Sunday, December 30, 2007

Extrapolation, calibration, truth

Context: See Tru'eng anewfocus going forwardmathematics.


Some comments (in earlier posts) were motivated by recent events in regard to our growing use of techniques based upon abstractions thanks to the ubiquity of computers and web servers.

One particular set of events dealt with frothing resulting from tranche-ing, as it's so easy to see this bubbly phenomenon in the financial areas that get divorced from proper evaluation methods (where is the science behind the grand intellectualisms?); but, one might think the problem exists too in the hard area of program management, where expectations and time are seemingly inversely related (one classic example is software engineering - at least, a plane can finally get to the air or not). Aside: remember that both expectations and time are heavily subjective despite all the apparatuses devoted to controlling the latter.

But, to be fair, during the whole of the 20th century, our observational selves have pushed out touch and measure far from our bodies and its senses. By the end of last century, there was very little that was not computationally supported. Did anyone in 1990 use slide rulers [sic] like those in 1960 (see Remarks), for instance? Metrology became a focal (pun) science. There is some type of artificial assist found in about any modern situation.

Even many metal workers, in 1990, sat back (figuratively speaking) and watched a machine work. Even though the semantics of the controlling devices were seemingly simple, the mathematics was not. Who would have thought that lowly geometry would now be the major subject that it has become with all the variants that have spawned (essentially topological movements)?

This subject will take a lot more attention. But, to limit the view for the moment, we could bring up the issues related to modeling such as we will see with simulation, virtual worlds, mixed-media situations (in terms of robotics), and the like. This is not a static set of things.

Any purely virtual event would not (does not, ..., remember the importance of handling quasi-empiricism) map well to anything corresponding to the world. Just look at the differences in geometry handling between the visually-based gaming world and the metrology-based world of CAx. There are situations where servos (which are and are driven by computational events) work very well (like stopping your car reliably). There are so many other examples as these types of things abound, again, as a non-static set.

The augmented reality work makes one think that real-world events and the computational are going to be more closely tied as an inevitable part of progress. The questions remain, though, about quasi-empirical issues and trust (the domain of truth engineering).

One thing to look at will be how we 'calibrate' between the world and the computer model, knowing full well that measurement itself will be model (and, for the most part, computationally) based. You see, even with a good calibration between the world and the computer, there will be computational steps that fill in (interpolate) or expand (extrapolate) thereby adding potential error due to several factors that we'll look at.


01/05/2015 -- Tru'eng, anew. This post is the most popular, of late, which raises some interesting questions. Eight years, ago? That was even before the Made-off revelations.

04/19/2011 -- We have to get back to the basics.

01/01/2011 -- We have four last posts of December under our belt.

11/21/2010 -- Three years ago, it was said: Computational foci raise miraculous need. Still applies.

08/20/2009 -- We'll switch blogs to look at technical economic issues.

12/18/2008 -- Well, things really fell apart in the 3rd Quarter of 2008. Of course, the tranche was only one factor. Others include the players and the games. Now, games include using mathematics erroneously, as in getting an aura from the use of derivatives (to be discussed further). We'll have to re-address the map/territory issue.

01/18/2008 -- Of course, 'slide rule' was meant and would have been appropriate with some changes to the phrasing.

'slide rulers' was a Jungian contraction (not dissimilar to the Freudian slip) where an event in the non-parallel (non-linear) collective unconsciousness collapsed out a concept into a little tidbit.

The topic was how the 20th century culminated in a whole slew of artificial media interposing themselves between us and reality (many of these measuring - rulers, so to speak). Of course, at the same time, the 20th-century thinkers pushed forth on us the idea that we cannot know reality anyway in the sense of having a dog's nose.

As well, it was not only sensing that was entrapped with our devices, thinking has been profoundly affected by the ubiquity of the computational (hence, truth engineering's necessity - we'll be looking at sufficiency issues as we go along) leading to several classes.
  • Simple user - not essentially ignorant, as anyone who used mathematics founded on computation runs into issues that are largely unresolved - some statisticians are prime examples.
  • Wizard - having access to the internals sufficient to effect behavior controls, seemingly doing so by magic, in many cases.
  • Magician - above the Wizard as a grasper of underlying theory and of the larger issues, yet subject to the same human failings.
  • Innocents - who can go around and not have to worry about this stuff.
So, who now uses a slide rule (not for measuring, but for calculating) which was ubiquitous in certain circles in 1960? Who can take any of our devices and from first principles recreate an analog? A friend of mine jokes that modern EEs are stock keepers (obtaining off the shelf circuity - not generating from scratch) rather than creative designers.

