Bonne Journée pour le Collège TAV!

Nouveau partenariat avec la Commission scolaire de Montréal (CSDM)

Suite à la journée d’entrevues d’embauche sur le campus du collège TAV, plus de 15 candidats parmi nos anciens et futurs finissants du programme en techniques d’éducation spécialisée ont été retenus à l’embauche.

 

27 Ways to Say Welcome

TJDC Staff
TAV has recently placed a huge twelve foot by four foot vinyl decal on a curved wall in its main entrance to the building. The decal was commissioned by the College in conjunction with its « Journalism and Design Club, » (The TJDC) to demonstrate its pride in the multiculturalism of its student body. The mural titled « 27 Ways to say Welcome » was designed by a former TAV College Arts, Literature and Communication student (Justin Hand-Gregory), who now coordinates the institution’s newsletter, as well as assists in producing other various media for the college.
The general concept for the mural was the brain child of two members of the TJDC. Eden Autmezguine and Bishal Pandey proposed the idea to me during one of our morning newsletter meetings and I thought it would be a fantastic addition to the College, said Hand-Gregory.

Photo: Justin Hand-Gregory

The mural itself features precisely what is in the title of this article: Twenty seven various languages. However, at first glance you would not suspect just how tricky the project turned out to be. Justin stated, « The project turned out to be quite difficult as I not only wanted to ensure I incorporated as many languages as possible, but also, that these languages were displayed with correct spelling. Therefore, what we did was put a poster in the main entrance of the college and asked the student body to write « Welcome » in their language. Luckily, we received an entire poster full of responses and as a result we were able to use this data to ensure the wording we displayed was spelled correct and not insulting. The responses we received from students on this poster was also exciting to see as it showed the relevance for the project, as well as the students’ pride in their ethnic heritage and their desire to proudly demonstrate this. » The mural is the first initiative that Justin and the TJDC have completed as a series of projects to enhance the aesthetics of the up-and-coming Montreal college, as well as assisting in dictating a sense of originality and distinction for TAV. The club has a few more ideas that are currently in the « design phase » for more murals and creative projects. The following is a list of languages that are displayed in the mural:
  • English
  • French
  • Spanish
  • Italian
  • Hebrew
  • Gaelic (Irish)
  • Japanese
  • Mandarin
  • Vietnamese
  • Afrikaans
  • Arabic
  • German
  • Greek
  • Hungarian
  • Korean
  • Malay
  • Persian
  • Portugese
  • Yoruba
  • Nepali
  • Romanian
  • Russian
  • Tamil
  • Swahili
  • Telugu
  • Ukrainian
  • Uzbek

The Library of Babel

Author: The Library of Babel

If you give a monkey a typewriter, and leave it for a million years, will it eventually bang out a word-for word copy of Shakespeare’s Macbeth? From a purely mathematical point of view, the answer is yes, given either an infinite amount of time or an infinite amount of monkeys. Jorge Luis Borges, an Argentinean writer, was inspired by this idea. He wrote a short story called “The Library of Babel”, where he imagined a vast library that would contain every possible permutation of the alphabet and some punctuation marks. In addition to almost endless amounts of unintelligible gibberish, it would have everything ever written- from Shakespeare to scientific articles- as well as everything that can possibly be written. Nothing is new; anything you come up with, no matter how random, already exists somewhere and has been there all along. Intrigued by this concept, computer programmer and author Jonathan Basile set out to create a digital version of the library. I spoke to him for the chance to find out a little more.

​I think the concept of the Library is a really fascinating one, but it can be a little hard to grasp. Can you explain what the Library of Babel is?

​Sure. I first encountered the idea in a short story by Jorge Louis Borges, an Argentinean writer. The idea, as it occurs in his story, is that you have a library that would have every possible permutation of a basic character set. He described 22 letters, in addition to the space, comma and period, as being enough to express all the things that it is possible to express. With every possible 410-page book, you would have a library that contained everything that had been written and everything that could be written, ranging from things we consider masterpieces, like Shakespeare, to things that we haven’t discovered yet, like the cure for diseases. Everything like that would be there, but it would be impossible for us to find because it would be drowned out by endless amounts of texts that are completely unintelligible.

