by Jason Blatt (’16)

Last Wednesday, the Honors College had the pleasure of hearing a presentation from Professor Van Kelly, a computer science professor at Yeshiva College, about his knowledge in the area of technology. Professor Kelly began his lecture discussing his past passions and vocations, ranging from his adolescent love for trains, music, and ancient documents to his study of Artificial Intelligence, and then sharing how he discovered his love for technology. After his work with A.I. and his study of Implicit Knowledge (how to “get a job done that ‘almost works'”), he realized that he was truly mesmerized by the vast capabilities of computers, but puzzled by the fact that computers seemed to become more lost in completing a task than a human. This piqued his interest and once he realized that the popularity of A.I. was too unstable, he decided he wanted to work on a more common application of technology: cell phones.

Interestingly, though physically it is inconceivable, the innards, impact, data storage and software capability of a cell phone are massive when compared to that of a spaceship. Professor Kelly discussed a way to manage a cell phone where so much software is needed to fit in such small space, namely, a tool called Lines of Code, and explained how, as opposed to common misconception, it doesn’t measure value, but rather measures effort (a measurement that determines what we call “schedule”). Essentially, Lines of Code measures how “big” software is. Professor Kelly then discussed cell networks and how it could take many people and a plentitude of years to do such a small job (the company A.U.T.O.P.A.C.E. focusses on this).

It was a very educational and interesting lecture and the whole Honors College would like to thank Professor Kelly for coming by and sharing his life’s work with us.

 

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