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Jason Wolfe: on 12/26/19 at 8:58am UTC, wrote Merry Christmas Georgina, Hope you got some great presents!

Georgina Woodward: on 12/26/19 at 0:39am UTC, wrote Happy Christmas Jason. Thank you for considering my posts. I see I will...

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FQXi BLOGS
January 21, 2020

CATEGORY: Blog [back]
TOPIC: What Will Quantum Computers Be Good For? — panel discussion from the 6th FQXi Meeting [refresh]
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FQXi Administrator Zeeya Merali wrote on Nov. 21, 2019 @ 18:08 GMT
Credit: Erik Lucero
Over the past couple of months there’s been renewed interest, and quite some intrigue, surrounding quantum computing. As you'll know from the special edition of the podcast with quantum physicist and FQXi blogger Ian Durham we posted in October, there was a news leak in September suggesting that a team at Google had achieved ‘quantum supremacy’ for the first time. This is the milestone at which a quantum computer performs a specific task that lies beyond the practical reach of a classical computer. At the time that we posted the podcast, the rumour was that Google’s quantum processor, Sycamore, had solved a random number generation problem in just 200 seconds. The claim was that the world’s best classical computer would need 10,000 years to perform the same task. Since then, the team has officially published their results in Nature.

Free Podcast

Quantum Supremacy Milestone? Rumours abound that Google's quantum processor Sycamore has performed a task that would flummox the best classical computer — a first in quantum computing. Physicist Ian Durham assesses the claims, gives us a quantum computing primer, and discusses concerns about the term 'quantum supremacy'.



LISTEN:







Go to full podcast

The plot thickened in October, however, when IBM hit back with a blog post in which some of their researchers claimed that the result was perhaps not quite as supreme as Google claimed, saying:

"Recent advances in quantum computing have resulted in two 53-qubit processors: one from our group in IBM and a device described by Google in a paper published in the journal Nature. In the paper, it is argued that their device reached “quantum supremacy” and that “a state-of-the-art supercomputer would require approximately 10,000 years to perform the equivalent task.” We argue that an ideal simulation of the same task can be performed on a classical system in 2.5 days and with far greater fidelity. This is in fact a conservative, worst-case estimate, and we expect that with additional refinements the classical cost of the simulation can be further reduced.

"Because the original meaning of the term “quantum supremacy,” as proposed by John Preskill in 2012, was to describe the point where quantum computers can do things that classical computers can’t, this threshold has not been met."

I'm sure Ian and I will be discussing where things stand in this debate during our end of year run-down on the podcast in a few weeks. But regardless of the status of this particular result, it's certainly worth talking more about the practical future for quantum computers. The random number task performed by Sycamore, which Ian chats about on the podcast, isn't a hugely useful one. The point of the test was just to show that quantum computers can do something that a classical computer cannot. But what do scientists hope quantum computers will be good for, eventually? That was the subject of a panel discussion at FQXi's 6th international meeting in Tuscany, featuring quantum physicists Scott Aaronson, of the University of Texas in Austin, Mile Gu, of the Nanyang Technological University, Michele Reilly, of Turing Inc, and Seth Lloyd, at MIT, all moderated by Catalina Curceanu, of INFN, Italy.

You can watch the full panel discussion now. Aaronson listed the most famous applications: simulating chemistry and physics (with applications in material science), breaking cryptography, speeding up database searches, enhancing machine learning, and using quantum computers to prove that random bits are really random. Gu looked further to the future, pondering whether quantum computers might help solve the quantum measurement problem. Reilly noted that however powerful quantum computers may or may not become, it is worth remembering that every quantum computer needs (costly) classical peripherals.



Lloyd meanwhile talked about what's already being done, and gamely sang a Gilbert and Sullivan inspired ode to quantum computers. Here are the lyrics for your amusement:

Qubit Willow

In a superconducting circuit a little qubit

sang Entangled, entangled, unentangled.

And I said to it `Qubit, oh why do you sit

singing Entangled, entangled, unentangled?