​You’ve created a website based on the short story. How does it differ from the library described in the short story?

​My goal was more or less to recreate the short story in the form of a website. I had to make some concessions to the form of the internet. The website, as it stands right now, has every possible permutation of the twenty-six lowercase letters of the English alphabet, as well as the space, comma, and period. It has every single possible page, not every single possible combination of those pages in the form of a book. I used the same proportions as Borges did, so one page of text in the library has 3200 characters, 40 lines, and 80 characters per line. So it’s just a matter of making the computation happen quickly enough.

​How does that work, exactly?

​The number of pages that are possible to encounter on the website is greater than the number of atoms in the universe! So it would be impossible to store those on disc. The website actually uses a relatively simple algorithm to generate pages. Every page of text has a locating number, which is essentially the URL of that page. The locating number is the input of a random number generator that produces the page of text that you’re looking for. So every time you go to a URL you’ll find the same page of text there. Right now, there’s a discreet URL for every possible page of text.

​So the website doesn’t contain every possible book, but it contains every possible page, correct?

​Yes.

​How many pages would that be?

​About 104680.

How many books would you have if you chose to compute every possible combination of those pages?

​Well, it depends on how many pages there are in a book. If you gave the proportions that Borges imagined for his library, which was 410-page books, the number of books is around 101000000.

How long did it take you to create the website?

​About six months altogether. I made an early version that took about three months and the current version took about three more months.

​What were some challenges you faced when working on the website?

​Well, I didn’t expect that it would end up working at all! I didn’t know much about programming when I started out, and most of the advice I got from people who knew more about programming were things like “Why would you do that”, “That’s impossible” and “You’ll never be able to do it”. So I was operating without a lot of guidance. With a combination of sticking to it and just asking for more help when I needed it, I managed to ultimately get something that worked.

​Did you learn anything new while you were at it?

​I definitely got a more accurate sense of the magnitude of what Borges is imagining. When I started the project I thought that you would, if you went through the pages every now and then, maybe find a couple of words on it, but that’s a very unrealistic expectation.

​Are there no limits to language? Can you find anything in any language, as long as you know how to interpret the way it’s written?

​There are a lot of different ways of looking at that. Borges writes that it contains everything possible to express in all languages. So it is possible to translate or transliterate any text in any language, or even treat it as a cryptographical puzzle in order to convert it into the alphabet that the Library uses.

Has anything changed now that we have access to the things contained in the Library?

​I don’t think that the Library gives access to any more or less of the things that we had access to before. It’s not a functional compendium of all possible knowledge, because you find even less typically than you would in a normal library.

​What do you think the importance of the Library of Babel is?

​I think it’s more of an opportunity to reflect on the nature of language than it is a way to compile existing data. It’s not a very practical way to try to do things, like finding the cure to diseases, but I think it’s a way to think differently about the nature of language and our relationship to it. We tend to think of language- of all the things that we say, and the things that people say- as spontaneous ideas that we are generating out of our free will. But one of the things this story reminds us of is that in order for ideas to be communicable at all, they have to be able to fit a communicable form of language. So, in a certain sense, they have always existed wherever we imagine that spontaneity and that spark of free will. What appears in our frame of reference to be a form of invention and self-creation is actually a discovery of things that are pre-formed and ready-made.

So anything that people say, or write, including this interview, are rearrangements of things that already exist?

​That would be one way of looking at it.

​You can explore the library on your own at www.libraryofbabel.info.

La cote R a été ajustée

Le calcul provisoire prévu de la cote de rendement au collégial (CRC) pour janvier 2018 a été annulé et reporté au mardi 13 février 2018. La cote R est utilisée pour gérer les demandes d’admission dans les universités. Suite à une demande du Comité de liaison de l’enseignement supérieur (CLES), la cote R a été ajustée afin que les candidats à l’admission dans les universités soient évalués plus équitablement.

La cote R modifiée entrera en vigueur pour la session d’automne 2017 (calcul de référence en date du 13 février 2018) et s’appliquera rétroactivement à tous les cours suivis entre l’automne 2014 et l’été 2017 (neuf sessions). Cependant, l’application rétroactive ne réduira pas la cote R obtenue avant l’introduction de la cote R modifiée.