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Sophomore Matthew Walker (Sargent) and junior Caroline Jens (Sargent), both student health ambassadors, assisted at LGBTQ&A, an annual event organized by student health ambassadors. Photo by Rachel Callahan (COM)
Are you passionate about public health? Are you interested in helping promote student wellness on campus? Would you like to develop leadership skills and gain experience in the field of public health? If so, consider applying to become a BU student health ambassador (SHA).
The ambassadors work closely with Wellness & Prevention Services to serve as liaisons between Student Health Services and the BU student body and play a vital role in the University community, says junior Therese Clover (CGS, Sargent), one of this year’s 15 ambassadors. “As students ourselves, we have an inside perspective as to what health-related needs are—and are not—being met on campus. And due to our connection with SHS, we are able to discuss these successes and inadequacies with the people who have the resources and authority to make a difference.”
The program, which launched more than a decade ago, is looking for rising sophomores and juniors interested in peer health education. Applicants do not need to have a health background; previous ambassadors have had majors ranging from engineering and communications to business and liberal arts. Volunteers are required to commit up to 10 hours per week during a semester; duties include attending weekly meetings, making presentations to peers about topics like handling stress and developing resiliency, creating free health kits, planning events, and assisting the Wellness office.
Current freshmen and sophomores can find out more about this program at one of two information sessions this week, on Wednesday, March 20, and Thursday, March 21, both at 6:30 pm.
“Peer educators, like the SHAs, are so important to communicating about and promoting health and wellness among our students,” says Erica Schonman, Wellness & Prevention program coordinator. “Peer educators can help promote wellness in ways that professional staff can’t: people, including college students, often make changes based on a combination of what they know and the behavior of their peers. Thus, peer educators can help to make sure that students have accurate information about resources on campus, raise awareness, and set an example by engaging actively with wellness.”
Student health ambassadors help plan and execute health-related programs for undergraduates across the University. They host events like Sex in the Dark, a popular annual Q&A panel featuring sexual health experts, and its queer-focused offshoot, LGBTQ&A. SHAs also support events run by other departments, including the College of Arts & Sciences Midnight Breakfast and therapy dogs at Mugar Memorial Library during finals week, and lead outreach at well-being events on campus, like the annual Sustainability Fair. In addition, they assemble and distribute more than 1,000 kits each year, among them finals survival guides (filled with study tips, pencils, and Post-its) and flu buddy kits (tissues, thermometers, and hand sanitizer). And they are the driving force behind Wellness & Prevention’s most popular service, Condom Fairy, which discreetly distributes contraceptives like internal and external condoms and lube to about 5,000 students annually.
To support their professional development, student health ambassadors work closely with SHS professionals and have the opportunity to attend conferences and meetings, like the annual regional BACCHUS Initiatives of NASPA—a conference specifically for peer education groups, held each spring in New England. Over the past two years, SHAs have won two regional awards: In 2023, BU’s SHAs were named Outstanding Peer Education Group, and their inaugural LGBTQ&A event won the BACCHUS National Outstanding Peer Education Program. This year, the group’s leader, senior Christian Espino (Sargent), was named Outstanding Peer Educator.
“My favorite part of being an SHA is definitely the learning experience that comes with this role,” says junior Gayatri Bajaj (Sargent). “Every time we have a meeting, I walk out learning something new—whether that be in the realm of public health, professional development, or even a fun fact about my fellow SHAs, I’m always learning.”
Becoming a student health ambassador is a competitive process. This year, the program has openings for just five or six new ambassadors. (Most of those accepted remain involved with the program until graduation.) The deadline for applying for next year is March 28 at 9 am. Applications can be filled out online here.
“Though we are not experts by any means, we strive to create a culture of wellness around campus in a way that is designed by and for students to really make an impact, which I think makes a big difference in creating a healthy environment at BU,” says Bajaj.
“Personally, the SHA group was an opportunity for me to find a niche of health-minded students, where I could further develop my passions for public health and take an initiative to see some change on my campus,” says Espino. “Having the SHA group helped me find people who had the same passions as I did and find a home away from home.”