Is it just decoherence, qubit,' I cried,

`or a nasty quasi-particle in your little inside?'

With a shake of its poor little head it replied

Entangled, entangled, unentangled.

Its flux fluctuated as it sat on that chip,

oh Entangled, entangled, unentangled.

Its Josephson junctions were having a pip,

entangled, entangled, unentangled.

It sighed and it sobbed and a quantum jump it made

as it lost all the phase of its de Broglie wave,

and a spin echo arose from the suicide's grave:

Entangled, unentangled, entangled.

Now I feel just as sure as I'm sure that my name

isn't Engtangled, entangled, unentangled,

that it was not spontaneous collapse of the wave function that made it exclaim

Entangled, entangled, unentangled.

If my neurons interact with the universe I

shall decohere as it did and you will know why,

but I probably shall not exclaim as my decoherence dies,

Entangled, entangled, unentangled.

Seth Lloyd, FQXi, Barga Italy, July 2019

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Robert H McEachern wrote on Nov. 21, 2019 @ 19:28 GMT
"But what do scientists hope quantum computers will be good for, eventually?"

What they hope for and what they will ever achieve are two very different things. See my comments about this on the Quanta website here and here

Rob McEachern

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Lorraine Ford replied on Nov. 23, 2019 @ 21:05 GMT
Rob,

I agree that if quantum mechanics and thereby quantum computing is “based … upon a dubious interpretation of reality”, then the whole quantum computing edifice could possibly fall in a heap.

Your view seems to be that underlying quantum mechanics is a deterministic world, where relationships are representable by equations; and where the numbers for the variables that represent outcomes are determined by the equations. No matter what the situation, all outcomes are determined by the equations, not by the situation.

But surely the real question about the world is this: do the elements of the world ever respond to situations? Responding to situations can only be represented algorithmically e.g.:

“IF variable1 = number1 AND variable2 = number2 THEN variable3 = number3”

(where “variable1 = number1 AND variable2 = number2” represents the situation, and “variable3 = number3” represents the outcome).

Algorithms cannot be derived from equations i.e. you cannot get a world that responds to situations from a world that is representable by nothing but equations, variables and numbers. An example of a high-level situation would be a tiger approaching.

Surely we also need algorithms to represent the nature of the world?

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Robert H McEachern replied on Nov. 24, 2019 @ 16:02 GMT
"Your view seems to be..." No. My view is the exact opposite. In physics, both equations and algorithms are merely descriptions (AKA representations) of physical behaviors, not the behaviors themselves. Algorithms are simply more detailed descriptions (compared to equations) - providing essential details of the exact order of various behaviors, that are ignored in the equations. Equations only...

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Lorraine Ford replied on Nov. 24, 2019 @ 20:50 GMT
Rob,

Re “In physics, both equations and algorithms…”

We know what physics equations look like. Physics uses equations to describe the behaviour of the micro world.

Physics doesn’t use algorithms to describe the behaviour of the micro world, or anything else for that matter.

Can you give an example of a physics algorithm?

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Steve Agnew wrote on Nov. 24, 2019 @ 05:51 GMT
You know...these experiments seem like a lot of fun. The most important application for quantum computing is in modeling chemical bonds. It will be fun to see how well quantum computers can predict chemical bonds.

Then, the neural bonds of thought are also inherently quantum and it should be possible to model a moment of thought with a quantum computer. The quantum coin toss converges into a classical coin toss at some point and that might be fun to model.

Bottom line is that quantum computers are a solution in pursuit of a decent problem...

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Jason Mark Wolfe replied on Dec. 5, 2019 @ 00:56 GMT
Maybe a quantum gravity theory is more fun? What if it turned out that quantum entanglement between photons could store a gravitational field? We haven't performed that experiment. But what if it allowed us to build an Alcubierre drive, out of equilibrium? The laws of motion assume inertial reference frames, from a mathematical point of view. But there is fundamentally nothing stopping us from using entangled photons to create a non equilibrium fast travel condition to travel to Mars in a few hours. But when equilibrium is achieved, and conservation laws are satisfied, we've already beat Elon Musk to his Martian colony. Quantum entanglement could be the key to quantum gravity because the quantum states of position and momentum have to with the nature of spacetime.

