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Current Essay Contest


Contest Partners: Fetzer Franklin Fund, and The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation

Previous Contests

Undecidability, Uncomputability, and Unpredictability Essay Contest
December 24, 2019 - April 24, 2020
Contest Partners: Fetzer Franklin Fund, and The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation
read/discusswinners

What Is “Fundamental”
October 28, 2017 to January 22, 2018
Sponsored by the Fetzer Franklin Fund and The Peter & Patricia Gruber Foundation
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Wandering Towards a Goal
How can mindless mathematical laws give rise to aims and intention?
December 2, 2016 to March 3, 2017
Contest Partner: The Peter and Patricia Gruber Fund.
read/discusswinners

Trick or Truth: The Mysterious Connection Between Physics and Mathematics
Contest Partners: Nanotronics Imaging, The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation, and The John Templeton Foundation
Media Partner: Scientific American

read/discusswinners

How Should Humanity Steer the Future?
January 9, 2014 - August 31, 2014
Contest Partners: Jaan Tallinn, The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation, The John Templeton Foundation, and Scientific American
read/discusswinners

It From Bit or Bit From It
March 25 - June 28, 2013
Contest Partners: The Gruber Foundation, J. Templeton Foundation, and Scientific American
read/discusswinners

Questioning the Foundations
Which of Our Basic Physical Assumptions Are Wrong?
May 24 - August 31, 2012
Contest Partners: The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation, SubMeta, and Scientific American
read/discusswinners

Is Reality Digital or Analog?
November 2010 - February 2011
Contest Partners: The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation and Scientific American
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What's Ultimately Possible in Physics?
May - October 2009
Contest Partners: Astrid and Bruce McWilliams
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The Nature of Time
August - December 2008
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RECENT POSTS IN THIS TOPIC

Georgina Woodward: on 5/20/20 at 22:25pm UTC, wrote Hi Simon, thank you for taking a look. Its not about elephants, they are...

Simon Burton: on 5/20/20 at 13:31pm UTC, wrote Hi Georgina, thankyou for your kind words. I had a look at your essay,...

Georgina Woodward: on 5/19/20 at 7:30am UTC, wrote An arithmetic symbol stays the same while 'changing' what it operates on to...

Georgina Woodward: on 5/19/20 at 5:40am UTC, wrote Hi Simon, I like your essay very much. Different from the others I have...

Simon Burton: on 5/18/20 at 15:44pm UTC, wrote >>> I am fascinated with the idea of maps that free themselves...

Vladimir Fedorov: on 5/17/20 at 7:21am UTC, wrote Dear Simon, I greatly appreciated your work and discussion. I am very glad...

Gemma De las Cuevas: on 5/14/20 at 7:30am UTC, wrote Hi Simon, Thanks a lot for your reply. I agree with your comments and I...

Simon Burton: on 5/13/20 at 13:03pm UTC, wrote Hi Gemma, Thanks for your generous comments! "when people say that if...


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FQXi FORUM
June 20, 2021

CATEGORY: Undecidability, Uncomputability, and Unpredictability Essay Contest (2019-2020) [back]
TOPIC: The Flip by Simon Burton [refresh]
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Author Simon Burton wrote on Apr. 25, 2020 @ 00:33 GMT
Essay Abstract

I draw analogies between symmetry and randomness as both being about ambiguity or incompleteness. The meaning behind words comes not from the words themselves, but how they map to or receive from other words. I trace the roots of quantum physics back to the work of Galois and Klein on group theory, and still further back to Huygens principle as the idea behind linearity or distributivity. I also comment on artificial intelligence, natural language, finance, and the state of the modern world.

Author Bio

I am a theoretical physicist at University College London working on the mathematics of quantum computing. This is my third career, having also worked in the areas of machine learning and finance (algorithmic trading).

Download Essay PDF File

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marcovici cristian alexandru wrote on May. 2, 2020 @ 18:58 GMT
during my year of study at bachelor level studying chemistry (wich i falied to pass for not knowing the periodic table) ... i was trying to learn it , and i found an article wich gives an formula for generating the shape of it and there is a line where if i remember corectly you could make a periodic table for 2 atoms 3 atoms etc so by generalisation people are like big atoms, there is someone else in this contest that says that chemistry is more valuable for quantum mechanics than phyisics- also someoene else taliking about dark mater wich sounds dangereous , at first i was trying to make an argument about posible states and numbers anyway good drawings.

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Yutaka Shikano wrote on May. 4, 2020 @ 22:07 GMT
In quantum computation or qubit used, what contexts should we simulate? About 400 qubits, you claimed that we could simulate the universe. I think that this specific contexts are underlying.

