A Twisted Path to Equation-Free Prediction: Quanta Magazine – About Empirical Dynamic Modeling

Empirical dynamic modeling, Sugihara said, can reveal hidden causal relationships that lurk in the complex systems that abound in nature.

This approach for prediction throws out the equations, and uses a different kind of approach to find order in chaotic systems. The process includes the gathering of enough historical data to make more reliable predictions.  To me, it sounds similar in some ways to some of the processes that feed into the field of AI, or Artificial Intelligence.

https://www.quantamagazine.org/chaos-theory-in-ecology-predicts-future-populations-20151013/

 

The Simple Algorithm That Ants Use to Build Bridges | Quanta Magazine

(Picture from Quanta Magazine. Credit – Vaishakh Manohar.)

via The Simple Algorithm That Ants Use to Build Bridges | Quanta Magazine

I first learned about how ants work in a cooperative manner in a book that my daughter had bought me for Christmas. The book was all about trails.  (She had figured out the perfect book for my interests!)   There is a chapter in this book about how trails historically came into being, and how these have, over time, led to our modern day system of roads, railroad tracks, and other connections for human travel.

Trails have existed for ages. The concept is not the creation of humans.  Animals of different kinds, using different skills, and for different purposes, have created trails.   There was, and still is, no real planning involved (the way humans would define it) in the creation of animal trails. It is all tied to their inbuilt instinct to survive and exist.

Ants have been creating trails for a long time.  The notable thing about the behavior of ants is that in spite of the fact that they do not have any significant level of individual intelligence, they show a great deal of collective or cooperative intelligence that lets them be effective in complex tasks.  (They do not even depend on the presence of an occasional “smart” ant that can serve as a leader.)  The book describes how their processes work for creating very efficient trails.  (There is even a kind of ant that is blind that is still very effective at this.)  Humans are now trying to understand if any of these processes are useful for our own existence.

Anyway, the article I have linked to is fascinating.  Make sure to watch the videos!

The Era of Quantum Computing Is Here. Outlook: Cloudy | Quanta Magazine

This is interesting!  The article indicates that one of the big issues with quantum computing is the approach for handling errors that are inherent in the process.  I wonder if there is some kind of Information Theory based limitation that in some way parallels what happens in the area of digital communications.  Digital communication rates over noisy channels are subject to Shannon’s Limit, but it takes a lot of sophisticated coding for error correction, and the associated processing power, to get anywhere close to this limit.  Such sophisticated techniques have become practical only recently, and have been applied to the area of satellite data communications only in recent years in order to enable higher levels of modulation that can increase the resulting data rates supported, but only if the error correction techniques can handle it.  (As you get to higher levels of modulation, you are tending more towards an analog means of transmission for the digital data, which feeds into my argument that we human beings are force-fitting digital into an analog world, but that is a subject for a different discussion.)

Might it be that there are some fundamental concepts that are similar and hold true in both digital communications and quantum computing technology?  How fast is it theoretically possible to go with quantum computing, and is the limitation due to quantum constraints, or noise, or some combination?  Can we make digital computing approximate an analog process in some way? Is mathematics an analog process?  Inquiring minds want to know!

via The Era of Quantum Computing Is Here. Outlook: Cloudy | Quanta Magazine

A Life Inspired by an Unexpected Genius |Quanta Magazine

The mathematician Ken Ono believes that the story of Srinivasa Ramanujan — mathematical savant and two-time college dropout — holds valuable lessons for how we find and reward hidden genius.

via The Mathematician Ken Ono’s Life Inspired by Ramanujan | Quanta Magazine

To Solve the Biggest Mystery in Physics, Join Two Kinds of Law | Quanta Magazine

A different way to look at what the study of physics can be all about.  Perhaps the answer lies in finding a common approach that finds a bridge between the philosophies and approaches of emergence and reductionism.

via To Solve the Biggest Mystery in Physics, Join Two Kinds of Law | Quanta Magazine