《The Man Who Solved The Market》中文版翻译连载55

文艺复兴的科学家默瑟曾在美空军基地实习 1972年加入IBM语音识别小组

《The Man Who Solved The Market》中文版翻译连载55
解决市场的人

The MAn Who Solved The Market (55)

Robert Mercer’s lifelong passion had been sparked by his father.

罗伯特·默瑟贯穿一生的激情是由他父亲点燃的。

A brilliant scientist with a dry wit, Thomas Mercer was born in Victoria, British Columbia, later becoming a world expert on aerosols, the tiny particles suspended in the atmosphere that both contribute to air pollution and cool the EArth by blocking the sun. Thomas spent more than a decade as a professor of rADIation biology and biophysics at the UnIVeRSIty of Rochester before becoming department head of a foundation devoted to curing respiratory disease in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It was there that Robert, the eldest of Thomas’s three children, was born in 1946.

作为一位有着冷幽默的杰出科学家,托马斯·默瑟出生于英格兰卑诗省的维多利亚市,后来成为一位研究气溶胶的世界级专家,气溶胶是一种悬浮于大气中的微小颗粒,它不仅会造成空气污染还会阻挡阳光,使地球降温。托马斯做了十多年的放射生物学教授,后来成为新墨西哥州阿尔伯克基一个专门治疗呼吸疾病的基金会的主任。1946年,托马斯三个孩子中的老大,罗伯特就是在那儿出生的。

His mother, Virginia Mercer, was passionate about the theater and arts, but Robert was riveted by computers. It began the very moment Thomas showed Robert the magnetic drum and punch cards of an IBM 650,one of the earliest mass-produced computers. After Thomas explained the computer’s inner workings to his son, the ten-year-old began creating his own programs, filling up an oversized notebook. Bob carried that notebook around for years before he ever had ACcess to an actual computer.

他的母亲——弗吉尼亚·默瑟,对戏剧和艺术充满激情,但是罗伯特痴迷于计算机。当托马斯向罗伯特展示IBM 650电脑的磁鼓和打孔卡的那一刻,激情被点燃了,而IBM 650是最早的量产计算机之一。托马斯向儿子解释电脑的内在工作原理是怎样的,这个10岁的孩子开始编写自己的程序,写满了一个超大的笔记本。在有机会使用一台真正的电脑之前,鲍勃带着这个笔记本到处跑了好几年。

At Sandia High School and the University of New Mexico, Mercer was a bespectacled, lanky, and low-key member of the school’s chess, auto, and Russian clubs. He came alive for math, though, sharing a pound, handsome simile in a photo appearing in the Albuquerque Journal after he and two classmates won top honors in a national mathematics contest in 1964.

在桑迪亚高中和新墨西哥大学念书的时候,默瑟戴着眼镜,身材修长,是学校国际象棋、汽车和俄罗斯俱乐部的低调成员。然而他在数学方面表现活跃,1964年他和两个同班同学在国家数学竞赛上赢得了最高荣誉后,阿尔伯克基日报刊登了一张照片,照片中默瑟和他的同学露出了骄傲、帅气的笑容。

After high school graduation, Mercer spent three weeks at the National Youth Science Camp in the mountains of West Virginia. There, Mercer discovered a single computer, a donated IBM 1620, that could do fifty ten-digit multiplications a second but was neglected by most campers. Apparently, sitting indoors all day in the summer wasn’t as enticing to them as it was to Mercer, so he got to play with the computer as much as he wanted, learning to program in Fortran, a language developed mainly for scientists. That summer, Neil Armstrong paid a visit to the camp, five years prior to becoming the first man to set foot on the moon. He told the campers that astronauts were using the latest computer technology, some of it the size of a match. Mercer sat listening, mouth a gape.

高中毕业后,默瑟参加了一个在西弗吉尼亚山区举办的全国青少年科学夏令营。在那里,默瑟发现了一台计算机,一台捐赠的IBM 1620型号,它能每秒做50个十位数乘法,但大多数学员们都没注意到它。显然,他们不像默瑟那样喜欢整天坐在室内,所以默瑟尽可能多的呆在电脑前边,学一种为科学家开发的语言Fortran,并使用它编程。那年夏天,尼尔·阿姆斯特朗访问了夏令营,他在五年前第一个登上了月球。他告诉学员们,宇航员们采用了最新的计算机技术,其中一些只有火柴盒大小。默瑟坐在那里听着,张大了嘴巴。

“I couldn’t see how that would even be possible,” he later recalled.

“我不明白,那怎么可能呢,”他后来回忆道。

While studying physics, chemistry, and mathematics at the University of New Mexico, Mercer got a job at a weapons laboratory at the Kirkland Air Force base eight miles away, just so he could help program the base’s supercomputer. Much as baseball players appreciate the smell of fresh-cut outfield grass or the site of a well-groomed pitcher’s mound, Mercer came to delight in the sights and smells of Kirtland’s computer lab.

