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Cold War LegaciesSystems, Theory, Aesthetics$
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John Beck and Ryan Bishop

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781474409483

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474409483.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 23 October 2019

Simulate, Optimise, Partition: Algorithmic Diagrams of Pattern Recognition from 1953 Onwards

Simulate, Optimise, Partition: Algorithmic Diagrams of Pattern Recognition from 1953 Onwards

Chapter:
(p.50) Chapter 2 Simulate, Optimise, Partition: Algorithmic Diagrams of Pattern Recognition from 1953 Onwards
Source:
Cold War Legacies
Author(s):

Adrian Mackenzie

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474409483.003.0003

Contemporary attempts to find patterns in data, ranging from the now mundane technologies of hand-writing recognition through to mammoth infrastructure-heavy practices of deep learning conducted by major business and government actors, rely on a group of techniques intensively developed during the 1950-60s in physics, engineering and psychology. Whether we designate them as pattern recognition, data mining, or machine learning, these techniques all seek to uncover patterns in data that cannot appear directly to the human eye, either because there are too many items for anyone to look at, or because the patterns are too subtly woven through in the data. From the techniques in current use, three developed in the Cold War era iconify contemporary modes of pattern finding: Monte Carlo simulation, gradient descent, and clustering algorithms that search for groups or clusters in data. Each of these techniques implements a different mode of pattern, and these different modes of pattern recognition flow through into contemporary scientific, technological, business and governmental problematizations. The different perspectives on event, trajectory, and proximity they embody imbue many power relations, forms of value and the play of truth/falsehood today.

Keywords:   algorithms, cold war, pattern recognition, big data, game theory

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