X-Message-Number: 19400
Date: Wed, 3 Jul 2002 07:34:37 EDT
Subject: Re: CryoNet #19385 Heavy reading

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Robert Ettinger said in message # 19385:

> After a few hours of rummaging around in it, I'm still not really sure what 
> it's about, but if I had to hazard a guess, I would have to say it's mainly 
> about the implications of cellular automata and the way in which apparently 
> simple algorithms can lead to complex and unexpected, perhaps 
> unforeseeable, 
> results

Wolfram book is about the nihilist (nothingness) theory of the universe first 
put forward by John Hornton Conway. The "computing world" is the first 
"interesting" thing in nothing, the system unfolds that way:

At start there is nothing, so you ask: What is the content of nothing? It is 
zero, next you ask at the second order what is the quantity between zero and 
nothing (or what is the content of interaction between nothing and zero). The 
answer is a undefined quantity different from zero. A quantity different from 
all defined quantities is the infinite. So we have a computing system with 
zero and infinite. 

Next you can only degenerate it and after infinite you start again with 0. So 
you have the unended string: 0 infinite 0 infinite 0 .... Think you write it 
down on a paper strip, when the strip is very many light-year long it may 
bent and eventualy cross itself. If you don't look too far away, this is a 
two strip system. Call the first the data strip and the second the program 
strip, you have a Turing machine, a universal computer.

For compactness we can write infinite as 1 so the strip looks as a binary 
string: 010101... The computer will exchange some 0 to 1 and 1 to 0. You can 
think of 01010... chunks as the numbering of quantum dimensions: The first is 
0, the second 01, then comes 010, 0101,.... The Turing machine with produce 
other spaces. At the botton, Wolfram work is about the making of these other 
spaces. He has read about J.H. Conway, but it is not clear if he has 
understood him. For me, I think we have a lot to learn about the single 
string 010101... without any added philosophy. 

I think the biggest impact of Wolfram will remain Mathematica. Imagine a 
world where everybody would be able to master nearly all maths in the world 
with the learning of a single software. That is possible with Mathematica and 
its add on.

Yvan Bozzonetti.


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