Information sessions will be held Wednesday, March 20, at 6:30 pm in the Wellness & Prevention Services Conference Room, 930 Comm Ave, and Thursday, March 21, at 6:30 pm in CAS Room 132, 725 Comm Ave.
Graduate student Madeleine O’Keefe (CAS’18, COM’19) can be reached at [email protected]; follow her on Twitter @OKeefeMadeleine.
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Humans are unhealthy. We’re getting fatter, sicker, and lazier than ever. Sure, we can blame it on the accessibility to junk food, conveniences like two-day shipping, and sedentary lifestyles.
However, the reality is that it all comes down to you and your habits. No one forces you to buy from Amazon vs. walking around your local shopping mall. Nor does anyone tie you down and force-feed you fast food and soda. Yet, only 2.7% of Americans lead healthy lifestyles.
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While mobile gadgets are getting a bad rap for making us lazier, they can also be used to save us from our unhealthy customs. Let’s take a look at health tracker apps you can use on your smartphone to monitor your health.
How often do you get your heart pumping throughout the day? Or a better question — when’s the last time your heart raced?
Maybe it was last Tuesday when you were late for work and had to run up a flight of stairs and down a hall to catch an elevator before the doors closed? Or maybe it was several years ago when you last played tag with your children?
Either way, you’re not giving your heart the action it needs to thrive. As you’d imagine, the Instant Heart Rate health tracker app helps track your heart rate, and what it should be during different activities, such as:
High-performance training (Athletic Athlete)
This is all calculated based on your age. Then it’ll collect heart rate data each day, which comes with visual reports. Just make sure you have your phone in your hands since it can only detect your heart rate through your fingertips.
Want to lose weight and get fit, but don’t have the will to get off the couch (or wherever you’re sitting) to achieve your goals? Well, then the Couch to 5K is the app that can help you get in shape no matter where you are.
It can help take you from doing 0 feet a day to running 5K within nine weeks.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to run around the block. Nor do you have to step foot outside of your home (or office). You can run right where you are — just jog in place, and it’ll track your steps.
It includes workout routines shown by four motivational coaches. So you’re not left to figure it all out on your own. You start off simple, switching between walking and running short distances. Eventually, you build yourself up to handle longer (in-place) journeys.
Then to spice things up, you can listen to your music — the running tracker app plays audio cues so you don’t miss anything.
What you put in your body is just as important as what you do with your body. Eating the wrong foods can reverse any effort you make towards becoming fitter and healthier.
With the Fooducate app, you can learn about the foods you’re eating to see if they have too many carbs and calories. These are the common culprits of unsuccessful weight loss attempts.
It also helps track what you eat daily, and you can scan product barcodes so the app can give it a nutrition grade. At least, you’ll never have to worry about whether the items in your shopping cart are healthy for you.
Best of all — this food tracking app is free and available for iOS and Android.
So we’ve talked about health tracking apps you can use for your weight loss, diet, and heart health. But what about your mind? Stress is a silent killer we must eradicate.
The only way you can pull this off is if you practice mindfulness, get a good night’s rest, and meditate. Too many of us are working too hard, leading busy lives, and not taking care of our minds.
This includes doing breathing exercises, unwinding before bed, and helping you with focus, so you’re more productive throughout the day.
Knocking out tasks will surely help to ease tensions we deal with at the end of the day.
Alternatives to the Couch to 5K app are Apple Health and Google Fit. These health tracking apps allow you to keep track of all your daily activities.
For example, it’ll tell you how many steps you take daily, monitor your weight, and tell you how long you’re active each day. You can also set goals and see if you’re reaching them. A countdown shows how long you have left to complete your daily steps and activities.
The recommended amount is 10K steps daily, but you can always start smaller.
These apps can also record activities like cycling and running. You can monitor your improvements, so you stay motivated to continue going.