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Steve Agnew replied on Dec. 14, 2019 @ 19:18 GMT
Thanks for the Alcubierre drive reference...another example of the endless outcomes of time and space singularities. However, with matter action quantum gravity, there are no matter action singularities for the two Alcubierre event horizons, just a lot of energy wasted.

Gravity is made up of two entangled photons, the biphoton, and science is just now able to measure biphoton gravity waves for events faster than minutes. To enable space travel is possible by surfing on much longer biphoton gravity waves. Biphoton gravity wave boosts are analogous to simple gravity boosts, but take a very large energy source like a nuclear reactor.

Just like our sun generates and surfs gravity waves by coupling with other stars, a vessel with a large nuclear reactor could watch the surf and catch its own waves to get where someone wanted to go. There is no impulse involved, but of course, a vessel will also have an impulse drive as well as a matter action drive...

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Eckard Blumschein wrote on Nov. 26, 2019 @ 19:31 GMT
"there’s been renewed interest, and quite some intrigue"?

Intrigue as a noun is according to my dictionary "the making of secret plans that are intended to harm other people".

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Dec. 4, 2019 @ 21:56 GMT
What is a bit (binary digit)?

A binary digit only exists as a concept in the human mind/ brain. The concept is instantiated in things and materials whose properties can be utilised to represent the concept. So electrical voltages can be used in computers to represent the binary digit concept.

The electrical voltages represent binary digits; and the binary digits in turn represent something else e.g. words, sentences, numbers and equations; and the words, sentences, numbers, and equations in turn represent the content of human consciousness.

The idea that binary digits could ever be context-free, or that binary digits are an actual entity that underlies physics, cannot be supported.

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Jason Mark Wolfe replied on Dec. 5, 2019 @ 18:38 GMT
Agreed. Binary digits don't support the underlying physics. The underlying physics is supported by unit quantities of action.

Jason

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Jason Mark Wolfe wrote on Dec. 5, 2019 @ 05:51 GMT
No reason why the physical universe can't be caused by a virtual greater universe of which layers of increased quantum entanglement are related to transcendent consciousness. Mathematicians might be fumbling a bit. But it certainly looks like disembodied consciousness is far more plausible than a fine tuned universe by accident.

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Jason Mark Wolfe wrote on Dec. 5, 2019 @ 05:53 GMT
No reason why the physical universe can't be caused by a virtual greater universe of which layers of increased quantum entanglement are related to transcendent consciousness. Mathematicians might be fumbling a bit. But it certainly looks like disembodied consciousness is far more plausible than a fine tuned universe by accident.

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Dec. 10, 2019 @ 21:46 GMT
When discussing computers e.g. “What Will Quantum Computers Be Good For?”, it is necessary to understand certain distinctions. But discussions on this and other websites, have revealed that most people, including physicists, do not understand important distinctions, and are not even aware that there are important distinctions:

1) What is a symbolic representation; what is a symbolic representation of a symbolic representation; and what is a thing that is not a symbolic representation. Human beings are so deeply immersed in many layers of symbolically representing the world and ideas that it can be difficult to notice these important distinctions.

2) What is the difference between an equation and an algorithm. I.e. what is the difference between a relationship (no steps involved or implied) and steps. An equation is a symbolic representation of a relationship using mathematical symbols like =, +, -, x, ÷ and √; but an algorithm is a symbolic representation of a series of steps taken, including questions asked, using logical symbols like IF, THEN, AND, OR, FOR and NEXT. An algorithm cannot be derived from an equation.

Equations and algorithms are evidence that two fundamentally different types of things exist in the world, because two fundamentally different types of representation are needed to describe the world.

