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Elsevier 讓德國的研究機構在還沒有續約的情況下繼續使用

德國的研究機構在 2017 年年底前,也就是與 Elsevier 的合約到期前,還是沒有續約,但 Elsevier 決定還是先繼續提供服務,暫時性的為期一年,繼續談判:

The Dutch publishing giant Elsevier has granted uninterrupted access to its paywalled journals for researchers at around 200 German universities and research institutes that had refused to renew their individual subscriptions at the end of 2017.

The institutions had formed a consortium to negotiate a nationwide licence with the publisher. They sought a collective deal that would give most scientists in Germany full online access to about 2,500 journals at about half the price that individual libraries have paid in the past. But talks broke down and, by the end of 2017, no deal had been agreed. Elsevier now says that it will allow the country’s scientists to access its paywalled journals without a contract until a national agreement is hammered out.

Elsevier 會這樣做主要是要避免讓德國的學術機構發現「沒有 Elsevier 其實也活的很好」。而不少研究人員已經知道這件事情,在大多數的情況下都有 Elsevier 的替代方案,不需要浪費錢簽那麼貴的費用:

Günter Ziegler, a mathematician at the Free University of Berlin and a member of the consortium's negotiating team, says that German researchers have the upper hand in the negotiations. “Most papers are now freely available somewhere on the Internet, or else you might choose to work with preprint versions,” he says. “Clearly our negotiating position is strong. It is not clear that we want or need a paid extension of the old contracts.”

替代方案有幾個方面,像是自由開放下載的 arXiv 愈來愈受到重視,很多研究者都會把投稿的論文在上面放一份 pre-print 版本 (甚至會更新),而且近年來有些知名的證明只放在上面 (像是 Poincaré conjecture)。而且放在人家家裡比放在自己網站來的簡單 (不需要自己維護),這都使得 arXiv 變成學術界新的標準平台。

除了 arXiv 外,其他領域也有自己習慣的平台。像是密碼學這邊的「Cryptology ePrint Archive」也運作很久了。

除了找平台外,放在自家網站上的論文 (通常是學校或是學術機構的個人空間),也因為搜尋引擎的發達,使得大家更容易找到對應檔案可以下載。

而且更直接的攻擊性網站是 Sci-Hub,讓大家從 paywall 下載後丟上去公開讓人搜尋。雖然因為常常被封鎖的原因而常常在換網址,不過透過 Tor Browser (或是自己設定 Tor Proxy) 存取他們的 Hidden Service 就應該沒這個問題。

希望德國可以撐下去,證明其實已經不需要 Elsevier...

基於 RNN 的無損壓縮

Hacker News 上看到「DeepZip: Lossless Compression using Recurrent Networks」這篇論文,利用 RNN 幫助壓縮技術壓的更小,而程式碼在 GitHubkedartatwawadi/NN_compression 上有公開讓大家可以測試。

裡面有個比較特別的是,Lagged Fibonacci PRNG 產生出來的資料居然有很好的壓縮率,這在傳統的壓縮方式應該都是幾乎沒有壓縮率...

整體的壓縮率都還不錯,不過比較的對象只有 gzip,沒有拿比較先進的壓縮軟體進行比較) 像是 xz 之類的),看數字猜測在一般的情況下應該不會贏太多,不過光是 PRNG 那部份,這篇論文等於是給了一個不同的方向讓大家玩...

Facebook 自己找人研究,Social Media 是否對人類有害 XDDD

之前看到「Hard Questions: Is Spending Time on Social Media Bad for Us?」這篇,一直不知道要怎麼吐槽... 然後看到 Twitter 上的這則 tweet XDDD

既視感太重了,找了一下其他行業對應的資料:

真的不知道怎麼吐槽 XDDD

reddit 與 4chan 在新聞網路上的獨特性

在「Study finds fringe communities on Reddit and 4chan have high influence on flow of alternative news to Twitter」這邊看到的:

After analyzing millions of posts containing mainstream and alternative news shared on Twitter, Reddit and 4chan, Jeremy Blackburn, Ph.D., and collaborators found that alt-right communities within 4chan, an image-based discussion forum where users are anonymous, and Reddit, a social news aggregator where users vote up or down on posts, have a surprisingly large influence on Twitter.

依照對 reddit4chan 的描述,這兩個媒體對 Twitter 的影響,會讓我聯想到在台灣 Ptt 對各新聞媒體的影響:Ptt 是很多新聞的起點?

"Based on our findings, these smaller, fringe communities on Reddit and 4chan serve as an incubation chamber for a lot of information," said Blackburn, assistant professor of computer science in the UAB College of Arts and Sciences. "The content and talking points are refined until they finally break free and make it to larger, more mainstream communities."