There’s a reason wellness goes hand-in-hand with health. If you’re not feeling well, then you can never achieve a healthy state. This is why it’s critical to keep an eye on your mental wellbeing.
You can do this with MyMoodTracker, which helps to keep track of how you feel throughout the day. It’ll ask how you’re doing, then you can choose between a range of emotions, such as happy, sad, mad, etc.
Over time, you can paint a picture of how often you have bad moods. The key is to try and improve your weeks with more happy days. To do this, you have to pinpoint what’s bothering you.
Maybe you need more sleep, a more nutritious diet, or a change in departments (or careers). Your emotional health should always be at the forefront, so try using this iOS app to monitor it.Take Control Of Your Health
It’s time to stop playing the victim to poor lifestyle habits. You can improve your diet, fitness, and mental wellness just by giving it more attention.
The key, says the district’s superintendent Eduardo Cancino, is to treat all parents as essential, whatever their educational or language background. “In our community, parents have a high level of respect for educators,” Cancino says. “But we work hard to convince them that we need their help. The wisdom of their lives is worth more than any degree.” Cancino offers the following pointers about creating parent partnerships:
The Hidalgo Independent School District rallies parents — many of whom are originally from Mexico and primarily speak Spanish — to help their children succeed in school and move on to college. They achieve this goal by teaching necessary skills to parents, like how to negotiate the U.S. school system and how to speak workplace English.Have a Vision
The district maintains a three-tiered vision of parent partnership. Parent involvement includes basic volunteering, with parents coming into schools to support day-to-day activities. Another level is parent engagement, in which families become part of site-based decision-making processes. Ultimately, Cancino says, they’re working toward parent empowerment, by which parents have a real voice in how higher education, school financing, and their children’s future careers work.Know Your Audience
“Parent engagement doesn’t come in a can,” says Cancino. “You have to know your community and what’s going to make them comfortable.” In Latino culture, he says, there’s a tradition of comadres (literally “co-mothers,” or close family friends) coming together to drink coffee, cook, and chat. Each school in the district boasts parent centers modeled after this idea, with kitchens, sewing machines, and space to talk. “It’s a place where parents can be secure,” Cancino says. “We say, ‘This is your place, this is your kitchen, this is your home away from home.'” Parent involvement in the school develops naturally when they’re connected to these centers, such as in building much-needed biliteracy by reading to students in Spanish in dual-language classes, preparing college-information bulletin boards, and working with other parents new to the district on long-term planning for their child’s college readiness.Focus on Building Parents’ Skills
At each campus, parent liaisons not only encourage other parents to volunteer but also provide them with the know-how to navigate the often-unfamiliar landscape of U.S. schools and support their children in life and academics.
The district provides information more formally, too, by holding frequent workshops on topics such as conflict resolution, nutrition, student assessment, and financial aid for college.
Parents can also join the four-year Parental Career Pathways Academy, a partnership between the district and South Texas College. Participants take two years of English-language acquisition, and then they can continue with either occupational skills courses or GED and college-entrance exam-preparation classes, giving them a variety of opportunities for postsecondary education.Be Practical, and Avoid Letting Logistics Get in the Way
Hidalgo focuses on working around obstacles to get things done. When principals asked if they could add stoves to parent centers, the district simply asked schools to relocate the centers to the edges of campus so that adding ventilation would be easier. When the district started the parent academy, it struggled with finding the best class times for working parents. South Texas College, which provides the instructor and the facilities, agreed to multiple sessions, in the morning and evening. And when the district ran into obstacles with transporting parents to the college, it found an empty classroom on one of the elementary campuses and offered the classes there, where parents had easier access.Prioritize Parent Partnerships in Your Budgets
The cost of the Parent Career Pathways Academy is covered by South Texas College and a 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant, with the district providing facilities and any needed transportation. For other parent involvement programs, the district pays out of its general fund. “It’s not easy,” Cancino says, “but it’s an investment we make.”Lisa Morehouse, a former teacher, is now a public-radio journalist and an education consultant.