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Georgina Woodward replied on Dec. 12, 2019 @ 23:53 GMT
Lorraine, you have identified two different kinds of phenomena. Those in which a relationship does not change and processes where there is change happening to relations. To be concrete consider an egg being hard boiled, peeled and sliced. That could be described in ordinary language, a flow chart or sequence of IF THEN steps. IF boiled solid THEN peel.IF peeled THEN slice. It is precise but not as succinct as boil hard (arrow) peel (arrow) slice. (arrow ) standing for an arrow symbol, meaning when completed go to next step. All are ways of representing the necessary sequence of steps in the process. Over the same sequence of configurations of the material universe/ existence the eggs not chosen have an unchanging relationship with the egg box put aside.

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Lorraine Ford replied on Dec. 13, 2019 @ 04:45 GMT
Georgina,

I have no idea what you are talking about, or what point you are making.

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Georgina Woodward replied on Dec. 13, 2019 @ 07:22 GMT
OK

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Jason Mark Wolfe wrote on Dec. 14, 2019 @ 07:59 GMT
Mathematics is one way to look at physics. But it is not the only way. The physics constants are the surest way to know there is fine tuning by some Intelligence. It is as deeply amazing a discovery as one could ever find. It is exactly equivalent to discovering the cogs and wheels of the pocket watch that creates our universe. One is compelled to fall on their knees or flee in fear that the watch maker may discover that someone has found out the secret, and fly upon them and JUDGE the discoverer. We need to look more closely at how the physics constants are being put into the reality of our physical universe.

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Dec. 15, 2019 @ 22:13 GMT
Georgina,

Re “I don't agree that relationships can only genuinely exist between measurables. Unmeasured or observed there are relationships that exist between material beable objects.The presence of the egg affects the box, The presence of the box affects the egg” [1]:

Existing physics already accounts for EVERYTHING about the egg-box situation.

But your belief, that there is literally a relationship between an egg box and the egg in it, is a belief that relationships exist between things. But physics is about relationships between information about things. Existing physics already accounts for EVERYTHING about the egg-box situation.

1. Georgina Woodward replied on Dec. 13, 2019 @ 21:11 GMT

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Georgina Woodward replied on Dec. 16, 2019 @ 00:32 GMT
"The term beable was proposed in (Bell 75) as a replacement in quantum physics of the traditional term observable. While the latter is typically given a precise mathematical meaning which does express the way in which the physical system may be, the word “observable” alludes to the complicated and subtle issue of something (a quantum measurement device) or even somebody (a concious experimentor) “observing” these ways of the system to be. The point of the term “beable” is to help conceptually cleanly separate the being of quantum systems from whatever it means to observe them." Ref'John Bell, The theory of local beables, Epistemological Letters (1975). Quote from ncatlab.org/nlab/show/beable

I have found that considering and taking account of existence is useful.

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Lorraine Ford replied on Dec. 16, 2019 @ 10:49 GMT
Georgina,

There are no relationships between things. Despite what you might think, there is no literal relationship between an egg box and an egg contained within it.

Physics is about relationships between information (representable as equations, variables and numbers); physics is not about relationships between things.

Physics already accounts for EVERYTHING about the egg box and egg situation.

There are interactions between things, e.g. there are interactions between particles, but there are no interactions between boxes. At the micro-level, the particles, atoms and molecules of the box will be involved in interactions, but the box itself is not an entity that interacts with anything.

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Thomas Howard Ray replied on Dec. 16, 2019 @ 14:25 GMT
An interaction is not information?

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Dec. 17, 2019 @ 11:36 GMT
Georgina is claiming that relationships literally exist between eggs and egg boxes, and that these relationships have a real physical effect on the world [1].

Georgina says that these relationships between macro-level things (like eggs and boxes) exist "as well as" the usual physics' law of nature relationships which are between micro-level aspects of things (like relative position and mass)[2].

However, Georgina says she is not claiming that a special new macro-level physics is required to deal with relationships between things like eggs and egg boxes [3].

What Georgina says is complete nonsense.

