PaulGrobstein's blog
http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/oneworld/blogs/paulgrobstein
enclaudette
http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/oneworld/blog/claudette
<div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">test</div></div></div>Tue, 11 Jul 2006 19:22:47 +0000PaulGrobstein135 at http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/oneworldhttp://serendip.brynmawr.edu/oneworld/blog/claudette#commentsEncouraging continuing emergence ...
http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/oneworld/blog/encouraging-continuing-emergence
<div class="field field-name-taxonomy-vocabulary-1 field-type-taxonomy-term-reference field-label-above"><div class="field-label">Projects: </div><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><a href="/oneworld/emergence361">Emergence 361</a></div></div></div><div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Thanks, all, for what was to me a rich and generative semester. See, for example, in part and in reverse order ...,
<ul><li><a href="http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/blog/node/111">Does emergence matter</a>
</li><li><a href="http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/blog/node/109">Assessments of emergence</a>
</li><li><a href="http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/blog/node/106">Potentials for computers to be as intelligent as humans</a>
</li><li><a href="http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/blog/node/104">Is something interesting necessarily always a solution to something?</a>
</li><li><a href="http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/blog/node/89">Neural networks</a>
</li><li><a href="http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/blog/node/77">Agent based models vs CA's</a>
</li><li><a href="http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/blog/node/73">Agents and environments - reflections</a>
</li><li><a href="http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/blog/node/61">Curiousity</a>
</li><li><a href="http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/blog/node/59">Mathematics is the language of nature</a>
</li><li><a href="http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/blog/node/53">More (or less) purpose</a>
</li><li><a href="http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/blog/node/47">Thoughts about Langton's Ant</a>
</li></ul>
This course is of course, both about emergence and itself emerging (<a href="/blog/node/109#comment-309">influenced, if not determined, by entities with "goals"</a>). While the experience is still fresh, please take a few minutes, click reply, and give here your thoughts about the current instantiation of the emergence course. What will you carry with you about emergence? What aspect of the course worked well for you? What aspect of the course didn't work well? What things would you add/do differently?
<p>
Thanks again for contributions to emergence, my own and that of lots of others. </p></div></div></div>Mon, 01 May 2006 21:33:17 +0000PaulGrobstein112 at http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/oneworldhttp://serendip.brynmawr.edu/oneworld/blog/encouraging-continuing-emergence#commentsBook commentaries
http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/oneworld/blog/book-commentaries
<div class="field field-name-taxonomy-vocabulary-1 field-type-taxonomy-term-reference field-label-above"><div class="field-label">Projects: </div><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><a href="/oneworld/emergence361">Emergence 361</a></div></div></div><div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><a href="/complexity/course/emergence06/bookreviews">Are now available</a> (at least some of them).</div></div></div>Wed, 05 Apr 2006 18:31:13 +0000PaulGrobstein107 at http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/oneworldhttp://serendip.brynmawr.edu/oneworld/blog/book-commentaries#commentsAgents and environments - reflections ...
http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/oneworld/blog/agents-and-environments-reflections
<div class="field field-name-taxonomy-vocabulary-1 field-type-taxonomy-term-reference field-label-above"><div class="field-label">Projects: </div><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><a href="/oneworld/emergence361">Emergence 361</a></div></div></div><div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">So, we've had a taste of cellular automata, and now of agent based models, and are about to go on to other things. Maybe its a good time to look back at our initial thoughts about emergence and what it is/might be good for, and reflect a bit on where we've gotten to so far?
<p>
My own thoughts (hoping others will add theirs):
</p><ul><li>CA's make interesting patterns, and are fine if one thinks the universe is deterministic and has a lot of time to do the computing needed to predict its future course
</li><li>agent based models can make interesting patterns too but also do things that seem more interesting/immediately interpretable to humans
</li><li>Langton's ant, among other things, suggests that pretty simple universes with agents need to be thought about in terms of systems with BOTH patterns and absences of patterns (the hardest case of <a href="http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/bb/hideseek.html">Voyage to Serendip</a>)
</li><li>a challenge: is it so that there is a sequence of progressively sophisticated "emergent" models with progressively greater capabilities? how would one measure "capabilities"? can one imagine some undirected process that would take one from a more or less CA universe to a universe with agents and on to universes with progressively greater representations of purpose? where would "indeterminacy" or "computational irreducibility" fit in such a sequence?
