deltalmg911 deltalmg911

Niner since 2007


  • Ping 117: Xbox gives back, Win 8 boots fast, Ballmer sees bright future, More MATH please!

    @Bryan:I don't know about that I can time 3X4 times faster comfortably than I can write when writing so fast I have about a 50% chance of being able to read it afterwards. If speed is the thing we should be teaching shorthand. Cursive isn't very much use now a days other than signing cheques. But cheques are going the way of the dodo since credit and debit is taking over so ...

  • Microsoft's Adaptive Keyboard at UIST

    Something I hoped the adaptive keyboard would have would be adaptive key spacing. Not everyones hands are the same size so why do we insist on making keyboards one size fits all?

  • Brian Beckman: Project Quark - A New Beginning for Quantum Computing Rises from the Ashes of Theoret


    "It therefore follows that either one of the following is true:

    • A theory of everything exists, but it cannot be written in mathematics. At which point it stops being science and becomes philosophy or theology.
    • A theory of everything exists, but for some problems it simply returns the wrong result.
    • A theory of everything exists, but for some problems it will never return a result. And equally importantly given Turing's halting problem you won't be able to tell before doing the computation that it will never halt. Consequently the theory ceases to be a theory of "everything" in the sense that we know it.
    • A theory of everything exists, but it can't tell you everything about "everything", only somethings about everything (or everything about something), and thus isn't really a theory of everything.
    • A theory of everything simply does not exist "
    I not sure if that is correct. Incomputability does not equal non-existence. Example the concept of pi. We now it exists though we can't compute it. Similarly we can know that a particle exists somewhere and has a certain probability of being on some region without knowing for sure if it is there or not:  that is  the  definition of probabilistic not deterministic theories. We can claim that quantum mechanics is right because the resulting probablities match what experiment shows the distribution to be, without necessitating that we can but an exact velocity and position vector on each particle in the universe.

    Thus I propose that it is likely that:
    • A theory of everything exists, but it will be probabilistic not deterministic.
    As a side note: I don't think it would be possible to have a provably deterministic theory of everything. By definition in order to prove that it can predict everything you have to be able to do the calculation. But in order to store the result your going to need at least the same number of particles that have ever existed. So you can turn the whole universe into a computer that exactly predicts itself or live with a universe that you are pretty certain you have a probabilistic approach to understanding because you can do your calculations with a small subset and get good results.

    Assuming the universe is closed you are stuck with a probabilistic interpretation. We might have an exact way of expressing the interactions between all the particles that exist in our universe but we would have no way of knowing everything's position exactly at the same time so we can "know how it works" without being able to do predictions on it.

    It would be similar to you asking me "I'm driving east at 100 km/h where will I be in an hour" it has no meaning because I don't know where you are, but I'm certain that I'd be able to answer it if you gave me the subset of the universes information that I need, namely your starting position. That is good enough for me; that I'll be able to get some sort of answer to any problem given the required inputs. I'd have complete understanding without perfect knowledge.
  • Brian Beckman: Project Quark - A New Beginning for Quantum Computing Rises from the Ashes of Theoret

    Most of this is true. After pretty much every major discovery in physics people say, that's it we can explain everything and it all makes sense. This wasn't the cause with quantum mechanics mainly because it goes against our intuition (so it can't be right Smiley).

    Group theory and symmetries are used heavily in very theoretical physics. Symetry properties are what particle physicists usually use to propose particles that aren't discovered yet, though at some level you can just use algerbra. For example if you have a quark that has +2/3 charge, and one that has -1/3 charge and particles created out of them that have 0, -1 and + 1 charge you can surmise that a +1/3 and a -2/3 charge quark probably exists too. Similarly with the spin on particles etc.

    When you move into the area of string theory science really just becomes math, they essentially add enough dimensions and symetry properties between them to explain the interactions between matter.

    Finally: the quantum stuff that Brian mentions is true. Particles moving between two points do instanteously consider all paths. If you are considering light for example, you can derive reflection, refraction, and "light moves in a straight line when in a constant medium" all from using this property. How?

