collatz alive and still kicking

the theme of the moment is “still alive, still kicking”. sometimes feeling like a lump of coal under extreme heat/ pressure… aka “soul crushing“… and sometimes even “little guys” like me have problems not entirely unlike those among the remote, lofty stratosphere… on a vastly different scale… nevertheless now can relate to ariannas sentiments on this, “no tears left to cry”… (supposedly) “that which does not destroy me makes me stronger“. nietzsches saying is either supposed to be inspiring or having the ulterior bleak or barren allusion (ofc one does not voluntarily wish to experience near-destroying events). life is a double edged sword. his own life would be a case study in that… and ofc a cyberspace blog is the perfect place to share + elicit appropriate, soothing audience sympathy + compassion for these worldly all-too-human predicaments/ tribulations! 😳 o_O 🙄 😥

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collatz going in circles

happy new yr to all my readers, made it to another decade, some smiles, some scars! a few trolls have visited over the years, they seem to have found the blog via reddit comments, comments there do draw in minicrowds, but alas reddit mods (supposedly rather hypocritically following policy on the user generated content site) very aggressively scrub links to blogs in comments, although many submitted links are often blogs. so am banned from posting comments on about 3 subreddits lately for citing blog articles that are unquestionably on topic for the subreddits. badges of honor lol!

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intractable collatz

(background color: truly is the nightmare before xmas around here lately. seems as if santa died this year.) when in doubt, write some code. this idea occurred to me and is similar to hybrid3 experiment from 12/2018. the idea there is to just run the hybrid optimizer to find large ‘cm’ max glide index trajectories for fixed bit widths. here that is changed to ‘cg’ glide length. what will be the pattern of results? this generates 500 trajectories after 10K optimization iterations and then sorts results from longest to shortest by ‘cg’ and looks at the initial bit patterns. some of the hypothesis is confirmed. it turns out they are all utilizing a 1-lsb triangle to generate very long glides; this explains the lsbs. the msbs are harder to characterize. this grid plots the inverse of the bits and the msbs line up on the right in the same ‘cg’ order, longest to shortest bottom to top.

but generally this all fits into a brand new hypothesis. the idea is that generally the longest glides by bit width utilize the 1-lsb run structure. this would seem to explain a lot of other experiments that optimized but did not look further at the bit structure. the similar hybrid3 experiment did find/ notice the 1-runs but didnt notice at the time the probable lsb link. there was a series of experiments to find longest glides or trajectories limiting by 1-run lengths. my suspicion now is that for those longest trajectories found, the 1-runs tend to be in the lsb. it would have been simple to check at the time, but didnt. recall this experiment is showing that starting from random seeds, optimization of the longest glides all converge to this 1-lsb bit structure. therefore it seems likely (all) other optimization schemes (eg bitwise etc) would tend to follow the same pattern.

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collatz unvanquished

(still hanging in there despite going thru/ in middle of tumultuous 1-time in lifetime personal hardship…) have been pursuing many miscellaneous ideas and firing off many different algorithms without a lot of particular direction and many mostly null results. then was looking closely at backtracking patterns of 1-run patterns (riffing some off the direction of last months backtrack21 code which found the stripe pattern in msbs) and then ran into this idea/ finding/ feature, maybe not obviously/ apparently/ closely aligned with overall proof ideas but definitely worth documenting. not sure how exploitable it is, but it was a little surprising. it uses a simple backtracking algorithm (with restarts) to create 20-length pre-trajectories on a 50-length 1-run in a 100 bit width seed with ½ density random background. then it was found that there is a signal that occurs about ½ the number of iterates of the initial 1-run, ie ½ * 50 = 25 in this case (graphed to 20).

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endless(?) collatz

it might seem sometimes like work on this problem is “endless”. am coming up on the ¾ 100 mark count of blogs on the subject. it seems sometimes endless not unlike the sense of an unhalting Turing computation, but one which neither cant be proven nonhalting (lol hows that for a triple negative?). there have been ups and downs to say the least. or maybe its been more of a rollercoaster ride. in the sense that bipolar disorder switching between mania and depression is also a rollercoaster. ok, just being a little )( dramatic there. but one tends to get dramatic after years of work on a problem. in agile programming theres a concept of “features, stories, sprints, epics” of increasing complexity. work on this problem is exceeding an epic at this point. speaking of that and drama, there was also an old book on software engineering about “death march projects”. they are real, they do exist. maybe am feeling a bit demoralized/ disillusioned after slaving working on one at the corporate salt mine work for ~¾ of a year now. ofc such things arent announced/ designated (thats part of the groupthink/ collective denial/ blind spot that goes on!) so it comes down to “for all practical purposes…”

overall feel the work has been worthwhile but the goal of a proof is always lurking and by that measure, theres something of a failure. argh! but then, thats a very high standard that no human alive out of 7B, even more nonliving, has ever achieved. yes, lets keep in mind that mathematicians who have worked on collatz in the past have died, not the least collatz himself. it would be dramatic to say they “died working on the problem” although it would not be entirely inaccurate either…! hard problems were once compared to a femme fatale in this blog… and the other metaphor is relevant, the (mostly unpublished, but still very real) “graveyard of failed approaches” by others + myself…

its a bit awkward or unseemly to call all this an “obsession” but not entirely inaccurate either.

in this realm, have to take solace and reassurance in some small )( victories.

  • small victory: CS blogging superstar RJLipton recently inquired about my work, and replied to him. (one of the rare few who successfully published a book out of his blogs. utterly shamelessly, another that immediately comes to mind is belle de jour.) didnt lead to any further dialog so far but its a delightful moment/ incident/ vignette.
  • another very noteworthy item: Terence Tao one of the biggest legendary living mathematicians, the only one winning $3M to my knowledge, filed a paper on arxiv on the collatz problem. afaik its his only “published” work on it outside of a blog page. have posted comments to his collatz blog page over the years asking for attn, never got his or others direct attn, the comments have tended to get anonymously downvoted—no hard feelings lol!
  • am reading the Book of Satoshi edited by Phil Champagne, what a awesome joy/ pleasure. SN is one of the greatest living computer scientists if you ask me, one cannot overstate his once-in-a-century accomplishments, and as far as code affecting reality in an almost superpower/ superhero or even godlike way instead of the typical case of vice versa, he is unmatched, it is an extraordinary gift/ honor merely to be a contemporary and living on the planet at the same time! a new hero of our age for the pantheon. he accomplished what almost nobody has ever done. he managed to write and start/ lead the open source project and gain followers, almost making it look easy. almost all other cases of this type of accomplishment pale in comparison. his work is quite similar to Linus Torvalds in many ways and yet in many ways on a much vaster/ impactful scale (honestly am a bit envious of them both, having long attempted a vaguely similar venture and having achieved an infinitesmal )( fraction in comparison). basically, geeks meet economics. which brings to mind that old zen question, what happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object? had no idea how difficult such endeavors really are. and theres a unmistakable element of randomness as with all “viral” phenomena… alas, there are very few clues as to his personality or identity…

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