</li></ul></div></div></div>Sun, 26 Feb 2006 23:29:08 +0000PaulGrobstein73 at http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/oneworldhttp://serendip.brynmawr.edu/oneworld/blog/agents-and-environments-reflections#commentsAnd so ...
http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/oneworld/blog/and-so
<div class="field field-name-taxonomy-vocabulary-1 field-type-taxonomy-term-reference field-label-above"><div class="field-label">Projects: </div><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><a href="/oneworld/emergence361">Emergence 361</a></div></div></div><div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Your thoughts about <a href="/complexity/models/langtonsant">The World of Langton's Ant</a>?, as per assignment at the end of <a href="/complexity/course/emergence06/1feb06.html">From Cellular Automata to Agent-Based Models</a>? Maybe, to make it a little easier for me (and others) to find them, add them as comments to this post? or put a link here to things you're saying elsewhere?</div></div></div>Sat, 04 Feb 2006 19:35:54 +0000PaulGrobstein47 at http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/oneworldhttp://serendip.brynmawr.edu/oneworld/blog/and-so#commentsDigital Determinism: Why It Is Worth Taking Wolfram Seriously
http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/oneworld/blog/digital-determinism-why-it-worth-taking-wolfram-seriously
<div class="field field-name-taxonomy-vocabulary-1 field-type-taxonomy-term-reference field-label-above"><div class="field-label">Projects: </div><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><a href="/oneworld/emergence361">Emergence 361</a></div></div></div><div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">I have no interest in defending <a href="http://www.wolframscience.com/thebook.html">Wolfram</a> as either a person or an academic scholar against the kinds of criticisms expressed (appropriately I think) in <a href="/complexity/course/emergence06/25jan06.html">class today</a>. I do though want to explain and justify my characterization of his work as "digital determinism" and as a unique/important "coherent and comprehensive explanation of everything". And hence as, whatever its shortcomings, a body of exploration/thinking that it is important to understand and pay attention to.
I <a href="/complexity/course/emergence06/16jan06.html">earlier argued</a> that "computer models are not capable of nor aimed at determining what is 'real'" but instead are intended "to establish that some pattern/phenomenon that is presumed to depend on complexity/planning/a directive element can be produced without that. To show what might be, rather than what is." Wolfram's work needs to be appreciated in these terms. It is an assertion that one might in principle account for all known phenomena (literally ALL, from physics through biology, psychology, sociology, history, and, yes, art) in terms of very simple things (locations having only two possible states) interacting in very simple ways (locally and deterministically in digital time steps).
The core of this argument rest on the possibility that the universe is itself digital in both space and time if looked at at a small enough scale, that each location is either occupied or not occupied at successive times by some fundamental particle, and that what has to be accounted for is the successive patterns (viewed at multiple different scales) formed by the occupied and non-occupied locations. What Wolfram is asserting is that any pattern (and succession of patterns) can in principle be produced by nothing more complicated than a set of rules of the sort exemplified by the one dimensional cellular automata he has explored. In fact, he is suggesting that one needn't even add the complexity of three dimensions or entertain the possibility of greater numbers of states (to say nothing of more complex patterns of interactions), that certain rule sets (eg rule set #110) operating on one dimensional arrays are capable of producing any conceivable complexity of pattern and pattern succession.
That's why I characterized Wolfram's claim as "digital determinism"; there is no need to worry about mushy between 0 and 1 values nor to be concerned about "random" processes (to see nothing of "meaning" or "intentionality"). And that's why I referred to Wolfram's claim as a"unique/important 'coherent and comprehensive explanation of everything". And that's why I (for one) am not uncomfortable with his assertion that he is creating "a new kind of science". If Wolfram is right, the problem of science (ALL sciences) reduces to the problem of determining no more than two things: the rule set that is in fact used by the universe to go from one digitial state in digital time to the next and the starting configuration of the original digital array. That's indeed a new and quite general "science".
Wolfram's conjecture unquestionably has antecedents and reflects explorations by others that are not acknowledged by him but it is, to my knowledge an unusually clearly stated "<a href="http://www.eeng.dcu.ie/~tkpw/intro_popper intro_popper.html">bold conjecture</a>" that, for this reason, warrants serious attention by anyone with "scientific" interests/credentials. The challenge for people like me, who are skeptical of the claim, is to make clear, if possible, in what way the phenomena we wish to make sense of cannot even in principle be accounted for by "digital determinism" or, failing that at the moment, to make a coherent argument for why pursuing the program of "digital determinism" is less likely than pursuing some other agenda to uncover (or create) phenomena that cannot be accounted for by "digitial determinism".
