Posts Tagged State

Cats and the Ultimate Machine

This cat-in-a-box (not to be confused with Schrödingers cat) hauling in coins placed onto the fishbone-marked right corner I found on the counter of a fast-food shop in Seoul: 


It so reminded me of Claude Shannon’s ultimate machine:

One of his more humorous devices was a box kept on his desk called the “Ultimate Machine”, based on an idea by Marvin Minsky. Otherwise featureless, the box possessed a single switch on its side. When the switch was flipped, the lid of the box opened and a mechanical hand reached out, flipped off the switch, then retracted back inside the box. Renewed interest in the “Ultimate Machine” has emerged on YouTube and Thingiverse.

A matching (while somewhat more commercial) tribute to the founder of Information Theory
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Ancient computing – the Antikythera Mechanism

When diving deeper into the far end of the historic roots of bioinformatics, I came across the Antikythera mechanism. To me, it has all the hallmarks of what bioinformatics is about: taking in the available knowledge of the time, integrating all the data there is into a functional machine model that actually makes useful and verifiable predictions. And all of that already happened approximately 2100 years ago. Wow!

The timeline for BioInformatics I created however did not seem to accept a corresponding entry, although on dipity dates B.C. should work (since April 2011, they say) – but not for me (yet).

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A beginners guide to the galaxy

Admittedly, I have no idea about Quantum Gravity, apart that some physicists like their universe to be rather bubbly than stringy ( or just the other way around: more stringy than loopy, like Leonhard in Series 2 Episode 2 of “Big Bang Theory“).

But the caption of the above movie from the Max-Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics in Potsdam/Golm says (quote) “The following sequence visualises the quantum evolution of geometry in Loop Quantum Gravity. The colours of the faces of the tetrahedra indicate where and how much area exists at a given moment of time. The movie illustrates how these excitations of geometry change as dictated by the Quantum Einstein Equations. Technically, the faces form a complex dual to the graph of a spin network state and the colour shows the amount of spin (area) with which the edges of the graph area are charged.” (end quote).
Wow – a combination of words like evolution, network, graph, spin, state, geometry and tetrahedra in a few lines and you have my full attention! Although it was bound to appear on my radar at some point, I don’t quite see the exact connection with biomolecular networks and structures clearly – yet. Nevertheless, it’s either watching the visualisation for mere aesthetic reasons or digging deeper with the aid of “Loop and Spin Foam Quantum Gravity: A Brief Guide for Beginners” – by Hermann Nicolai, a string theorist and director of the Quantum Gravity and Unified Theories department at the MPI for Gravitational Physics / Albert Einstein Institute. The visualisation is available for download on their pages.
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