Dec 02 2012 12:15 p.m.
Claude Shannon created an artificial mouse he named “Theseus” to navigate a changeable maze, a example of machine learning. At the time this idea was meant to apply to telephone switching, a caller navigating a network in the most efficient way. ... more »
Small released his animals into the maze every evening, two at a time, by sliding open a glass door with a pulley as if it were a palace portcullis. Then he'd observe the animals for a while, recording their every sniff and sojourn in his notebook, before leaving them to wander the maze for the rest of the night. His 1901 paper includes extravagantly detailed accounts of each run through the maze, with its turning points described in numerical or alphabetic shorthand ... more »
The user of 10 PRINT, they write, is more like Daedalus—the architect of the bewildering labyrinth at Knossos—than she is like the conqueror Theseus. 10 PRINT “is a blueprint for a maze, not just a structure or image that appears without any history or trace of its making,” the authors argue. “And at the same time, 10 PRINT itself takes the role of maze creator: the programmer may be the maze’s architect, but the program is its builder.” As the 1980s progressed, more users became familiar with mazes as they appeared in computer games, which reached new levels of complexity. ... more »