hi all, 2016 was another banner year for computer science. its been on a phenomenal roll the last few years and there seems to be no end in sight. dont really know what is causing all the wave, its likely a variety of factors. one large factor is the headline-grabbing success of AI in the last few years and that areas momentum shows no signs of abating. another neat factor is that president Obama has been a major friend of coding/ CS. it will be a big vacuum in authoritative support after he leaves office, its hard to think of a more enthusiastic or high profile position/ proponent/ advocate of coding. wrt this (and ofc other ways) he will surely be sorely missed.[d2][d3][d4]
➡ ❗ ⭐ 😎 😀 💡 hi all sparkfun 2016 was last wknd sat sep 17th. what a blast! got the big robot fix and geek (over?)dose for a long time.
as mentioned before in this blog (last summer), sparkfun is an amazing company with a lot of really dedicated/ passionate members. its grown massively in only about a decade. they have very impressive warehouse/ facilities with nice features such as several classroom areas.
a huge unexpected highlight for me (got there just in time) was the presentation by Casey Kuhns (aerospace engineer!) and Zachary Goff of the POISON ARROW battlebot. their robot is built incredibly well in short timeframes. they have to glue snap connectors together otherwise they break apart during collisions that have as much kinetic energy as in car crashes. they showed a highlight of launching another 250LB robot 8ft in the air. they also had a flying drone that could shoot down flames. it was impressive to watch but seemed to have a lot of trouble honing in on targets.
to a large room/ ~50 count rapt audience with lots of kids, they detailed the fascinating building and insider/ behind the scenes aspects/ figures of its creation. lots of great/ riveting slides/ videos. they revealed the ABC battlebot cage cost $3M. builders got $10K from the show, and they didnt mention much prizes on the show, it didnt seem to be much of a consideration for them.
the breakthrough is celebrated but mathematicians would like to see shorter proofs that are human-comprehensible, so there are mixed/ ambivalent feelings about it within the community. have written on this topic quite at length in this blog even since its beginnings, and this latest breakthrough is delightfully affirmationally crosscutting across many of this blogs categories, and think this is the tip of the iceberg of 21st century mathematics in a way not yet fully recognized. its a dramatic, vivid realization/ materialization of an idea suggested a few years ago here called “SAT induction.” think that these types of proofs will lead to new theory that is indeed human comprehensible but some of the isolated theorems will be claimed first by computer analysis before the more thorough theory catches up to integrate them.
hi all this eponymously named blog was started a few months after Turing centennial birthday in 2012. so far there hasnt been much writing on him here except for around 2014 when the Imitation Game movie came out. finally time to fill that (unfillable) gap some. Turings birthday passed in june and was hoping to time this post with it (its been on my “to do” pile for months now).
Turing was an inspiration to me since a teenager, mainly through the writing of Hofstadter and his remarkable books, Godel Escher Bach and Metamagical Themas (these books are near-legendary for inspiring nearly an entire generation of computer scientists…). the deep mystery of Turing machines transfixed me, and later realized it was tied with emerging research into “complexity theory”. how could such a simple yet ingenious object capture such incredible complexity, almost subsume mathematics itself? it seems a question that is still being investigated and answered and maybe at the heart of continued advances.
even at young age it also seemed to me the concept of undecidability had some kind of unfinished or provisional aspect to it, that it wasnt the complete story somehow. apparently mathematicians attacked nearly undecidable problems all the time to come up with some kind of proofs anyway. isnt this some kind of deep paradox? over the years/ decades have delved into this deep mystery myself and added some degree of awareness/ insight, but in many ways feel its still mostly unresolved. as Nietzsche said, “when you stare deeply into the abyss, the abyss stares back.”
😮 💡 ❗ 😎 😀 ❤ hi all. big news in number theory last few months and years. this is a tribute to a few years of top breakthroughs and exciting developments. the general theme is “primes” but there are a few detours.
in a breakthru/ rare event, a new statistical property of primes was discovered related to frequency of occurrence digits in base-n expansions. it was discovered by Oliver/ Soundararajan and has led to a huge amount of media attention and notice by top scientists. some of it was uncovered with dear-to-my-heart computer empirical/ experimental approaches.[e]
yet its somewhat reminiscent of another similar discovery only ~7yrs ago in 2009 by Luque/ Lacasa.[e6]
big discoveries like this sometimes make one think that maybe we havent even “scratched the surface” of theory of primes. [a2], a long-held/featured link on this site (on main sidebar) points out connections with quantum mechanics by Sautoy, an authority on the Riemann hypothesis (Dyson/ Montgomery 1972).
speaking of Riemann, and apropos/ befitting/ in observation/ reverence of todays date, it was claimed to be proven by a Nigerian recently. and it turns out not surprisingly Nigerian mathematics is not all so different than illustrious Nigerian business ventures advertised on the internet.[g]