1st… yikes, tough crowd! poured my heart into my PNP outline over 10wks ago and two other posts and zilch response. ouch! you guys are sure quiet out there. when starting this blog, didnt imagine it would be so hard to get some comments. c’mon guys! geez! Im not writing this for *myself*!
anyway, have been busy. “being busy is the best revenge”. or something like that.
JF responded quickly and graciously and signed up to the tcs stackexchange where we had a huge, sprawling conversation in chat over more than 6 wks.
[trying to be very diplomatic here...] my verdict-of-the-moment is that he’s quite talented, but also somewhat lost in a cerebral , near-solipsistic labyrinth mostly of his own construction. but hey! things can change, wink
do appreciate him signing up and chatting, and “talk” about beginners luck, his 1st question on tcs stackexchange immediately got more than 10 votes, the kind of instant attention and affirmation that has mostly eluded me over the year on the site, but thats a whole other story/saga for another time.
some good news is that hits to my site spiked one day as people heard about his proof from hackernews [my post] and then someone found my last blog post via google as the [apparently] sole 2ndary mention of his work on the web, wrote about it in the thread, and lots of people clicked on that link. yay!
this followed a great, long conversation with SJ, who has since gone into hiding, ha. it was a real energy boost to talk to him and come up with different ideas on his very interesting, very deep, and very difficult problem relating to ST connectivity on graphs. noticed in the last year on cstheory.se that problem seems to pop up in various diverse contexts. he mentioned ryan williams recent paper on the subject that seems to prove its something like a “complete” problem for algorithms. do hope to chat with him again further in the future sometime but maybe not on such a narrow topic [anything else would be a misdemeanor given his extraordinary encyclopediac nature!].
elsewhere… I think I have a small breakthrough on the collatz conjecture via re-engaging an approach I toyed with many years ago but left mid-experiment at the time. if anyone likes the collatz conjecture & has seriously thought about it (or wants to!), please drop me a comment and that might spur me to write up these *results*. they are not fully cooked yet but they seem like mere millimeters away from an exotic inductive proof unlike anything anyone has seen before. (but this margin is too small to contain it!)
* * *
so, probably what I should do is not write such huge posts, so that I dont feel nearly as bad as when nobody replies to the small ones. which reminds me of pascals semifamous quote which seems to apply also to mathematical writing:
I made this letter very long, because I did not have the leisure to make it shorter.
anyway, do have a bunch of great topics to write about, and its hard to decide which one to write out 1st. however here is an idea Ive had for many years which was recently spurred to my awareness by Scott Aaronson’s blog post where he talks about a remarkable, impressive new paper by Anderson and Brady, “why qm computing is hard and qm crypto is not provably secure”.
now Aaronson is one of the foremost quantum mechanical authorities on the entire planet and has already made amazing contributions at a relatively young age. a TCS researcher published in both NYT and SciAm [the latter complete with darling cartoons] is the closest to a genuine Sagan-like celebrity in the field & makes me supergreen with envy. *just imagine the groupies!* but reading his blog and other writings, its clear [again trying to put this diplomatically] he has a rather huge ego. hey, not really knocking it! that can be an asset in many fields. and one inherently needs a healthy, maybe super-boost of ego to keep up a blog.
anyway these two elite guys at Cambridge argue a hidden variable theory of QM based mostly on soliton theory. astonishing! doesnt david deutsch also work at cambridge? maybe all that contrarian quantum magician dust is in the air over there. (david deutsch wrote papers on QM computing in something like the 1980s, basically nearly singlehandedly launching the field, but he’s now regarded as something of the doddering grandfather with quaint or unorthodox views. oh well, einstein was like that too!)
and aaronson goes on to basically really excoriate the paper at length, and invite all his admiration society on his blog to join in the stampede. didnt see pitchforks yet in the crowd, but there definitely did seem to be some torches.
wow! its not every day I get such a delicious opportunity to *vehemently disagree* with such an elite luminary as aaronson—on the other hand, due to the amazing wonders of cyberspace, its not the 1st time!  the iconoclastic, contrarian, Kuhnian paradigm-shifting-shattering Anderson-Brady paper is just *way cool* if you ask me. visionary! gamechanging! these guys have some *serious cojones* as scientists, and thats really rare! Ive been promoting solitons since over a decade ago out in cyberspace. I wrote up some essays and research leads not long after wolfram came out with his massive volume , but it was a really lonely time to have many thoughts about them.
its easy to see why aaronson was offended. qm computing is his sacred cow, and he’s all about that its going to be extremely viable and rolling out in real computers in just a fortnight. except that he hates DWave with years of unadulterated zeal. right. people can be complicated in their aspirations I guess. he’s a fervent believer, one of those presumable scientific atheists who has found a different kind of scientific religion. halleluja! frankly at times, wrt qm computing, he reminds me a little of ray kurzweil wrt the singularity!