真的研究應該可以看出 Ptt 的影響力?

歐盟對於盜版是否帶來傷害的研究

歐盟在 2014 年做了關於盜版與銷量的研究,結果一直被壓到最近才發表出來 (於是就大概可以猜到結論了...):「EU Piracy Report Suppression Raises Questions Over Transparency」。

“In general, the results do not show robust statistical evidence of displacement of sales by online copyright infringements,” the study notes.

甚至:

The study found that piracy had a slightly positive effect on the videogames industry, suggesting that those who play pirate games eventually become buyers of official content.

另外也描述了現有電影與 TV-series 定價策略偏高:

“Overall, the analysis indicates that for films and TV-series current prices are higher than 80 per cent of the illegal downloaders and streamers are willing to pay,” the study notes.

難怪被壓著...

關於圍棋貼目的問題...

前陣子 AlphaGo 大獲全勝後放出了五十盤自戰棋譜 (兩台 AlphaGo 自己下),其實有件事情有點出乎大家意料,而在圍棋界被一直討論。就是在這五十盤裡,黑棋與白棋的勝率比是 12:38 (中國規則,黑棋貼 7.5 目的情況),明顯白棋有強大的優勢。

這個 7.5 目指的是,由於黑棋先下 (先手優勢),所以圍的地會比較多,為了彌補白棋後下的這個缺點,一般都會設計「貼目」這個規則。

交大資工的 CGI 團隊在上個月月底發了一篇論文 (參考「CGOS Whole Period Ratings for 19x19 Board」這邊的記錄,在有參加 CGOS 的團隊裡只輸新版的 Zen),討論 value network 的新想法:「Multi-Labelled Value Networks for Computer Go」。

他們對貼目的數量做了分析:

For the training data, we label on output 𝑣𝑘 as follows. For each self-play game, first calculate territory difference 𝑛 at the end of the game. Then, based on the Chinese rule, label 1 (win) on 𝑣𝑘 for all 𝑘 < 𝑛, and -1 (lose) for all 𝑘 > 𝑛. (Note that the draw case 𝑘 = 𝑛 is ignored in this paper since the komi is not an integer normally.) For example, if black occupies 7 more points of territory than white, the 𝑘-komi game is considered a win for all 𝑘 < 7, and a loss for all 𝑘 > 7. Thus, in this case, a 7.5-komi game is a loss, and a 6.5-komi or 0.5-komi game is a win.

這個研究完全顛覆了目前職業棋手一般的理解。目前的理解是,貼 5.5 目是黑棋優勢,貼 7.5 目是白棋優勢 (所謂的大貼目時代)。

接下來應該會有更多的研究出來,圍棋界會不會反思貼目規則呢...

一篇教你怎麼讀論文的論文...

Hacker News Daily 上看到的,這是一篇教你怎麼讀論文的論文:「How to Read a Paper」,標注的版本是 Version of February 17, 2016。

不是惡搞的那種文章,整篇只有兩頁,真的給一種建議方式讓還在迷惘的人可以試著用用看...

如果你已經有自己的方法,就未必要用這篇的方法了...

Google 的軟體開發

之前有不少 Google 內軟體開發的說明 (像是 2015 年的「Google Is 2 Billion Lines of Code—And It’s All in One Place」),不過這好像是第一次以 paper 的形式整理出來:「Software Engineering at Google」。

當你有一群等級超高的工程師時,軟體工程裡面一堆假設都被推翻,然後一堆工具都是客製化自己開發 (有可能是那個時間點還沒有成熟的工具,也有可能是需要大量客製化),於是就會看到各種有趣的解法... XD

拿來看看還可以,拿來抄八成會出事 XDDD

用人力就可以達到離心機的效果...

看到「This Human-Powered Paper Centrifuge Is Pure Genius」這個設計真的很巧妙... 全文刊登在 nature biomedical engineering 上:「Hand-powered ultralow-cost paper centrifuge」。

起源來自於小時候的玩具 (我也有印象,但忘記中文叫什麼了...):

Here, we report an ultralow-cost (20 cents), lightweight (2 g), human-powered paper centrifuge (which we name ‘paperfuge’) designed on the basis of a theoretical model inspired by the fundamental mechanics of an ancient whirligig (or buzzer toy; 3,300 BC).

研究後發現離心速度可以到 125000rpm:

The paperfuge achieves speeds of 125,000 r.p.m. (and equivalent centrifugal forces of 30,000 g), with theoretical limits predicting 1,000,000 r.p.m.

對於無法買昂貴醫療器材的地區,這樣就有簡單但又頗有效的離心機做檢驗...

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