Every new year brings expectations for change and resolutions for better behavior. Perhaps you’ve promised yourself you’ll spend the next few weeks changing your dietary habits, or solidifying a daily gym routine. Last year I channeled my resolution-related energy into forgiving someone who hurt me—and I didn’t do it for their benefit. I did it for my own good. And as we move into 2023, it’s something I’m still working on.
If you’ve never heard it before, hear it now: Holding onto grudges is bad for your health, and just thinking about forgiving people who’ve wronged you can leave you better off. And there’s empirical evidence on how best to go about forgiving them, even if you never plan on speaking to them again—and even if you only have an hour or two to spend thinking about them.Why forgiveness can help you feel better—both mentally and physically
Before we get into the evidence on how best to go about forgiving someone, let’s start with why you might want to. A key to understanding forgiveness is that the act is less about making the world a kinder one and more about helping yourself. You also don’t need to believe someone deserves your forgiveness in order to forgive them; I, for one, am confident that the person who abused me deserves no such thing. So why try to forgive?
A growing body of evidence suggests that chronic anger can take a daily toll on your cardiovascular health and immune system. Letting go of the bitterness you feel toward another person can lower your anxiety, which directly impacts both your mental and physical health. Basically, feeling bad is bad for you—especially if those feelings are due to bitter or traumatic memories that frequently come to mind unbidden.
“We know that there are considerable negative impacts of ruminating on trauma,” says Sheila Addison, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Oakland, California. “Part of what Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is is really a kind of intrusive rumination, where the injuries or the trauma keep intruding on your thinking and keep you in a state of hyper-vigilance and alarm.”
There are a lot of ways people can minimize the impact of a past hurt, and therapy is always a good start when possible. Many techniques revolve around helping people reconsider the way they think about those painful memories and try to remove some of the unhelpful feelings of pain or blame. Trying to stop recalling the time someone humiliated you in front of friends won’t actually help you think of it less often, but you can examine why the memory causes you so much anguish and work to see it in a less painful light. There’s evidence that forgiveness can be a great way to do that.Forgiveness might not mean what you think it means
It’s easy enough to accept that you should probably forgive your brother for breaking your favorite action figure back in elementary school. But if someone has caused you real harm, you might wonder how it could possibly be healthy to forgive. My goal for 2023 was to forgive an ex of mine I hadn’t seen in several years. We were in a relationship for three years at an age when that represented a formative chunk of my young adulthood. At the time, I knew this person was manipulative and often unkind; in the wake of finally leaving them, I came to realize just how much they had relied on elaborate lies and intense coercion to keep me (and many other partners past and present) in a state of instability and anxiety. It took me a solid two years to feel like I wasn’t actively recovering from post-traumatic stress disorder. By the end of 2023 I no longer felt the spectre of that relationship hanging over my head—except when it came to anger. I had not seen or spoken to my ex in more than three years, but I still thought of the injustice of it all not infrequently. I understood that this bitterness didn’t affect anyone but me, but the idea of letting go of it was still hard to grapple with.
As a survivor of abuse, the idea that I should consider forgiving my ex partner made me bristle a bit. That relationship is far enough in my past that I know I’m in no danger of reconnecting with my abuser or letting them hurt me again, but I immediately wondered how focusing on forgiveness in therapy might be harmful for someone more recently separated from (or still involved with) a genuinely dangerous person. If my therapist four years ago had counseled me to empathize with my abuser and forgive them, would I have let them right back into my life?
Robert Enright, a professor of psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Education who has studied forgiveness extensively, says he understands the concern. But he feels the issue is actually a semantic one.
“Most people have used the word forgiveness all their lives,” he says, but that doesn’t mean they understand what it means. “We have these really harmful coloquial ideas about what forgiveness is.”
The key, he says, is to separate the ideas of reconciliation and forgiveness from one another entirely.