Of course, there are arguments for not re-inventing the wheel, as we seem to do perpetually.

Modified: 01/05/2015

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Tranche and truth

The financial types like to be creative in ways that move money between different pockets. The year-end festivities rely on such movement happening consistently. This year though, reality has caused fewer pockets to balloon than we saw in 2006.

One such scheme is the 'tranche' which essentially looks to add value to certain parts of an asset while hoping that the diminishing of value in other parts is kept to the future. We'll look at this more closely.

Oh, Lord, how do we escape such machinations that have so many holes?

And, yes, the rewards go to those who accept the risk (yet, one would think that more effort would go into getting a better calibration than we've seen). One would think that any scheme like this is not unlike spinning a top (another bane - that old magic called spin) which cannot stay in motion forever (let's count the ways that this can fail). It is not that risk is bad; the problem is assessing the thing appropriately. Oh, we'll look at the many games there, to boot.

One wonders if such types of thinking haven't infiltrated project management. Well, they have in the sense that earned value is still an art wishing to become more substantial.


12/05/2011 -- It's interesting how idiotic the supposedly smart can be. The real issue: the failings of an idiot have a small influence; the failings of the 'real idiots' has wide impact (and, in so many ways). Somehow, we muddle through.

05/25/2011 -- Lemons problem, dark pools, ... Oh, so much to look at!

04/03/2011 -- Tis tranche and trash.

11/22/2010 -- Tranching, under the guise of securitization? Silly games.

11/04/2010 -- Big Ben is still putting us at risk and trashing the savers. This topic will be given more attention under the context of proper capitalism.

08/18/2009 -- As promised, FEDaerated is here. Ah, the tranche, a perpetual motion machine, indeed.

07/23/2009 -- After the bust and the rebound, toxic assets are still a problem due to tranche realities.

06/17/2009 -- A fresh look will be needed, especially at things like securitization.

12/18/2008 -- Have we seen anything more silly or more representative of fairy dusting in the great realms of financial engineering? It makes leveraging look to be quite reasonable.

11/20/2008 -- Boon and bust, the way of fairy dust.

08/19/08 -- As things unwind from the recent craziness, some analysis can be thoughtful.

05/27/08 -- We must really look at how this is getting something from nothing which we know from physics is not a mature notion. Except, there may be some delta out of the junk status that is reasonable; however how could one get AAA except for perhaps some minor aspect?

05/20/08 -- When I first read about this technique, supposedly thought of by highly intelligent minds, I thought 'Huh?". Of course, something from nothing is what the wizardry of the computer has been reinforcing on many fronts.

Further study has only increased the bafflement at the problems. Thankfully, others are looking at this type of thing, to boot.

Modified: 12/05/2011

Monday, December 17, 2007

Hubris and truth

Or, ought we use some phrase like 'Divine right of kings' as indicative of a modern and moral hazard. Actually, it's the absence of protection against predatory practices that is the key.

Example, when we travel, we don't expect that we need to arm ourselves against highwaymen. Yet, pirates do lurk in some corners. Well, similarly for business practices, there has to be a better way to protect the innocent and less capable (it's probably politically incorrect just to posit that some need protection - evidence abounds).

Hubris is what this blog is not about; yet, are not there classes of people (albeit a small set compared to the total) who think that they have rights to what they want even if the effect might be to trash the lives of (myriad of) others?

This isn't meant to cover felonious assaults of various natures (ratings of grossness are possible); some white-collar (or executive) mis-deeds are really as abusive as gross assault (or even worse - as they may subject someone to oodles of time in essentially a state that is not far from torture [oh, yes, that seems to be the American way now, ..., oh, again, it has always been - to date, it's been more subtle]). The bully can be controlled or avoided; it's the underhanded tricks that are more difficult.

