Friday, October 26, 2007

The fairytale of search as mechanical intelligence 

Alex Smith, a undergraduate electrical engineering student at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom, has proven that a primitive type of computer known as a 2,3 Turing machine can solve every computational problem there is.

Stephen Wolfram

We don't have to carefully build things up with engineering. We can just go out and search in the computational universe, and find things like universal computers--that are simple enough that we can imagine making them out of molecules.


The solution isn't hugely relevant to modern computer science, says Scott Aaronson, a computer scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts. "Most theoretical computer scientists don't particularly care about finding the smallest universal Turing machines," he wrote in an e-mail. "They see it as a recreational pursuit that interested people in the 60s and 70s but is now sort of 'retro'."

Topics: information | design

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Everything is Not Miscellaneous (The Importance of Structure) 

buko obele
So rather than gleefully celebrating the removal of "physical constraints" on the web we ought to be searching for ways to better translate those same physical constraints (whose only fault is that they are old but have actually proved quite useful in many previous ventures including the construction of civilization) to the web. Better ways for users to add and organize data into meaningful information, easier systems for users to organize themselves into groups and communities, faster algorithms for exploiting the tremendous structural knowledge contained in this vast new place -- ultimately we need to give users the tools to build their own structures and carve out their own spaces on the web and then finding way to bridge all of these new structures together. It's more hierarchies and more categories created by users for users that the web needs, not less.

Topics: structure | information

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Monday, October 01, 2007

Gödel and the mathematics of life 

Albert Voie
Life expresses both function and sign systems. This parallels the logically necessary symbolic self-referring structure in self-reproducing systems. Due to the abstract character of function and sign systems, life is not a subsystem of natural laws. This suggests that our reason is limited in respect to solving the problem of the origin of life and that we are left accepting life as an axiom.

Topics: Meaning | life | logic | evolution

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