Forgiveness, as Enright and his colleagues use the term, is something that is entirely your decision to practice, and the way to it is completely internal. “It’s a conscious decision to be good to people who were not good to you,” he explains, but while in some situations being “good” to a person might mean sitting down and talking with them and clearing the air, in others it might simply mean that you stop wishing them ill. It’s a virtue, Enright says, like kindness—it will inform the tone of the actions you take toward a person, but does not define what those actions must be.
The idea that forgiveness means hugging out your problems is a misunderstanding. To come back together with someone who has done you wrong is to reconcile with them, which is more about actions than feelings. “Reconciliation isn’t a virtue, it’s a negotiation tactic between two trusting parties,” Enright says. If you need to reconcile with someone to save a relationship that’s important to you, forgiveness can provide a more stable foundation for that process. But you don’t need to plan on repairing a relationship in order to benefit from forgiveness.
“You can forgive someone and still know that you can’t trust them,” Enright says. In fact, he says, in instances where the person who wronged you deserves to be brought to justice—whether you might report them to the police or simply distance you and your loved ones for your own safety—he hopes that letting go of bitterness and thinking more objectively about what’s been done can actually help make the process smoother and less painful for the survivor.How to decide if you need to forgive and when it’s time to do it
I don’t believe I should have forgiven my abuser in the weeks and months following my decision to leave them. My anger, sadness, and bitterness were important protective mechanisms that kept me from allowing them to harm me further. It had been more than three years when I decided I wanted to let go of those feelings and forgive—and that’s perfectly healthy.
“It’s important to let people go at their own pace, and have a lot of permission to be in the angry, hurt, outraged, and suffering kind of places they need to be in,” Addison says. “And they need to be in a place where they can distinguish between allowing some grace and taking down a boundary.”
Even for more minor offenses, Enright says, it’s important to remember that you don’t have to forgive—and it might not be the right way to deal with your emotions.
“The initial step would be this question: On a 1 to 10 scale, how much pain do you have in your heart when you think about this person and what they did? If you’re at an 8, a 9, a 10, the next question is what you’ve been doing to help with that,” he says. “A person doesn’t necessarily need forgiveness if they’ve been finding relief from talking to a friend about it or from maintaining a jogging regimen. But if they’re harboring this self-labeled pain, the question becomes, do you want to try something else?”
I’ve often compared my recovery from post-traumatic stress disorder to caring for a deep and messy wound—one that keeps healing over, but with dirt and debris still trapped inside. Healing isn’t a linear process; you keep ripping the wound open, deliberately or not, and the deeper you can dig to clear out the junk, the closer to really being okay you get. Following this analogy, I’d say I’ve got a single, festering splinter of trauma tucked somewhere too deep to reach. I’ve put in a lot of hard, bloody, and painful work to heal, and I’ve given it lots of time. I don’t want to carry that shard of filthy wood around inside me forever. Forgiveness, for me, is not a first attempt or a complete solution: It’s something I’m willing to try because I deserve to be completely free.How to forgive people who have hurt you
Therapy has more homework than you might expect. DepositPhoto
Enright has written a few books on the subject of forgiveness, as has Everett Worthington, a professor emeritus at Virginia Commonwealth University. Worthington also has free materials available online that guide participants through a few variations of his REACH Forgiveness Model, which has proven effective in several studies (though outside experts say more work is needed to fully understand how reliably the system works).
The thought of doing a workbook about forgiveness might seem a little silly if you’ve never participated in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (which is full of workbooks), but setting aside the time to physically write down your thoughts and feelings makes a huge difference. Everett’s studies suggest that the more time a person spends completing workbooks or engaging in talk therapy about forgiveness, the better their long term outcomes are. A 2023 analysis of all the available studies on Enright and Worthington’s protocols for forgiveness found they and similar models have a positive effect on patient well being, though that effect increases in group settings, and especially if the program is stretched out over a 12-week period. In other words, spending a couple of hours reading and thinking about the material in this article probably won’t be the key to radically changing your life, but it could leave you significantly better off than when you started. And the work you put in today can be the first step toward a series of truly game-changing personal interventions.