    For those that are mathmatically inclined, think of drawing light as a wave as it travels, in denser materials you end up with shorter wavelengths, and in less optically dense materials longer wave lengths. If you do the path integral over all possible paths you'll find that for every path not the one that classical optics would give you that there is opposing paths where the waves will cancel out. The only one that remains is the one that the light actually travels. The beauty of it is that light ends up travelling on the quickest path possible given the constraints. For example reflection, if you force light to bounce off a mirror surface somewhere and then hit another point, the shortest path will be for light to move such that the angle of incidence equals the angle of reflection.

     For more complicated setups like the typical quantum ones (double slit experiment for example) you can still solve it with this method. Richard Feynman wrote a cool little book, about 100 pages, called QED: The Strange Theory Of Light and Matter which is quite accessible (~12USD, written using nothing more than grade 10 or so math).

    Anyways the bottom line is that as Brian said the world is strange but understandable. We can figure out how things work we just might not like the answers we get Smiley.

    P.S. Printing is definitely a pain when it comes to quantum computers as once you take your measurement to get your answer your computers state will be corrupted. So maybe fine for things where you only want a final value but for things like plotting the movement of a complex machine it would be a nightmare, you'd have to reload the program and end it at a different "time" in order to get the next data point. In fact I'm not even sure how you would program something like that as often you don't want the quantum like behaviour but a much more simplified model that behaves Newton's laws, you probably would want a classical computer for it.
  • Burton Smith: On General Purpose Super Computing and the History and Future of Parallelism

    Good to hear from a fellow HPC geek;)

    I'm not sure if silos have to be eliminated in quite the way that Burton mentions. Sometimes (in my experience most the time) one group needs a component before another group will be ready to deliver it, even if they have the "winning solution". Say for example the winner is in the middle of a reliablity scrum so they aren't going to be coding anything for the next 1-2 weeks. That will push any component of any meaningful size off for at least a month.

    In my view it isn't so much picking the winner up front, but getting a rough API design and letting whoever needs it first code it. Then everyone needs to know that feature has been made so when they run into a need for it they can "cut and paste" it into their app. Otherwise what happens is you pick a winner and the other projects get a stop sign placed on their Gantt charts wherever the point at which the project leaders can deliver that component.

    I would like to see a little bit of what I'd like to term "architect in a cloud" where an architect isn't tasked to a particular product group but is free to roam (Bill Gates probably has demonstrated that role best in the past). That way if they have the winning idea but another group than the one they currently are in has spare dev resources or an earlier dependance on the component the architect can float on over to that group and lead the project rather than wait for the resources to be free in his department or steal the resources from another department.

    Two arguements for it:

    1) It is easier to move one person then a dev team.
    2) Architects spending more time circulating about will have a deeper grasp of the company and a better idea of who the "thought leaders" are in a bunch of different niches.
    3) Components that are depended on by multiple projects get started earlier.
  • Peter Sestoft: Inside The C5 Generic Collection Library for C# and CLI

    Yeah they are getting quite large, that is why I download them at work Smiley My home internet is faster (or at least my share of it, 1MBps) but I have a 100GB/month quota.

    I don't know a good answer to the problem, you want the whiteboard stuff to be easily readable but you don't need the resolution through the talking bits. Any good dynamic bitrate formats out there? Otherwise what about a webcase similar to webex? Stream powerpoint or something. On second thought that might kill the interactive style of C9.

    I agree with others that the streaming sucks on this site (that is why I download everything (also I like to be able to keep my task tray clean when I multitask). My request would be that everything be available as a download (there is still about 20% that are only streaming). That would go for the research channel too. I have found stream downloaders but they all seem to want to take the download in realtime, but I'm able to download at about 800Kps if I use a multi-threaded download agent otherwise.
  • Expert to Expert: Brian Beckman and Sam Druker - Deep Entity Framework

    Great stuff, data modelling is definitely more interesting than most people think. I hate it when people think of DB's as black boxes, and have no understanding of all the layers (yes donkey like an onion) in between a conceptual I want this customers info and the DBMS spitting out the data.

    I hope one day to have the variety of projects under my belt Brian does Wink I too am a physicist (superconductivity and protein folding) that have landed myself into IT/programming role. I definitely find the similarities in the problems that need solving, however one pays better than the other Wink