Wednesday, October 22, 2014

ESPN FiveThirtyEight Signals Episode Guide

The Man Vs. The Machine - Directed by Frank Marshall – October 22, 2014
On May 3, 1997, Gary Kasparov sat down in New York City to do battle against his longtime nemesis, the IBM chess-playing machine “Deep Blue.” While the much hyped match of man versus machine consisted of six chess games over nine days, there are many who would claim the entire contest was decided in just one move: the 44th move of the second game when Deep Blue made an “error” in moving its king. Immediately following the game, Kasparov accused IBM of cheating, claiming there must have been a human influence to the move. The IBM computer scientists who’d built Deep Blue said the machine had been programmed to do just what it had done. And more recently, a third theory has been put forward that the move was actually the result of a computer bug.
The Cowboys and The Indian - Directed by Mark Polish – December 17, 2014
In the early 1960’s the Dallas Cowboys wanted to develop a computer system that would evaluate draft eligible college players. It was this sophisticated player-draft system the Cowboys conceived that would propel them onto five Super Bowl appearances in the 1970’s thus winning two World Championships. This story of ingenuity is made more interesting because the key team member has since been forgotten.

A. Salam Qureishi, a brilliant Indian computer programmer and statistician, was a young man who grew up halfway across the world and knew nothing about American football. Up until this system, pro scouting was done on hunches rather than hard numbers. Qureishi’s programming changed all that. His computer model helped draft such legendary players as Mel Renfro, Bullet Bob Hayes, Roger Staubach, Craig Morton, Jethro Pugh, Walt Garrison, Rayfield Wright, Larry Cole, Calvin Hill and Duane Thomas.
The Queens of Code - Directed by Gillian Jacobs – January 28, 2015
The Queens of Code revisits the early days of computing, when software development was helmed by the great Grace Hopper. She dedicated her life to bringing computers to the masses, when most of her colleagues supposed the technology would only be useful for scientists and the military. Through her genius, she taught software English, so that everyone could communicate with computers. This film aims to celebrate Grace’s quirky brilliance, and shine a light on the underrepresented history of computer science.
By The Numb3rs - Directed by Jamie Schultz - March 4, 2015
At the intersection of genius and athleticism lies the mind of Justin Zormelo. As a trained mathematician and basketball expert, Zormelo uses advanced analytics to propel players into perfection. In his most recent undertaking, Zormelo will be training seventeen-year-old 7′ 1” Sudan native, Thon Maker — who has already made a name for himself as an International Jr. All-Star. The teenager shows great promise, but will Zormelo be able to give him the perfect edge to become the next big name in basketball history?
Gold Hunters - Directed by Steven Leckart – April, 2015
In 1857, off the Carolina coast, the SS Central America sank in a Category 2 hurricane and with it, thirty thousand pounds of gold valued today at roughly $548 million dollars. Over a century later and after many failed attempts to locate “The Ship of Gold,” a team of explorers led by Tommy Thompson skillfully implemented Bayesian Search theory, statistically limiting the possible locations where the ship went down. Only months later, they ultimately they struck gold. But when the financiers of his expedition came looking for their cut, Tommy Thompson disappeared. “Gold Hunters” investigates this dramatic modern day treasure hunt and the incredible roots of Bayesian Search.

FiveThirtyEight and ESPN Films Announce Debut of Signals

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