If you’re not ready to download a PDF, buy a book, or make an appointment with a therapist, here are the key steps to keep in mind as you set out to forgive:Do no harm
“The first homework assignment we give people is to decide to do no harm to the one who hurt you,” Enright says. “We’re not asking them to go embrace that person, or not to seek justice if it’s needed. It’s about making a decision not to try to get back at them somehow, or demean them, or verbally destroy their reputation.”
Enright says to remember that this is a “heroic” act. “In the face of being harmed,” he says, “You’re choosing to do the opposite.”
Worthington refers to this portion of the process as “decisional forgiveness,” which is much easier than making an emotional change—but marks a crucial first step. Decide you are a strong enough person not to hurt the person who hurt you, because you are.Work on changing your perspective of the incident
In Worthington’s free REACH manual, one of the exercises involves writing down the hurt you experienced (note: I messed up and made my experience “a three-year abusive relationship,” but you’re actually supposed to pick one specific hurt, which is a far more realistic goal to tackle than three years of countless hurts) and then, after a few other reflective exercises, write it down again “without emphasizing the perpetrator’s badness or your own victimization or the consequences this has had.” Comparing the two can help you understand what aspects of your memory are the ones causing you pain; ideally, those are the aspects you’ll stop dwelling on. Recognizing them is crucial to letting them go.Bear the pain
Worthington, Enright, and Addison all say that sitting and thinking about the painful memories you’re trying to forgive is necessary before you can let them go.
Worthington’s workbooks feature an exercise I found particularly helpful while meditating on my bitterness: He suggests clasping your hands and holding them out in front of you as long as possible—long enough that it becomes uncomfortable—while focusing on all the negative feelings you have against (and as a result of) the person you’re trying to forgive. You will feel deep physical relief when you finally let your hands unclasp and fall, which is a feeling you can call to mind whenever thinking about those negative emotions. Remind your brain that this process is good for your whole body.Work on changing your perspective of the perpetrator
A big part of forgiveness is working to see the person who hurt you as a person who has also been hurt.
“Hurt people hurt people,” Addison says. “Just recognizing that people are messy can help us to exonerate them a bit without taking down barriers that protect us from them.”
“If someone is fuming with hatred, you can’t ask them to just shut that off,” Enright says. “But we can begin to see the person who’s hurt us as a person, beyond the injustice we’ve suffered.”
He suggests working through a couple stages of empathy: First, consider the history of the person who wronged you and try to see them as a fallible, weak, wounded individual. Then shift to a global perspective, considering your shared humanity. Try to believe that they, like all of your fellow humans, have inherent worth simply by nature of existing.
“Compassion for the other begins to naturally grow in the heart,” Enright says. “It’s just a little glimmer of being willing to suffer with the other for all of their imperfections.”
Worthington suggests setting down two empty chairs and role-playing both sides of a conversation with your transgressor so you can understand their motives and possible feelings. Do you feel any sorrow on their behalf?
Remember that this doesn’t have to mean you understand why the person behaved the way they did, and absolutely doesn’t mean you need to justify their actions.
“When I have patients trying to forgive transphobic, racist, sexist, or homophobic people, we can loosen up some of that suffering without taking a step back toward them,” Addison says. “If we can come to some kind of a curious place—like, why on Earth would a person think that or behave that way—and make space to understand them more without having to accept their actions, we can start to see people as misguided and hurtful, but still more fully see them as people.”Give a gift
“It sounds outrageous to give a gift to the person who hurt you, but that’s what forgiveness is,” Enright says. If this is a relationship that’s not dangerous or inherently harmful to you, returning a smile or a phone call could suffice. Enright suggests donating money to a charity in your transgressor’s name, if you can’t (or shouldn’t) see them again.Do it all again
“It’s not a linear process,” Addison says. “It can come in waves.”