So, we could have a story about the CEO as the new 'King' (all sorts of variations are possible on this theme - new royalty). Sometimes it seems as if there is a notion that a 'Divine right' has been given. Of course, many times it's just an assumption that success is inevitable.

Now, back to operational issues and bringing up a checklist (example, medical use). It might go something like this.

1) Is this a repeat of some past performance?
2) How much is the same in terms of factors, environment, etc.?
3) How well do we know the factors dealing with things that have changed?
4) Do we have a handle on the cardinality of the unknown unknown set and to what degree?
5) ...

Get the drift? Anything past item 2 would be experimental (thereby bringing in uncertainty).

But, guess what, even item 1 would have associated uncertainty, the matter of it being small or large would be a function of the domain and other particulars.


08/04/2012  -- Over five years, we had a lot of side trips. We'll try to focus more. BTW, Rumsfeld has recently had his say.

11/12/2008 --

Well, things feel apart fairly quickly, starting in September of 2008. By N0vember, there was general spooking. Starting in September, movements toward nationalization sped so fast that it was easy to forget that a Republican administration was still in the White House. Talk about rewarding hubris and moral hazardness!!!!


But, it's not just the CEO though that one sets the tone for a business (oh, attempts to; succeeds at times). The most recent Business Week has an article about 'ugly side of microlending' which ought to be an eye opener. Even our beloved store out of Arkansas (WM) is involved. What we have here is just trashing an idea that was meant to be mostly benevolent in nature (a helping hand to allow a fresh start). We end up with practices that end up with borrowers having to pay 100+%, many getting bound into some rapidly expanding balance (gosh, we think that the sub-prime thing is bad - this more than stinks).

WM wasn't able to get banking okay in the US.

Modified: 08/04/2012

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Our daily bread

All sorts of thoughts and discussion could occur under this topic. For one, in light of the season, one could think about 'daily bread' as a gift. That is, even if one works, the 'bread' that one earns to buy one's bread depends upon, in part, the largess of the one for whom one works. Do not managers always tell workers that their job is a gift (subject to withdrawal and outsourcing, we need to acknowledge that we have a 'gift economy' as far as jobs are concerned - with fingers still being ground to the bone, to boot, though)? Of course, we all know the babe and others, who may be incapacitated, cannot work.

For a bit, let's use 'bread' for that which flows in the economy that has several purposes; one of these uses is obtaining that which nourishes the body; also, we're using 'bread' for the thing that cannot buy you love (apologies to J,P,R,G - not necessarily in that order).

Therefore, the gift of bread is not an uncommon occurrence. We ought not even consider too much that those with too much bread might be problematic from several viewpoints (these are large T issues). This would lead to thinking about the relative amounts of bread that different folks may have.

For instance, the daily bread of some (a very few) is in the 100,000s (perhaps, even in the millions). Others may have cents (in the US currency sense - see IMF rating for Liberia) daily. Others are without - if not zero bread, approaching that.

The largest set has some dollars (10s and 100s) in their daily bread; we'll look at those ranges.

First, though, some words about motivation. In other areas, focus is on an OEM program that has an unbounded set of interesting issues. Guess what? Many of those involve bread, from all sorts of angles. Too (or second, if we were counting), bread has become a measure and goal in itself (see earlier post on If you're so smart, why aren't you rich?). As well (...), people who are past their prime need some set of bread whose cardinality depends upon a number of factors (see The Number book, etc.); yet, for many their set was pilfered in many cases; or, if still intact, the set is of uncertain value (many senses here).

Taking that last example, thinking of 'daily bread' is far better for thinking of retirement bread-needs than some extrapolation on current earnings. Why? Well, it maps well to expenditures which is a better basis for starting the proper analysis (and, we're not talking zero-based budgeting so much - rather, that gradients at this level have a whole lot of meaning). Of course, then one could categorize bread (in better ways than we've seen).

You see, those with too much bread usually do not have sufficient respect for it for several reasons (which we can go into eventually); if they do, they are the exception; having a good feel for all the issues involved is not an abstraction thing required for handling large oodles (not googles); rather, it has to do with the function of bread as it maps to what-the-bread-buys is for (see post on 7'oops7 in regard to the abstract and the function in terms of how we need to deal with complications and difficulties - relating to number one, above).

