U of Toronto University Professor Emeritus Stephen A. Cook won NSERC $1 million Herzberg Medal – with interview by Kempton

Wednesday, 27 February, 2013

20130227 Professor Cook interview pix

Congratulations to University of Toronto Computer Science professor Stephen Cook, best known for formulating the P v. NP problem, for winning the $1M 2012 Gerhard Herzberg medal (also via CBC News)!

After all these years, I still remember the thrill in taking my first year UT Comp. Sci class in 1987 with prof. Cook! And it remains an honour (and bragging right) to have taken the famous third year CSC364 Computability and Complexity class with prof. Cook and seeing him proved to us 3-satisfiability and taught us P v. NP, etc. I am truly excited for prof. Cook!

Check out my 15 minutes interview with Prof. Cook this morning: Interview with Dr. Stephen A. Cook, 2012 Winner of NSERC’s $1m Herzberg Medal

By the way, as prof. cook mentioned in the interview, he came to the idea of the NP complete problem about 6 months after he came to Toronto in 1970. If you read the detailed & insightful oral history interview with Stephen Cook (courtesy of University of Minnesota), you will realize professor Cook could have easily stayed at UC Berkeley (if they had not denied him tenure) instead of joining us at University of Toronto! Lucky us!

Last week, I asked prof. Kelly Gotlieb “Father of Computing in Canada” for his thoughts about some giants in computer science, here is what Kelly has to say about Steve (video clip).

Here is “NSERC Presents 2 Minutes With Stephen Cook

Here is an excerpt from a great Q&A from U of Toronto.

What drew you to this field – and to this particular focus?
I enrolled as a mathematics graduate student at Harvard in 1961, thinking I’d concentrate in algebra. Computer Science did not yet exist as a discipline. After taking a course in `logic and computation’ from Hao Wang, my future advisor, I switched fields. My PhD thesis was inspired by a question posed by a pioneer in the field named Alan Cobham: Is multiplication (of large numbers) intrinsically harder than addition? Part of the challenge was to formulate this as a precise mathematical question.

Why U of T?
I joined the faculty of the computer science department at U of T in 1970. This was one of the world’s first CS departments, and Tom Hull, the department chair, had a powerful vision for its future. He already had recruited some aspiring young faculty, including my close colleague Allan Borodin, who continues to be a pillar of the department. It helped that Toronto is a good sailing venue on Lake Ontario, and sailing was (and is) a major hobby for my wife and me.

What advice would you give to a student just starting out in this field?
You’ve made a good choice. The possibilities are boundless.

Via this UT page, see more media coverage about the 2012 Herzberg Prize at these links below:

“- Globe & Mail

– Canada.com

– Calgary Herald

– CBC News


eps02 chat with “Father of Computing in Canada” Prof. Kelly Gotlieb

Wednesday, 20 February, 2013

eps02 with Prof. Kelly Gotlieb, Father of Computing in Canada

This is the second (eps 02) of a series of extensive chats with Professor Emeritus C.C. Kelly Gotlieb, (Wikipedia) “Father of Computing in Canada”, Department of Computer Science, University of Toronto. In this video episode (as oppose to audio recording only in episode #1), we further discussed Google Driverless Cars and Google Glasses in a bit more details, and a few other topics. (I will try to provide a time code key when I have time later or if someone can help me with providing a time code key to the interview.)

eps02 chat with “Father of Computing in Canada” Prof. Kelly Gotlieb

P.S. Incidentally, I am happy to claim credit for suggesting Kelly to setup a Google+ account and then also helped him to setup his computer this morning so that we were able to conduct a successful Live Broadcast using the Google+ Hangout On Air technologies using its YouTube engine! It puts a smile on my face in helping the man who helped bought the second electronic computer (a Ferranti machine for $300,000) in the world in 1951 to use Google’s cutting edge technologies to broadcast live from his and my home!


Interview with “Father of Computing in Canada” re Google Car, Google Glasses, Alan Turing

Wednesday, 13 February, 2013

20130212 Father of Computing Kelly interview - pix

Interview with “Father of Computing in Canada” Prof Gotlieb re Google Car, Google Glasses, Alan Turing

This is an extensive interview with Professor Emeritus C.C. Kelly Gotlieb, (Wikipedia) “Father of Computing in Canada”, Department of Computer Science, University of Toronto, Feb 2013 interviewed by Independent reporter Kempton Lam
KL: Kempton Lam
KG: Professor Emeritus C.C. Kelly Gotlieb
Table of content (with time codes):
0:00 KL: Introducing Professor Emeritus C.C. (Kelly) Gotlieb, “Father of Computing in Canada”, University of Toronto
0:29 KL: My question about Google Driverless Cars. Three US states already has law permitting testing of Google Driverless Cars. Talking about California governor signed the bill, “SB-1298 Vehicles: autonomous vehicles: safety and performance requirements” into law.
2:07 KL: Bill SB-1298 allows Google to test the Google Driverless Car provided Google pays a $5 million insurance, and provided there is a driver in the car.
2:21 KG: “That’s what I expected.”
2:35 KL: My concerns were concerns raised by Kelly in an earlier speech of his.
2:47 KG: listing some of the concerns he has with concepts like Google Driverless Cars. “United States is a very litigious society.”
3:12 KG: Google Driverless Car gets into an accident, whose to blame? And who can you sue? The person who wrote the program? Google who authorize the car? Car manufacture? The person who is in the car? Or all of the above? […] Lots of questions to be asked when failure happen. Read the rest of this entry »


Interview with Yasmin Nakhuda, owner of Darwin (IKEA) Monkey, re upcoming court case

Tuesday, 22 January, 2013

Yasmin Nakhuda & Darwin (IKEA) Monkey

Late last night, I interviewed Ms. Yasmin Nakhuda, owner of Darwin (IKEA) Monkey over the phone. Have a listen to the extensive phone interview first before you leave any comments. If your comment don’t show you have actually listened to the interview, I reserve the right to not approve it. I have seen way too many comments on articles/posts about this issue that have gone totally out of control elsewhere (CBC and other media outlet) and I won’t let it happen here. So please keep your comments brief, to the point, and don’t make any personal insults or groundless attacks. Disagreement is fine, strong critique is ok, but pointless insults are decidedly NOT!