If you have a lot to forgive, just keep working on reframing small pieces of the puzzle. The more time you spend healing and letting go of bitterness, the better you’ll feel. Check in periodically to try to put a number on how much of the pain you’ve forgiven.What to do if you’re the one who needs forgiveness
“I’m a couple’s therapist, and often forgiveness is critical with a trust violation,” Addison says. “The person who did the hurtful thing is often really ready for forgiveness, but the process for the hurt partner is almost always much, much, much longer. I tell the person who did the injury: Your biggest job, other than being transparent and taking responsibility, is knowing your partner needs to set the pace here.”
Addison says that pushing someone to move on and forgive you before they’re ready will often work in the short term—the aggrieved party will usually try to accommodate you. “But they bypass the actual process of trust rebuilding,” she says, and your relationship will ultimately suffer for it.What to do after you’ve forgiven the person who hurt you
Unfortunately, making progress in terms of forgiving doesn’t mean you’ll never feel pain over your trauma again. Worthington’s workbook makes a point of addressing this: “When you see the person who hurt you and feel the negative feelings (anger, fear, sadness) pop up again, remind yourself: This pain, anger, and fear I’m feeling is not unforgiveness. It’s just my body’s way of protecting me so I won’t make the same mistakes I made last time.”
You may need to remove yourself from certain situations, or at least find things to distract you from your rumination over the person who hurt you. That doesn’t mean you’re not making progress.
Introduction LRU Approximation Algorithm
To keep track of which pages are currently in memory, the LRU approximation algorithm employs a circular buffer. Each page receives a reference bit, which is initially set to 0. When a page is accessed, the reference bit on that page is set to 1. The operating system scans the circular buffer on a regular basis, looking for pages with reference bit 0. When such a page is discovered, it is replaced with the new one.
During the scan, if a page with reference bit 1 is found, the reference bit is set to 0 and the scan proceeds. By doing this, the page has a second chance to stay in your memory. The scan is repeated until a page with reference bit 0 is located if one is not found the first time.
The LRU approximation algorithm is not a true LRU algorithm, but it provides a good approximation with significantly less overhead. It is a straightforward and efficient algorithm that is found in many operating systems. However, in some cases, such as when the working set size is larger than the buffer size or when there are long periods of high memory activity, it may not perform well. More sophisticated page replacement algorithms may be required in such cases.Advantages of LRU Approximation algorithm
Simplicity − The LRU approximation algorithm is simple to implement and has a low computational overhead. Each page only requires a single reference bit to be set and a circular buffer to store the pages.
Low Overhead − Since it does not require complex data structures or frequent memory scans, the LRU approximation algorithm has a low overhead. The algorithm only needs to scan the memory on a regular basis to look for pages with a reference bit of 0.
Good Performance − For most applications, the LRU approximation algorithm performs well, especially when the working set size is smaller than the buffer size. It can keep the most frequently used pages in memory while removing pages that are no longer needed.
Easy to Combine with Other Algorithms − To improve performance, the LRU approximation algorithm can be easily combined with other algorithms. It can be combined with the Clock algorithm, for example, to provide a more efficient page replacement algorithm.
Fairness − The LRU approximation algorithm is a fair algorithm that ensures all pages in memory have an equal chance of being evicted. This prevents pages from being evicted from memory unnecessarily and improves system performance overall.
Adaptability − The LRU approximation algorithm is adaptable and can be configured to work well in various system configurations. For example, the buffer size can be changed depending on the system’s memory requirements, and the scanning frequency can be changed depending on the system’s workload.
Despite its benefits, the LRU approximation (Second Chance) algorithm has some drawbacks, which include −
Limited accuracy in choosing the least recently used page to evict
Poor performance when the working set size exceeds the buffer size
Increased memory scanning can impact system performance
Limited adaptability in certain system configurations
Complexity in implementation for multi-processor systems
The LRU approximation algorithm has shortcomings in terms of accuracy, performance, and adaptability. These constraints can have an impact on system performance in certain scenarios, and the algorithm may need to be tweaked to work optimally in different system configurations.Conclusion
An efficient page replacement approach that works well in most situations is the LRU approximation (Second Chance) algorithm. We covered LRU Approximation in this article along with some of its benefits and drawbacks. It may be modified to fit different system configurations and is easy to apply. The system, meanwhile, has flaws in its performance, flexibility, and accuracy. When the working set size is larger than the buffer size, its performance could suffer because it might not always select the least recently used page for eviction.