These types of posts may lead to another blog; for now, an engineering economist part of the mind will be ruminating about some strange characteristics about the world, many of which have come out of the woodwork in the past 30 years.

You see, with an emphasis on youth, where does the sense of arms-around-time come from? It cannot, despite the amount of brilliance (which we see grows by time - see IQ and PIQ).

Guess what? Any supplier just starting is like a youth in many cases; yet, we can probably clone out (in a sense like horticultural grafting) pieces of an organization where they are not starting from ground zero (perhaps, that is how the Wichita outgrowth from Boeing ought to be characterized).

Finally, we've developed a culture of youth, as if the young minds who are coming out of their academic experience or who are being let loose to fly freely due to a seemingly better intuitive grasp of things virtual and computational or who are just starting their efforts without the baggages that can accumulate through time are the key; in some types of realms this is called green field.

Well, let's look at it this way, as discussion of the phenomena behind that youth thrust will be important, nature revitalizes every spring; is that necessarily a new generation for all types in nature? Of course not.

Well, we know that bread is not sufficient, but it can be a starting point for building a model with better functional support for what needs to be done than what we've seen the past few decades.

No mention of bread and what it buys would be complete without a nod to Maslow.


11/21/2010 -- Three years ago, it was said: Computational foci raise miraculous need. Still applies.

11/04/2010 -- Big Ben is still putting us at risk and trashing the savers.

08/10/2009 -- As promised, FEDaerated is here.

06/17/2009 -- A fresh look will be needed.

01/19/2009 - We need to remember that people matter more than finance.

11/20/2008 -- Boon and bust, the way of fairy dust.

11/12/2008 -- Well, things feel apart fairly quickly, starting in September of 2008. By N0vember, there was general spooking. Starting in September, movements toward nationalization sped so fast that it was easy to forget that a Republican administration was still in the White House. Talk about rewarding hubris and moral hazardness!!!!

08/01/2008 -- It's not enough to rant and spout off. So, let's start something constructive by looking at money and what it is.

06/01/08 -- Humans like to play with their bread, we know. Yet, maturity is accompanied with an appreciation for the values of hedging (see Minsky). At some point, we get to more speculative thinking, yet that too ought to have some constraints which we have seen evolve into risk management schemes. The question then comes up, how do we keep out the froth (that is, the inevitable Ponzi-ness)?

Well, folks, the WSJ had an op-ed on 5/30/08 dealing with the Feds actions this past spring in which they opened up the discount window to investment banks among other things.

In other words, we the taxpayers are being allowed the tremendous opportunity of putting our bread behind what might essentially be junk. You see, 'leverage' is no longer suspect. No, leverage yourself to the hilt; expect that Ben and crew will bail you out. Oh, if only this were so for the rest of us!

So, speculation's access to our bread ought to be seriously constrained. Ponzi-ness? Well, perhaps only some minor percentage that is considered gaming and entertainment would be allowed.

So, we'll have to look at intrinsics and more.

01/18/08 -- Reinventing the wheel seems to be a continually present phenomenon in the work world despite several issues. For instance, each reinventing sets back to zero the 'truth' clock. Science does not allow proof via an infinite collection (that is, no large set of successes guarantees continuance thereof), yet that is no argument to throw out what is working in order to try something new whose value has to be proven through time.

Modified: 11/21/2010

Friday, December 7, 2007

Truth and work

One has to wonder how we could use workmanship to help with discussion of issues and of their resolution.

So many questions to ask.

- How can we have workmanship when outsourcing goes to those who do not have benefits?
- Ought those who outsource pocket less coin so that more goes to the outsourcee to better found the proper basis for workmanship?

This week, the Economist had a special section on Japan's changes to its economy which is supposed to be improved by adopting from American capitalism. Two main classes of workers have emerged. Those with benefits and those without. The former was the larger set; it's now becoming the smaller. Those 'without' mean no insurance nor other 'rights' (workers' rights are as strong as the 'right' for those who accumulate the oceans of bucks).