Yutaka

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Author Simon Burton replied on May. 12, 2020 @ 19:33 GMT
Hi Yutaka, using qubits to simulate the universe is the opposite of what I consider in this essay. I was specifically thinking about using the classical universe to simulate 400 qubits. Going the other way seems to be much more complicated, but it's a very interesting question to think about.

Simon.

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Gemma De las Cuevas wrote on May. 12, 2020 @ 10:25 GMT
Dear Simon,

Thank you for writing this enjoyable and very original essay. I have some comments.

Regarding your contraposition of symmetry vs structure, I believe that when people say that if there is symmetry then there is more structure, they mean that they understand something more of the system, in particular that something is conserved. For example they would say that a sponge...

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Author Simon Burton replied on May. 13, 2020 @ 13:03 GMT
Hi Gemma, Thanks for your generous comments!

"when people say that if there is symmetry then there is more structure"

Yes that is what we get from a physics education. I am saying that this is upside-down. It comes from a fundamental missunderstanding of the nature of mathematics, and perhaps reality itself. I only learnt about this from hanging around the mathematician James Dolan, he is the one that explained all this to me. When a physicist says 'spontaneous symmetry breaking', they should really be saying 'spontaneous structure creating'.

"I am also not so convinced that entropy and information are opposites to each other. I feel like they may stand in a more complicated relationship."

Right, I was using the technical definition of information, from Shannon's theory. Strangely enough the only place I could find that explicitly stated that "information is the negative of entropy" was from a quote by Norbert Weiner.

"you are basically saying that AI is based on inference" - yes

"David Deutsch has written an essay..." - This sounds interesting, thankyou.

"I agree with you that language, numbers, etc … perhaps originated as maps, but they are so much more than that."

I guess this is the distinction between control and reason. Or the duality between syntax and semantics.

"the vector-based model of meaning in natural language." - yes

"the concept of energy: it quantifies everything that a physical object can become"

Ok, that's a very interesting way of thinking about energy. In my essay I tried to avoid writing about dynamics, energy, time, thinking only of kinematics. So many mysteries to ponder...

Simon.

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Gemma De las Cuevas replied on May. 14, 2020 @ 07:30 GMT
Hi Simon,

Thanks a lot for your reply. I agree with your comments and I look forward to discussing them further in some occasion.

>>"I agree with you that language, numbers, etc … perhaps originated as maps, but they are so much more than that."

>>I guess this is the distinction between control and reason. Or the duality between syntax and semantics.

I...

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Author Simon Burton replied on May. 18, 2020 @ 15:44 GMT
>>> I am fascinated with the idea of maps that free themselves from what they are supposed to represent.

When maps take flight. I like the sound of this!

>>> I hope we have the chance of continuing this discussion live some other time

Yes, me too.

Simon.

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Vladimir Nikolaevich Fedorov wrote on May. 17, 2020 @ 07:21 GMT
Dear Simon,

I greatly appreciated your work and discussion. I am very glad that you are not thinking in abstract patterns.

While the discussion lasted, I wrote an article: “Practical guidance on calculating resonant frequencies at four levels of diagnosis and inactivation of COVID-19 coronavirus”, due to the high relevance of this topic. The work is based on the practical solution of problems in quantum mechanics, presented in the essay FQXi 2019-2020 “Universal quantum laws of the universe to solve the problems of unsolvability, computability and unpredictability”.

I hope that my modest results of work will provide you with information for thought.

Warm Regards, `

Vladimir

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Georgina Woodward wrote on May. 19, 2020 @ 05:40 GMT
Hi Simon,

I like your essay very much. Different from the others I have read. I like the humour in it as well as the seriousness of what you address, such as the importance of context. What stays the same while changing? (Being facetious, i'd say...) a swimmer.The answer does of course depend on what is meant by 'changing', being changed or changing something else '. How much continuity is necessary to be called the same? Also what categories can be utilized as the what? An arithmetic symbol stays the samec

while changing. .

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Georgina Woodward replied on May. 19, 2020 @ 07:30 GMT
An arithmetic symbol stays the same while 'changing' what it operates on to give a output of the procedure it denotes. That can be thought of abstractly or concretely, such as using the coloured blocks that fit together, used in primary school.That allows the change to be seen as material happening.

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Author Simon Burton replied on May. 20, 2020 @ 13:31 GMT
Hi Georgina,

thankyou for your kind words. I had a look at your essay, about elephants! I think there is an analogy to be made between the function of humour and quantum physics. The surprise of a joke, and the surprise of a quantum measurement. The sudden shift in context... Something like that. :-)

Simon.

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Georgina Woodward replied on May. 20, 2020 @ 22:25 GMT
Hi Simon, thank you for taking a look. Its not about elephants, they are just in there as a lighthearted'vehicle' And giving some continuity in a very diverse discussion.

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