My intuition is that Wolfram's "new science" is incomplete, that there are phenomena created by analogue systems, and/or by systems that involve non-deterministic interactions, and/or by systems that involve non-local interactions, and/or by systems with more complex architectures (including "top down" influences) that cannnot be accounted for in the terms that Wolfram proposes. And that, precisely, is why Wolfram's work is worth paying attention to. The old intuition that complex outcomes require complex explanations no longer suffices. It is incumbent on those of whose who believe Wolfram's program is "too simple" to come up with ways to make that argument as clearly and compellingly as Wolfram has made his. Wolfram may be "wrong" (almost certainly is) but I have yet to hear the argument that establishes that convincingly by providing an equally clear, coherent less wrong perspective. I'll keep working on that problem, and invite others to join in.</div></div></div>Thu, 26 Jan 2006 14:01:27 +0000PaulGrobstein36 at http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/oneworldhttp://serendip.brynmawr.edu/oneworld/blog/digital-determinism-why-it-worth-taking-wolfram-seriously#commentsToday's Talk Addendum
http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/oneworld/blog/todays-talk-addendum
<div class="field field-name-taxonomy-vocabulary-1 field-type-taxonomy-term-reference field-label-above"><div class="field-label">Projects: </div><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><a href="/oneworld/emergence361">Emergence 361</a></div></div></div><div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Also interesting/not anticipated quite was the importance of recognizing that much of human behavior is, like that of other animals and of computer models, not the result of "thinking" or "intending". Yes, I triggered our collective rhythmic clapping but had no idea what the frequncy would be; that "emerged" as the result of a distributed organization with no conductor. I mentioned as another example <a href="http://ccl.northwestern.edu/netlogo/models/TrafficBasic">Traffic Jams</a>, which in addition will give you another taste of NetLogo.
This raises an interesting question about "thinking" itself. Clearly "surprising" things can be created without "thinking". So what is "thinking" for? To prevent "surprise"? Or, perhaps, to create additional "surprising" things, things that would not otherwise have come into existence without thinking, perhaps even "surprising" to the thinker?
Have added this and previous to the end of the <a href="http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/complexity/course/emergence06/23jan06.html">notes for the talk</a>. Thanks all for helping me think through some of this. Sorry about the missing "add new comment" button there. Notice there's one here. Happy to have it used.</div></div></div>Tue, 24 Jan 2006 22:58:13 +0000PaulGrobstein32 at http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/oneworldhttp://serendip.brynmawr.edu/oneworld/blog/todays-talk-addendum#commentsToday's talk
http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/oneworld/blog/todays-talk
<div class="field field-name-taxonomy-vocabulary-1 field-type-taxonomy-term-reference field-label-above"><div class="field-label">Projects: </div><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><a href="/oneworld/emergence361">Emergence 361</a></div></div></div><div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Thanks, all, for rich conversation ... and apologies for not getting the timing quite right, building toward some things without leaving time to wrap them fully. It was in fact part and parcel of the rich conversation, with several issues becoming clearer in my mind as we talked through them. Here, in any case, is the bottom line, as it emerged ....
The diversity of things that come together in/around the topic of emergence might in principle be related in three somewhat different ways
<ol><li>a random assembly of mysterious things that one might hope will be illuminated by emergence
</li><li>a set of different mysterious things that have some apparent similarities and hence might follow similar rules that operate in different circumstances (eg being "distributed organization")
</li><li>a set of things that are in fact related to one another in the sense that each gives rise to another in a series of successive emergences (from physics to living things to "story tellers", as I suggested toward the end)
</li></ol>
Among the things that appeals to me personally about the third possibility is the implication that things we observe (in general) are not the way they are because of meaning/purpose/director OR inevitability (except, perhaps, for a little fiddling in recent time) but rather are expressions of an ongoing exploration of possibilities (of which we are a part).
And that in turn justifies (for me at least) my suggestion with the models that one first observe them and tell stories about them. Yes, tell stories, and THEN look inside the models and use what one finds there to test/revise stories, conceive new possibilities.
Thanks again for the conversation, and will try and do better with the timing next time. Doug up next, with ca's (like the Game of Life) after which I'll return with agents (of which Langton's Ant is an example).</div></div></div>Mon, 23 Jan 2006 22:25:40 +0000PaulGrobstein30 at http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/oneworld13 January 2006
http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/oneworld/blog/13-january-2006
<div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">As part of their commitment to making science a more integrated part of society, the <a href="http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/local/scisoc">Center for Science in Society</a> at Bryn Mawr College and the <a href="http://serendip.brynmawr.edu">Serendip</a> website are developing a set of blog resources, all of which will be accessible from this page. These will include continually updated materials in the right column as well as a set of new blogs related to particular topics and courses that will be indexed on this page as they develop.
We hope you share our excitement about and interest in this new resource and will visit often as it evolves. If you have suggestions and/or would like to participate in this evolution, please contact <a href="mailto:adixon@serendip.brynmawr.edu">Ann Dixon</a> and/or <a href="mailto:dblank@brynmawr.edu">Doug Blank</a>, whose efforts have made this resource possible.</div></div></div>Fri, 13 Jan 2006 17:22:28 +0000PaulGrobstein5 at http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/oneworldhttp://serendip.brynmawr.edu/oneworld/blog/13-january-2006#comments