If you sit down to play an old-school board game like chess this holiday season, it might be humbling to keep in mind just how bad you’d be against a computer. In fact, computers have shown they’re capable of taking humanity’s lunch money at board games for awhile now. Remember Deep Blue versus Gary Kasparov in 1997? The computer won. Or AlphaGo against Lee Sedol, in South Korea, at the game of Go, in 2023? Ditto.
In fact, Lee, a Go master, is retiring—and talking about how artificial intelligence is unbeatable. He said: “With the debut of AI in Go games, I’ve realised that I’m not at the top even if I become the number one,” the Guardian reported, citing the South Korean Yonhap News Agency.
Last year, the same team that created AlphaGo (the algorithm that beat Lee, four games to one, in 2023) celebrated something more formidable: an artificial intelligence system that is capable of teaching itself—and winning at—three different games. The AI is one network, but works for multiple games; that generalizability makes it more impressive, as it might also be able to learn other similar games, too.
They call it AlphaZero, and it knows chess, shogi (which is known as Japanese chess), and Go, a complex board game where black and white stones face off on a large grid. All of these games fall into the category of “full information” or “perfect information” contests—each player can see the entire board and has access to the same info. That’s different from games like poker, for example, where you don’t know what cards an opponent is holding.
“AlphaZero just learns completely on its own, just by playing against itself,” says Julian Schrittwieser, a software engineer at DeepMind, which created it. “And we get a completely new view of the game that is not influenced by how humans traditionally play the game.” Schrittwieser is a co-author on a 2023 study in Science describing AlphaZero, which was first announced in 2023.
Since AlphaZero is “more general” than the AI that won at Go, in the sense that it can play multiple games, “it hints that we have a good chance to extend this to even more real-world problems that we might want to tackle later,” Schrittwieser says.
The network needs to be told the rules of the game first, and after that, it learns by playing games against itself. That training took some 13 days for the game of Go, but just 9 hours for chess. After that, it didn’t take long for it to start beating other computer programs that were already experts at those games. For example, at shogi, AlphaZero took only two hours to start beating another program called Elmo. In fact, in a blog item, DeepMind boasts that the AI is “the strongest player in history” for chess, shogi, and Go. This same algorithm could be used to play other “full information” games, like the game of hex, with “no problem,” Schrittwieser says.
The new AI is similar to the artificial intelligence system that vanquished Lee Sedol in 2023. That headline-grabbing tournament is the subject of an excellent documentary, called AlphaGo, currently streaming on Netflix. It’s worth watching if the field of AI versus people interests you—or if the fascinating, ancient game of Go does.
And while this is modern AI research, board games have historically been a good way to test computers’ abilities, says Murray Campbell, a research scientist at IBM Research who authored a paper on the subject of AlphaGo in the same issue of Science. He says that the idea of having a computer play a board game dates back to 1950, and that by the 1990s, the machines were besting humans at checkers and chess. “It took us decades of work on these games to reach the point where we can perform them better than people,” Campbell says. “I think they’ve served the field very well; they’ve allowed us to explore techniques such as the ones used in AlphaZero.”
And the experience of working on the techniques used in AlphaZero will be helpful as the field aims at “more complex tasks,” Campbell adds. “And that was the whole point in the first place of tackling games—it wasn’t for their own sake, but [because] it is a constrained kind of environment where we can make progress.”
As for the human players, even if Lee is retiring, he still has a “final challenge” planned for December, according to The Korea Times: he’ll be pitted against another AI, called Handol, that was developed in Korea.
This story was first published in December, 2023. It has been updated with the news of Lee’s retirement and upcoming game with a new AI.
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