Chutzpah

alanturing

Chutzpah (noun)- audacity, supreme self-confidence

A month a ago at work, we kicked off an internal big data competition. Similar to the format and goal of this Kaggle competition, we were tasked to learn the driving patterns of 35 unique commercial automobile drivers and predict which driver made a set up unlabeled trips. With 90,000 trips recorded in 62 million rows, we wanted to train our models or algorithms to distinguish different driving styles. The following fields were recorded using telematics devices: time, speed, bearing, speed limit, road type, freeway (or not), weekend (or not), latitude, and longitude. From these variables, we created our own variables, such as acceleration (ds/dt) and turning aggression (angle of turn * speed).

In addition to the competition, an instructor gave us basic background and training on big data. To motivate us to overcome our post-lunch comas, he started the afternoon session with snippets from the movie Imitation Game. Benedict Cumberbatch’s chiseled face as Alan Turning definitely grasped our attention, mine at least. As a mathematician and a computer scientist, Turning is widely considered to be the father of modern computing and artificial intelligence. During WWII, he worked at Britain’s codebreaking center Bletchley Park and helped decrypt German Enigma signals. Some historians believe that the success of Turing and his fellow cryptanalysts shortened the war in Europe and spared millions of lives. Our big data instructor thought the Turing portrayed on the big screen has chutzpah for saying, “Was I God? No. Because God didn’t win the war. We did.”

It took me a while to realize that “ch” is pronounced like “h” in English if it’s a transliteration from the Hebrew letter het (ח‎). Actually, its pronunciation would be closer to the German “ch”, which is a guttural sound coming from the back of the throat. Examples include: chuppah (wedding canopy), challah (braided Jewish bread), chanukah (more commonly spelled as hanukkah), and chatul (feel free to start singing with Shalom Sesame’s Cookie Monster at 0:42 in the video below).

bletchly
The Mansion at Bletchley Park
hut8
Hut 8- Cryptanalysis of Naval Enigma
enigma.jpg
Enigma machine
bombe.jpg
The rebuilt British bombe, initially designed by Alan Turing, to help decipher German encrypted secret messages during WW II

 

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