1. Lorraine Ford replied on Dec. 17, 2019 @ 08:16 GMT , Georgina Woodward replied on Dec. 17, 2019 @ 10:07 GMT

2. Lorraine Ford replied on Dec. 14, 2019 @ 03:58 GMT , Georgina Woodward replied on Dec. 14, 2019 @ 04:31 GMT

3. Lorraine Ford replied on Dec. 17, 2019 @ 05:43 GMT , Georgina Woodward replied on Dec. 17, 2019 @ 05:54 GMT

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Georgina Woodward replied on Dec. 18, 2019 @ 02:22 GMT
Appeal to ridicule and insult, again.

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Lorraine Ford replied on Dec. 18, 2019 @ 03:26 GMT
Your refusal to face facts, again.

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Georgina Woodward replied on Dec. 18, 2019 @ 20:50 GMT
I've given my reasons for choosing the examples I did. You do not accept that they are valid examples of what you wish to convey. I accept that you disagree. I accept that you are using a different meaning of the word relationship to me. I accept that I was wrong to think we could have a pleasant conversation. Enough.

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Jason Mark Wolfe wrote on Dec. 18, 2019 @ 21:14 GMT
Eggs and egg cartons are related in some fundamental way, by farmers and grocers! Do you think they would spend money are egg cartons if it didn't protect the eggs during shipping and transport?

What ever happened to common sense reality?

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Dec. 19, 2019 @ 13:31 GMT
Georgina,

Since we started this exchange [1], you have continually tried to evade giving straight answers to questions about your ideas: you've got an incredible range of excuses, including outrage.

If you “have been developing the work and defending it for ten years” [2], then you should be able to succinctly explain what are the relationships that you say exist between eggs and egg boxes, relationships that you say have a real physical effect on the world, relationships that are unknown to physics. Do you now deny that these relationships exist?

And after ten years works, you should be able to succinctly explain why “the nature of existence is important, for overcoming numerous problems that physics has” [3].

1. Lorraine Ford replied on Dec. 13, 2019 @ 12:34 GMT

2. Georgina Woodward replied on Dec. 19, 2019 @ 10:31 GMT

3. Georgina Woodward replied on Dec. 19, 2019 @ 01:51 GMT

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Georgina Woodward replied on Dec. 19, 2019 @ 23:54 GMT
LOL

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Lorraine Ford replied on Dec. 20, 2019 @ 13:05 GMT
Georgina,

Exactly. I had to laugh out loud when you said that relationships exist between eggs and eggboxes. You actually do believe that such "relationships" exist!

I assume that your "explanatory framework" which "dispels the paradoxes of Relativity and dispels Mach's principle and answers founatioanl questions such as about the uni-directional passage of time" is full of similarly ill thought out mixed-up notions.

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John R. Cox wrote on Dec. 19, 2019 @ 21:17 GMT
Quantum Supremacy is theoretically relevant to quantum computing, and by extension also to security encryption and decryption. But as a practical matter, what value can be had in application to countering the long game of the Chinese.

While western leadership is obsessed with 5G, and and thus that sector getting the lion's share of funding and hence participation by Quants; 5G is only the...

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Georgina Woodward replied on Dec. 20, 2019 @ 00:02 GMT
Season's happy returns John.

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John R. Cox wrote on Dec. 21, 2019 @ 17:26 GMT
Thanks Georgi, for the Season's Greeting. And to All.

Sorry to beleaguer the discussion stumping on political grounds in the tweeds of an Economist, but...

The point about the oil markets sustaining the U.S. dollar as the World Reserve Currency cannot be understated. It is only due to the dollar being the go-to world benchmark that keeps the U.S. the dominant world economy despite...

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John R. Cox wrote on Dec. 22, 2019 @ 04:48 GMT
Dr. Lloyd,

suppose, Seth, that there is a 'nasty quasi-particle' that is the inside of decoherence, and that it is rarely not there and only momentarily then. QM originally does not pretend to realism, non-local or otherwise. So lets treat that as a convenient methodology simply of measurement, and one that still lacks a quantum gravitational rationale as Michele suggests must emerge in any...

