Tag Archives: Computers

The 5 Myths of Open Source – A Guide for The Non-Programmer

This is the second of a series of three discussing open source software for non-programmers interested in informatics.

A previous post discusses what you can expect from a software project when it is “open source.” However, the concept of OS is not so clear cut.

This post aims to clarify five commonly held beliefs about open source.

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What Is Open-Source? A Guide for The Non-Programmer

This is the first of a series of three discussing open source software for non-programmers interested in informatics. I try to stay as accurate as possible while avoiding jargon.

Open source (OS) has been a popular phrase not only in software engineering but also in radiology. Open source is closely tied to DICOM, the most popular format in medical imaging, in part because many frameworks available to manipulate DICOM files are open source.


A thorough discussion on OS is available here.  If you are more into an abbreviated 3-minute introduction, stick around.

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3 Ways To Build Better To-Do Lists (3 of 3)

This is a continuation of a thread of posts (part 1, part 2).

3.  Put the whole project on a list and off your mind, or don’t use one at all.

Computers are simple creations.  Despite dramatic advances in artificial intelligence – and the ensuing debate on what constitutes “intelligence” – our multi-core, multi-gigahertz processing machines touting terabytes of storage can’t make a decision that it wasn’t programmed to do.  Continue reading

3 Ways To Build Better To-Do Lists (2 of 3)

This post is part of a series (part 1 | part 2 | part 3)

2. if something needs to be done at a certain time, make it a calendar event, not a TODO ITEM.

Computer are actually incapable of recognizing time. When you tell the computer to “wait 1 second,” it actually converts 1 second to the number of CPU cycles to wait before executing your code.  This means that if another program suddenly tries to execute high priority code right before your timer is up, the CPU will go run their code and leave your program hanging to dry.   Continue reading

3 Ways To Build Better To-Do Lists

This prolific (and also very nice) guy wrote extensively about the importance of checklists in medicine, and how we need more of them. If you work in healthcare and are now accustomed to doing “timeouts” you have this man to thank.  Some people say checklists make medicine sound like a cookbook, making doctors work like computer software following instructions.   Continue reading

Can Dr. Watson Practice Medicine?

“Mathematical reasoning may be regarded rather schematically as the exercise of a combination of two facilities, which we may call intuition and ingenuity.” – Alan Turing

Sherlock Holmes is fictional expert in what he calls the “exact science of detection” (A Study in Scarlet). Despite his genius in deductive reasoning and intuition is unparalleled, much of the detective success relies upon the calm and composed guidance of his trusty sidekick Dr. Watson. In most of the canonical novels, Watson acts as the sanity check for Holmes’ storm of ideas and, of course, the meticulous chronicler of their adventures together.

After defeating its human opponents on Jeopardy, the supercomputer Watson by IBM will attempt to learn medicine. Despite its terabytes of storage and raw processing horsepower, Watson’s ability to make medical decisions remains unclear. Can IBM’s Watson truly understand the complex human body and make medical decisions, or will it – like Dr. Watson attempting deduction – prove to be an helpful sounding board but falling short of achieving true intuition?
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