Re: Algorithmic Revolution?

From: <>
Date: Tue, 19 Nov 2002 11:40:22 -0500

Tim wrote:To: <>
Tuesday, November 19, 2002 4:50 AM
> I just don't see any such sign of a revolution. No more so than 10
> years ago, 20 years ago. Yes, computers are now more powerful. >Problems
> tend to grow faster in size than computers do, however, and often
> having 100x the power only yields a slight improvement in accuracy, not >
qualitative leaps or breakthroughs. (Paralleling, no pun intended, the
> spacing of the Mersenne primes, where it's taking longer and longer to
> brute force find the next one, even with dramatically more computer
> power. Or the accelerator energy gap, where 10 times the accelerator
> energy doesn't produce much more new physics.)
> There are aspects of computers that are always touching on cultural
> issues.

This last sentence tries to rectify your narrow view of a "revolution",
understood not so much restricted in the quarters of Physics and other
'sciences' but in the entire life of humanity: The information-spread all
over and in all topics. Todays use of computers is not computer-stuff: it is
human lifestyle. Revolutionarily different from the lifestyle of 30 years
The "industrial revolution" was not an improved weaving machine.
Revolutions are not results of a factual change, not changing a specific
(scientific?) topical technique, they are trends, developing slowly within
human development and observable only after a period as instrumental
alterations in the facets of the entire life. And this is, what computers
*helped* to occur, not by their technological gadgetal or theoretical
improvements, but the universality of the world-information exchange -
unparallelled earlier. Internet and stuff.
The appreciable survey of newer segmental ideas and topical bestsellers you
provide pertains to the technicalities and periferals of this revolution.
There is a bigger (wider) one going on than your search for as a 'real'
"scientific revolution", which is a segmental development anyway.

> My belief is that basic mathematics is much more important than
> computer use, in terms of understanding the cosmos and the nature of
> reality.
That may be an opinion and I respect it without subscribing to it.
> --Tim May


John Mikes
Received on Tue Nov 19 2002 - 11:48:01 PST

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