As the issue of Darwin (IKEA) Monkey is in front of a court (case is scheduled to appear in front of a judge on Jan 31, 2013) and hotly discussed/debated amongst Canadians, all the readers comments will be heavily screened & monitored me. We are civilized people and many of us are Canadians so we are better than those people who cannot ground their arguments in facts and reasons. Former Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau got it wrong with his so call “Reason before Passion (La Raison Avant la Passion)“, in our social media age where anyone and everyone can have their worldwide platform and LIVE video broadcast channel, we must aspire to have “Reason alongside Passion.

Have a listen to my extensive phone interview Ms. Yasmin Nakhuda, owner of Darwin (IKEA) Monkey

Research & reading materials

1) Have a read of Toronto’s animal control by-law.
Toronto-by-law 1184_349

2) Can anyone help me here? I like to find the court filings by Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary online. Have the Sanctuary or its lawyer posted these documents online? If you know where to find them, please leave a note in the comment as I would like to read them.

3) I found the court filings by Ms. Yasmin Nakhuda online here at her lawyer’s website and I found them useful to read. I suggest you read them to understand what were said under oath by Officiers Joseph Florillo and David Behan describing what exactly happened during the own process of them taking Darwin.

Highlighted Transcript of Officer Joseph Fiorillo Jan 17 2013
Summary of Transcript of Officer Joseph FiorilloJan17 2013

Highlighted Transcript of Officer David Behan Jan17 2013
Summary of Transcript of David Behan Jan17 2013

Concluding thoughts and Personal notes

After interviewing Yasmin for over 40 minutes last night, I cannot disagree more with people who hear or know about the case from reading a headline here and there and watching a minute or two of news clips and then went on to insult Yasmin, her family, and even her children. Lets ground our discussion and look at the facts and situation surround this specific case of the lovely Darwin (IKEA) Monkey.

On a very personal note, I hope and wish for wisdom in the judge for this case and that the best outcome for Darwin will be delivered. Yes, may be I’ve watched way too many episodes of Judge John Deed (especially loving the earlier seasons 4, 1, and 2), I hope the judge for this case is as wise or wiser than Judge Deed!

P.S. Thanks again to Yasmin for her time to be interviewed by me. And special thanks to Calgary Public Library for stocking great TV DVDs like Judge Deed. Not unlike pure mathematics, we sometimes learn a lot more about justice from a fictional drama than real life court cases that can be very messy at times.

P.P.S. I wrote a light hearted “funny” piece about Darwin “Top 10 Reasons why Monkey Darwin shops at Ikea & No charges by T.O. police!” on Dec 10th, 2012. Even it was meant to be a funny piece, I do insist on my thinking and comments to be solidly grounded. Compare to that time, I think my positions and views have now definitely changed given the new information I have come to learn about this case.


Twitter Patrol – Toronto Police Const. Scott Mills

Friday, 20 July, 2012

My friend +Toronto Police Service Constable +Scott Mills was featured in this insightful +CBC News The National video piece Twitter patrol “Paul Hunter speaks with a Toronto police officer who uses social media to combat gang violence.” Check out Twitter patrol.

P.S. It is too early to tell but I haven’t heard of any advance warning signs for the tragic event unfolded last night (“Colorado theater shooting: a deadly attack delivered with brutal precision“). On a day like today, I want and try to think positive and hope that some future tragedies can be avoided by police departments getting more involved in social media.


Malcolm Gladwell in conversation with CBC’s Eleanor Wachtel at Toronto Public Library (May 2012) and more …

Sunday, 15 July, 2012

Malcolm Gladwell, bestselling author of Blink and Outliers celebrates 50 years of Jamaica’s independence. In conversation with CBC’s Eleanor Wachtel. Malcolm Gladwell’s books including his latest, Blink are available at Toronto Public Library.”

Pay special attention to Part 3 where Malcolm gives insightful (and some may argue harsh) assessment of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.

Update: Bonus Malcolm clips. I found the following clips and I thought I might as well include them here.


Use of Social Media tool in Police Services – Interview with Toronto Police Constable Scott Mills

Wednesday, 4 July, 2012

Interview with Toronto Police Constable Scott Mills - Use of Social Media tool in Police Services

I am in the process of writing an in-depth article about how Police Services in Canada and around the world use social media tools. Average readers may not know but police services are now using social media tools to help communicate with citizens, report crimes, and, in some cases, even prevent crimes. Think for a moment, “prevent crimes” amazing right?! Watch the video and see for yourself and you will realize it is dedicated and good policing assisted by new social media tools.

I’ve started collecting research materials for the article. The following is my first video interview. The interview was actually conducted and broadcasted LIVE this morning using Google+ and YouTube technologies (two of the social media tools used in Toronto).

I want to thank Toronto Police Constable Scott Mills (@GraffitiBMXCop) for his time in sharing his insights. Have a watch of the video. Stay tuned for more interviews (I am planning a few more) and the in-depth article to be posted later.

Interview with Toronto Police Constable Social Media guru Scott Mills @GraffitiBMXCop


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