Category Archives: breakthrough

qm computing summer 2017 update

hi all, seem to have reached a momentary lull in my own schedule and also the QM computing news that typically runneth over. maybe a moment of breath to clear out the queue. years ago it was cutting edge to talk about it but now it looks like a lot of the media is attuned and into covering the race[k] esp with inroads by big corporations (Google, IBM, Microsoft, Intel) into the area. Intel seems a relative newcomer but did finally show up on the radar.[a10]

can recall some of the earliest QM computing books came out around late 1990s eg 1997 or so, so now its been almost exactly 2 decades. here is a technology with immense promise but also immense engineering challenge.

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Google Deepmind strikes again: AlphaGo 3-0 over worlds best player Ke Jie

hi all Google Deepmind has pulled another rabbit out of the hat and won 3-0 against the worlds reigning Go champion Ke Jie who coincidentally is also Chinese, only about 1yr since last historic match.[a] the 19year old was reportedly literally in tears.[a17] quite a different reaction than kasparov ~2 decades ago! looks like emotions really run the gamut eh? last years match with Lee Sedol had him apologizing for/ to humanity at the end! reminds me of the so-called “5 stages of grief” concept from psychology… where the “loss” is one of mankinds most priceless/ treasured possessions, its uniqueness wrt intelligence/ mind! o_O

theres a brand new AlphaGo movie/ documentary on the prior history, cant wait to see it, has anyone else?[a8] what do you think? how does google/ deepmind top this? apparently they cant and actually theyve announced theyve decided to avoid any further human media/ spectacle matches! or is that just my interpretation? Hassibis is quoted as saying AlphaGo will stop/ retire, but not sure exactly what he means by that, its a big question mark, and the funky/ choppy chinese translation certainly isnt helping any.[a17] doesnt it make some sense to continue to refine it some, or release parts or all of it, do some maintenance, etc? it seems even after it beats the top human there is some small )( suspense left. (have always thought it a bit of a historical loss verging on tragedy that IBM Deep Blue chess hardware/ code was “decommissioned” and maybe never archived or released to the public.)

various alignments and massive themes going on here. the Chinese have funneled billions of dollars into AI research and yet this match was not really publicized much or celebrated within china, in stark contrast to last years international Korean media extravaganza, verging on near-media-circus! the state censorship system apparently decided to cut off the live feed of the match ~30m into it after uncertain/ unknown reasons, and/ or it became clear that maybe their human player would not dominate. and then theres the trickiness of Google having withdrawn from china in the prior few years due to their hacking, and wanting back into the gargantuan market. but oops! chinas semi-state-sponsored companies compete directly with google services. as the teenagers say, AWKWARD! 😳

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Royen proof of gaussian correlation inequality

hi all theres been a recent shock of awareness of the Royen proof of gaussian correlation inequality, pop-sci publicized by Wolchover for Quanta, a big milestone… this is a nearly ½-century-open problem![a] Quanta funded by Simons institute is one of the top outlets for scientific/ mathematical writing around today. a real community resource/ treasure!

the Royen proof is not exactly my area so cant write a lot on it but do note that its a key case study in dynamics of scientific peer review, and seems like it has some parallels to the ongoing mochizuki proof analysis.[b] it took over ~1½ year for “community” to begin to grasp the correctness of this proof and Wolchover has a nice historical timeline for how others began to notice/ accept it, a mapping of the spread of awareness. it did not help that Royen was somewhat isolated and did not seem to personally contact any cohorts for peer review. he published openly but it got lost in the noise. it shows how community acceptance is sometimes far from a black/ white binary decision, esp for “big problems”.

is there any way to improve peer review? its definitely a bit of an achilles heel of the scientific process. my feeling is that there is no way to improve it very much except maybe to try to increase transparency somehow. its very similar to the problem of “fake news”. how do you measure quality in content? we live in the vast Information Age but as has long been noted, theres a big difference between Information and Wisdom, and in a way peer review is the major mechanism that is designed to separate/ discriminate the two.

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tribute to Science 2017, shifting, shearing, maybe a crossroads

hi all. science is in the news. it looks like the US public has realized fairly quickly that this is nearly an anti-science admin through the administrations rhetoric and many early anti-science decisions.[a] the public “protests/ marches” for science are unprecedented (triggering this post/ “outburst”).[b] but one might argue they are not entirely protests but in fact an advocacy. there is strong overlap with climate concern.[i]

my favorite area/ subspeciality is Computer Science a very neat blend of STEM.[d] years (decades!) ago an interviewer asked me “whats the difference between science and technology”? that was before the STEM term was invented. found it difficult to answer the question.[j] but my focus is not so narrow and recognize that CS is part of Science and there are all kinds of ripples/ shifts/ waves going on in the latter. and ofc have a lot of physics ideas/ engagement/ writing on this blog.

science & technology are fusing in our lives like never before. the boundaries blur and some new capabilities may seem nearly god-like compared to the prior human condition. but there is also always the icarus aspect of flying close to the sun with waxed feathers. or pandoras box. the greeks seemed to dream uncannily far into the future in their legends/ mythology.

science is an ideology, but one that is threatened in various ways. its like those big ideas like Democracy that require active engagement by the public and is no longer something to be assumed or taken for granted.

science has given us miraculous stuff in the US and the US has been a world leader, but it seems some of that edge is eroding. its not something that comes automatically, it requires something like a vibrant/ thriving infrastructure, even ecosystem, and that cultural/ intellectual ecosystem is threatened quite analogous to the earths. academia is a big part of it, facing some difficulties.[f]

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universe as a simulation hypothesis, holographic principle, recent developments/ notes/ minisurvey

hi all. have blogged before here (admittedly, enthusiastically, even ebulliently) on the “digital physics” concept, an enamoring idea (for some!). recently within last few weeks and last year there seems to be substantial new interest and developments even in “semimainstream” physics, and now even the mainstream media is in a semi-lather over close topics. (skeptics will ofc argue the word “semimainstream” sounds something like “semipregnant”!) its hard to keep up! there are many different angles of povs, events, personalities, etc… this post attempts to collect and summarize some of this and bang it all into a semicoherent story (as much as such a thing is possible). some old but evocative buzz/ magic words thrown around about internet expansion into multiple industries come to mind: consolodation/ convergence…

to start, these ideas are now going under the headline of the “holographic universe/ principle”[a2] or “simulated universe/ hypothesis”[a1] concepts. they are interconnected in major and/ or subtle ways.

mentioned Aaronsons recent blog[i3] on subj citing Hossenfelder [i1][i2] in a recent near-throwaway comment in the SE physics chat room “hbar”[a5] to a new accomplished user BenNiehoff (phd KU Leuven working on string theory with 9 papers on arxiv!). hes met a lot of famous physicists at conferences personally eg Susskind, Zee, Green, Schwarz, and Witten and other famous theorists. am trying to recruit him for a guest session in our elite and popular series, but thats another story!

laid out some of the basic concepts/ “pros” of the simulation hypothesis ideas incl/ eg longtime endorsement/ driven pursuit by nobel prize alumnus ‘t Hooft, which thought were not generally very controversial, but the room denizens/ regulars reacted quite adversely-bordering-on-negatively, with some really stinging retorts! guess those big fat shiny nobel prizes and the proverbial “trip to stockholm” just aint what they used to be! Ben expressed his disinclination and looks like they all smelled blood in the water & went in for the kill! 😮 o_O 😦

Ah, as usual you have no actual argument to make, I should’ve known. —ACuriousMind [a6]

vzn; do you have any mainstream views? —John Rennie [a7]

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