* * *
now, I can remember over a decade ago when qm computing was on the horizon and very few people were studying it, and it was almost not at all being worked on by experimenters. and yeah, I was trying to figure out if it could happen, or if it was just a dream. it did remind me a little of fusion technology. “fusion technology is about 20years away. but then again, its *always* been about 20 years away”. (does anyone know who originated that quote? couldnt find it on the web.)
my personal view at this point is that someday “qm cpus” will become a reality, but its turning out to be much harder than expected and there are now some highly credible, influential, and persuasive naysayers. practical qm computing is stuck at “just a few qbits”, basically exactly where it was a decade ago. it does seem to be inherently harder to control than electricity in chips. so far, there is no moores-law like improvement on the horizon, but that could change. it would seem we are at the point in qm computing “pre transistor”. if someone can create a sort of “qm transistor” then maybe we’re on our way, but not so far.
on the other hand the *theoretical* study of qm computing has exploded. its extraordinary how many qm centers there are around the world. there is intense national competition in this area. nations understand that the 1st country to harness this capability could reap an astonishing multidecade gargantuan goldmine-bonanza. something similar fueled silicon valley for decades, and its the envy of the world for good reason.
anyway Anderson and Brady seem to me to be very much on the right track. hidden variable theory is the black sheep of physics, but its also the sparkling underdog. now I dont expect this to happen soon, but someday there may be new physical evidence for a hidden variable theory. it maybe might even be hiding out right under our noses right now interpreted, and brushed under the rug, as some kind of “anomaly”. if you ask me, quantum mechanics is just too darn mathematically elegant to be exactly correct. Im sure nature is far more unruly beneath it, far more fractal.
solitons point the way. there are already sophisticated models for the atom and other particles . also nobel winning physicist ‘t Hooft has been working on something like it and getting huge skepticism and pushback from other physicists for his efforts. he works on something like 3d cellular automata (CA). it hasnt been shown that well in theory yet, but it appears to me that solitons are just something like very complex 4-d CA “gliders”. am hoping that ‘t Hooft unifies his CAs with solitons sooner-than-later.
however, I believe the soliton research agenda is one that will play out for decades. the literature right now is very scattered, checkered, isolated, disconnected. if soliton theory were a theory of reality, it would be like quantum mechanics before einstein. the field needs its own einstein to tie it together. it hasnt been unified yet, or isnt recognized to be. there is no galvanizing, killer experiment to demonstrate their possible reality. although there is a article in the Atlantic from 1988 about fredkin!
on the other hand there are some radical, exciting new indications of a “digital” universe which imho would support the idea of a cellular-automata based reality with particles equivalent to soliton patterns. but not everyone has made the connections yet.
oh and just remember that once again, as always, those hindu mystics had it all figured out ages ago in their sophisticated analysis and philosophy of the duality between *purusha and prakriti*. purusha is said to be the “skein” or the outline that the prakriti, the thread, is woven on. to me, it sounds like the matrix and the soliton gliders on it. mind expanding! and maybe that—mind expansion!—is something aaronson and I can agree on will be necessary to eventually reach QM Computing nirvana.
what does all this have to do with TCS and TMs anyway? well I think the universe is just a giant algorithm, and we’re gonna have to build some supercomputers that run CA-soliton-simulations to prove it. we’re not there yet, but hey, the supercollider in Europe discovered the higgs boson, surely we can build something that can prove the existence of soliton model of matter and particles, right? us CS guys have *way* more superpowers than the lowly physicists. the verdict is in, in the fight of bits versus atoms, bits win!
hope to hear from you in the comments! dont be shy!
-  Shtetl-Optimized » Blog Archive » Collaborative Refutation
-  [1301.7351] Why quantum computing is hard – and quantum cryptography is not provably secure
-  Soliton – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
-  Soliton model of atom – Springer
-  ’t Hooft on Cellular Automata and String Theory | Not Even Wrong
-  Cosmic rays offer clue our universe could be a computer simulation (Wired UK)
-  ‘The idea we live in a simulation isn’t science fiction’ – opinion – 18 December 2012 – New Scientist
-  [1210.1847] Constraints on the Universe as a Numerical Simulation
-  The Measurement That Would Reveal The Universe As A Computer Simulation | MIT Technology Review
-  Soliton Model of Extended Quantum Particles by Rybakov & Saha
-  Soliton model of the Atom by Rybakov & Saha
-  A New Kind of Science – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
-  [astro-ph/0605467] Elementary Physics in the Cellular Automaton Universe
-  The Atlantic | April 1988 | Did the Universe Just Happen? | Wright
-  CELLULAR AUTOMATA THEORY AND PHYSICS A New Paradigm For The Unification of Physics by Ostoma and Trushyk
-  How Entanglement Could Be Deterministic | MIT Technology Review
-  CAN QUANTUM MECHANICS BE RECONCILED WITH CELLULAR AUTOMATA? ‘t Hooft
-  Perpetual Motion of The 21st Century? « Gödel’s Lost Letter and P=NP
-  RJ Lipton, mounting or solving open problems, Godels lost letter blog
-  Paradigm shift, wikipedia
-  purusha and prakriti
-  Negoponte, Being Digital
-  Cellular Automata: A Discrete Universe: Andrew Ilachinski: 9789812381835: Amazon.com: Books
-  Quantum Computing Promises New Insights, Not Just Supermachines
-  The limits of quantum computers, Aaronson, SciAm
-  Applicability of Church-Turing thesis to interactive models of computation
-  cellular automata, wikipedia