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Lorraine Ford replied on Dec. 22, 2019 @ 06:47 GMT
"THE CASE OF SETH LLOYD IS A MICROCOSM OF THE SYSTEMIC PROBLEMS AT MIT,

Months after the Epstein scandal blew up, administrators are still protecting themselves and senior professors from facing any kind of accountability",

21 November 2019, https://thetech.com/2019/11/21/mitsaw-seth-lloyd

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Lorraine Ford replied on Dec. 22, 2019 @ 20:59 GMT
Seth Lloyd had a 15 (?) year relationship with Jeffrey Epstein.

Seth Lloyd often used the term "quantum hanky-panky".

I always thought that "hanky-panky" [1] was a strange interpretation of the physics.

1. Hanky-panky: "behaviour, in particular sexual or legally dubious behaviour, considered improper but not seriously so", https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/hanky-panky (Oxford dictionary).

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Georgina Woodward replied on Dec. 23, 2019 @ 00:47 GMT
Seth Lloyd has apologized. He was with hindsight too trusting of a fellow human. He is a physics expert not a psychologist or policeman. Pedophiles are not 1 dimensional fiends. They can be charismatic, friendly, funny. I understand why Seth Lloyd would try to defend himself from judgmental protesters. Seth is now another victim. To err is human.

"Hanky panky' is a lighthearted expression for naughtiness. It seems fitting to me for the unusual relationship between entangled particles and the consequences of such. Appearing as if there is 'spooky action at a distance. I think it probable that any more sinister meaning of the phase 'quantum hanky panky', as it was used, is a product of your own mind.

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John R. Cox wrote on Dec. 23, 2019 @ 17:58 GMT
Here's a thought, Loraine,

Your long programming experience provides you with much knowledge of using algorithms from the side of the interface that is interpretive in the rhetorical sense, and in my experience approaching symbolic logic in rhetoric is much more intuitive and easily grasped than the abstraction of symbolic logic in math. And the symbology in programme languages (PL) is not...

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Lorraine Ford replied on Dec. 23, 2019 @ 20:34 GMT
Hi John,

I don’t need any help making a leap from rhetoric to abstraction: I actually got a High Distinction in one of my mathematics subjects at university. But that was a long time ago, and I have never needed to use the maths ever since. Writing computer algorithms is not about using rhetoric, it is about using abstract symbols.

I should do some house cleaning too!

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John R. Cox wrote on Dec. 23, 2019 @ 22:44 GMT
Lorraine,

pardon my paranoid security protocol, (paranoia is natures way of telling you something's wrong)

Yes, I get your angle. I liked Rhetoric, long ago, and with symbolic logic a valid argument can be diagrammed. Math is tough for me, I'm better at understanding what it does than doing it. But to the limits of my ignorance, symbols of mathematical symbolic logic are somewhat different in usage but accomplish the same thing so that might be why the proxy script can find compatibility. Though when it comes to laws of nature, and given how much chip manufacturers must make licensing proxy http's, I think the principal law of nature in that enterprise is that of human nature which says, "it doesn't have to mean anything it just has to do what I want".

best get busy again, going out for a get together dinner tomorrow. bye jrc

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Lorraine Ford replied on Dec. 23, 2019 @ 23:22 GMT
John,

I might add that its not physics or mathematics or computing as such that interests me. Been there, done that. I am not primarily interested in using mathematical or logical symbols. I am more interested in an overview: what interests me is what the mathematical and logical symbols, and our use of mathematical and logical symbols, implies about the nature of the world.

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John R. Cox wrote on Dec. 25, 2019 @ 17:27 GMT
How prescient, Loraine.

Your last post on the 23rd is like a mirror of the future in the announcement on the 24th of this years topic in the FQXI Essay contest. How can we have an 'overview'? Can't we?. I think the challenge there would be to simplify the scope of metaphorical example, without narrowing it so that it could be readable but implicit of the chaos. Perhaps what emerges into the intuitive experience of the macro world is not the grand sum of properties in actions of the micro world, but only that which survives the Quantum Chaos and hidden variables exist there that don't (?) . jrc

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