the gallery, click on any thumbnail to see the full size image. Each image features a link to supporting materials such as documentation and/or the underlying academic paper. We hope to add more content to gallery over the coming weeks and months — so please check back!  Please note that load time may vary depending upon your connection, machine, etc.