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From: Wei Dai <weidai.domain.name.hidden>

Date: Thu, 23 May 2002 10:47:58 -0700

I find that I often have trouble understanding posts on this mailing list,

given the wide range of intellectual ground that it covers. It seems that

people sometimes assume a background in an academic field, and I'm not

even sure what the field is, or how to get up to date or at least familiar

with it. On the other hand, sometimes a poster is just a crank and isn't

making any sense at all. It can be hard to tell the difference.

Perhaps it would help if list members each posts a short biography of

themselves, and tell us their intellectual backgrounds. What fields are

you familiar with, what relevant books/papers have you read, etc.? This

way, if you don't understand someone's post, you can look up his JOINING

post in the archive and figure out what background he is assuming. I got

this idea from the SL4 mailing list; maybe it will work here as well.

To begin with myself, I work as a cryptographic engineer, which means I

design and implement computer security mechanisms, with a focus on the

cryptographic parts. I have a BA in computer science, and have taken

courses in linguistics, theory of computation, number theory, algebra,

probability theory, and game theory.

I think I first encountered the idea that all possible universes exist in

the novel _Permutation City_ by Greg Egan, and then in Tegmark and

Schmidhuber's papers. I started this mailing list after reading both of

those papers.

I've scanned through _An Introduction to Kolmogorov Complexity and Its

Applications_, Ming Li and Paul Vitanyi, and read parts of it in enough

detail to have found several previously unreported errors. It's about

algorithmic information theory, and I personally think it is the single

most important book for list members to read.

Here are some other books that I've read outside of formal education that

seem relevant.

_The Selfish Gene_, Richard Dawkins. Theory of evolution.

_Gödel, Escher, Bach - an Eternal Golden Braid_, Douglas Hofstadter. On

self-reference.

_Maxwell's Demon: Entropy, Information, Computation_. Entropy and the

physics of computation.

_Philosophy of Mathematics: Structure and Ontology_, Stewart Shapiro.

I'm finding that I don't have enough knowledge about foundations of

mathematics, foundations of decision theory, and quantum mechanics. I'm

currently reading the following books to rectify the situation:

_The Foundations of Causal Decision Theory_, James Joyce

_A Modern Approach to Quantum Mechanics_, John S. Townsend

_Foundations Without Foundationalism : A Case for Second-Order Logic_,

Stewart Shapiro

Ok, who wants to go next?

Received on Thu May 23 2002 - 10:54:09 PDT

Date: Thu, 23 May 2002 10:47:58 -0700

I find that I often have trouble understanding posts on this mailing list,

given the wide range of intellectual ground that it covers. It seems that

people sometimes assume a background in an academic field, and I'm not

even sure what the field is, or how to get up to date or at least familiar

with it. On the other hand, sometimes a poster is just a crank and isn't

making any sense at all. It can be hard to tell the difference.

Perhaps it would help if list members each posts a short biography of

themselves, and tell us their intellectual backgrounds. What fields are

you familiar with, what relevant books/papers have you read, etc.? This

way, if you don't understand someone's post, you can look up his JOINING

post in the archive and figure out what background he is assuming. I got

this idea from the SL4 mailing list; maybe it will work here as well.

To begin with myself, I work as a cryptographic engineer, which means I

design and implement computer security mechanisms, with a focus on the

cryptographic parts. I have a BA in computer science, and have taken

courses in linguistics, theory of computation, number theory, algebra,

probability theory, and game theory.

I think I first encountered the idea that all possible universes exist in

the novel _Permutation City_ by Greg Egan, and then in Tegmark and

Schmidhuber's papers. I started this mailing list after reading both of

those papers.

I've scanned through _An Introduction to Kolmogorov Complexity and Its

Applications_, Ming Li and Paul Vitanyi, and read parts of it in enough

detail to have found several previously unreported errors. It's about

algorithmic information theory, and I personally think it is the single

most important book for list members to read.

Here are some other books that I've read outside of formal education that

seem relevant.

_The Selfish Gene_, Richard Dawkins. Theory of evolution.

_Gödel, Escher, Bach - an Eternal Golden Braid_, Douglas Hofstadter. On

self-reference.

_Maxwell's Demon: Entropy, Information, Computation_. Entropy and the

physics of computation.

_Philosophy of Mathematics: Structure and Ontology_, Stewart Shapiro.

I'm finding that I don't have enough knowledge about foundations of

mathematics, foundations of decision theory, and quantum mechanics. I'm

currently reading the following books to rectify the situation:

_The Foundations of Causal Decision Theory_, James Joyce

_A Modern Approach to Quantum Mechanics_, John S. Townsend

_Foundations Without Foundationalism : A Case for Second-Order Logic_,

Stewart Shapiro

Ok, who wants to go next?

Received on Thu May 23 2002 - 10:54:09 PDT

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