在新墨西哥大学学习物理、化学和数学的时候,默瑟在八英里之外的柯克兰空军基地的一个武器实验室找到了一份工作,正好他能使用基地的超级计算机编程。就像棒球运动员喜欢新鲜修建的野外草地的味道,或是整洁的投手丘的位置一样,默瑟也喜欢上了柯克兰计算机实验室的景色和味道。

“I loved everything about computers,” Mercer later explained. “I loved the solitude of the computer lab late at night. I loved the air-conditioned smell of the place. I loved the sound of the discs whirring, and the printers clacking.”

“我热爱关于计算机的一切,”默瑟后来解释道。“我喜欢深夜在计算机实验室里独处的感觉。我喜欢这个地方空调的味道。我喜欢磁盘转动的声音和打印机的咔嚓声。”

It might seem a bit unusual, even odd, for a young man to be so enthralled by a computer laboratory, but, in the mid-1960s, these machines came to represent unexplored terrain and fresh possibility. A subculture developed of young computer specialists, academics and hobbyists who stayed up late into the night colding, or writing instructions so computers could solve problems or execute specified, automated tasks. The instructions were given using algorithms, which entailed a series of logical, step-by-step procedures.

一个年轻人被计算机实验室迷住了,这有点不同寻常,甚至很奇怪,但是在二十世纪六十年代中期,这些机器代表了未知的领域和全新的可能性。年轻的计算机专家、学者和爱好者们发展起来一种亚文化,他们熬夜编程或写指令,以便计算机能解决问题,或执行特定的、自动化任务。这些指令由算法给出,包含了一系列有逻辑的、循序渐进的过程。

Bright young men and women, the programmers were counterculture rebels, boldly exploring the future, even as their peers chased the fleeting pleasures of the day, forging a spirit and energy that would change the world for decades to come.

这些聪明的年轻男女程序员是主流文化的叛逆者,他们大胆地探索未来,锻造出一种能在未来几十年改变世界的精神和能量,尽管他们的同龄人追逐的是一天中稍纵即逝的快乐。

“We suffered socially and psychologically for being right,” says Aaron Brown, a member of the emerging coder crew who became a senior executive of the Quant-trading world.

“我们因为做对的事而在社会和心理上受苦,”亚伦·布朗说,他是一名新兴编码团队的一员,后来成为一名量化交易领域的高管。

As an inductee into the cult, Mercer spent the summer on the lab’s mainframe computer rewriting a program that calculated electromagnetic fields generated by nuclear fusion bombs. In time, Mercer found ways to make the program one hundred times faster, a real coup. Mercer was energized and enthused, but his bosses didn’t seem to care about his accomplishment. Instead of running the old computations at the new, faster speed, they instructed Mercer to run computations that were one hundred times the size. It seemed Mercer’s revved-up speed made little difference to them, an attitude that helped mold the young man’s worldview.

作为这一团队的入会者,默瑟整个夏天都在实验室的大型计算机上重新编写一个程序,用来计算核聚变炸弹所产生的电磁场。最后,默瑟找到方法使得程序比之前快100倍,那是一次真正的变革。默瑟精力充沛且热情高涨,但他的老板们似乎并不关心他的成就。他们让默瑟运行比原来大100倍的计算,而不是采用新的更快的计算方式。看起来默瑟加速的方法对他们来说并没有什么不同,这种态度给这个年轻人的世界观造成了重要影响。

“I took this as an indication that one of the most important goals of government-financed research is not so much to get answers as it is to consume the computer budget,” Mercer later said.

“这件事让我明白了,由政府财政支持的研究中最重要的目标不是得到答案,而是消耗预算,”默瑟后来说道。

He turned cynical, viewing government as arrogant and inefficient. Years later, Mercer would embrace the view that individuals need to be self-sufficient and avoid state aid.

他开始变得愤世嫉俗,认为政府是傲慢而低效的。多年之后,默瑟开始认为,个人需要自给自足,避免政府的援助。

The summer experience “left me, ever since, with a jaundiced view of government-financed research,” Mercer explained.

那年夏天的经历“让我从那时起,对政府资助的研究产生了偏见,”默瑟解释说。

After earning his PhD in computer science at the University of Illinois, Mercer joined IBM in 1972, even though he was dismissive of the quality of the company’s computers. It was a different part of the company that had impressed him. Mercer had agreed to visit the Thomas J. Watson Research Center in the New York City suburb of Yorktown Heights and was struck by hard-charging IBM staffers pushing to discover innovations that could power the company’s future.

1972年,默瑟从伊利诺伊大学获得了计算机科学的博士学位后加入了IBM,尽管他对公司的电脑质量不屑一顾。但让他印象深刻的是公司的一个与众不同的部门。默瑟同意去拜访托马斯·J·沃森研究中心,该中心位于纽约市郊的约克镇高地,他被努力进取的IBM员工所打动,他们正在积极发现能为公司未来提供发展动力的创新。

Mercer joined the team and began working in the company’s newly formed speech-recognition group. Eventually, he was joined by a young and outgoing mathematician in a hurry to accomplish something big.

默瑟加入了团队,开始在公司最新组成的语言识别小组里工作。后来,一位年轻外向的数学家加入了他的队伍,他急切地想干成一些大事。

(免责声明:仅供个人阅读学习及翻译参考。如有不准之处,请留言帮助改进)

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