Gosh, how many American companies have made oodles while exploiting their workers? I can think of one where the founders wade in an ocean of bucks, yet during the time of their accumulation they outsourced and saved by not paying benefits.

The same Economist edition touted how SAS takes good care of their workers. So, it can still happen in America (ah yes, which? well, the norte variety that is of such large opinion about its self-worth).

Is the method of SAS the way to promote workmanship? Otherwise, are not workers only cogs in a machine?

Of course, we need to make the case that 'workmanship' is necessary, in more ways than those shown by NASA.


09/02/2009 -- Let's face it, folks, undecidability needs to be discussed and adopted in any complex situational setting, especially if computers are involved. Only hubris pushes us to make loud exclamations about what we're going to do in the future.

01/27/2009 -- Now a new day and way to consider these matters.

Modified: 09/24/2011

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Truth and morbidity

That illness is related to non-health might get one to thinking that we really need to know what 'health' is in order to know if something is unhealthy.

So, we may want to look at how 'truth' might be associated with health leading to, then, some semblance of knowing how to describe and evaluate health.

The metaphor is strong in that what PR might spin overlays something that has to perform in a manner that provides a 'healthy' product via a 'robust' process; actually, the spin begins with those elements that gather together in the various ways that then actualize that which performs.

The PR overlay is an external cloak put there for various reasons, not all of which are self-serving; consider, one step toward progress was being able to abstract (correctly and with power); that abstracting action smears over details.

So, just as a few indicators can help a good medical doctor, many times (but, not always) determine a diagnosis and prescribe a treatment with a good prognosis, so too can we deal with some abstracted set (closure, to be discussed) with the few handles provided by the abstraction step and do it in (with) truth.

The devil may be in the details; yet, getting out of that trap makes for progress. Our main problem? Those who rise on these chains (many types of abstractions) somehow lose the ability to then go back down to assess where things may have gone awry.

The fact: the world is going to need people who can deal with (and at) all levels of abstraction and reality and who can grasp/re-spin/endless-set-of-operations the chains and their attributes.

The trouble: reductionistic and siloistic (consider that the economics of the current management schemes relates to just this) thinking only exacerbates the problem.

The cure: we will discuss.


09/02/2009 -- We'll need people who can handle undecidability and its influence.

01/27/2009 -- Now a new day and way to consider these matters.

Modified: 09/04/2009

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Truth and thanks

We really have to appreciate the holiday of Thanksgiving that can be enjoyed from any of the many world-views extant under a free sky. It is a time when disparate views can be held in abeyance except for, perhaps, arguments about the teams involved in a game (or, maybe, the officials).

Some in the western mind-set might wonder about ' what if ' Christmas were every day. Think about Thanksgiving being every day. How far would greed and accumulation extend in that case?

So, what about a few ' what ifs ' that are inspired by the Thanksgiving ideal. That there may be a truth and justice flavor requires no apologies.

- What if managers were really thankful for what their workers bring to the table? We see this emerging in some Indian technology firms.
- What if managers could learn that resources have their limits, need sustenance, work better in supportive environments, and so forth? Chewing up and spitting out as seen in some deals of late is not what the human race needs.
- What if managers who claim that they work harder than anyone due to their long hours, to their endless posturing for effect, to their ceaseless manipulation of situations to better their position, to their sometimes malevolent dealings with those who give them their bread, ..., what if these ones wised up and realized that they could not do the jobs that they are expecting of others and that what they really exhibit (in a world view that can be described and supported) adds to problems? Again, some firms excel in doing the 'right' thing.
- What if workers actually liked what they were doing and gave their tasks their full attention? There are many examples of this, including those who may be under a union label.
- ...
- ...
- What if we had a better tie between our various nose types, whether the natural, the to-be virtual, or other (to be defined)? We see evidence of improved learning in this regard.
- ...

These will be seeds for future posts.



01/27/2009 -- Now a new day and way to consider these matters.

Modified: 01/27/2009

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Justice and truth

There is a lot to say about justice. Looking at the world of work and busy'ness allows a view that would be funny if it were not for all the pain that goes along with the territory. So much interest is paid to the 'pirates' and worse.

Any attempt at discussing the issues more fairly is characterized by barbs of various 'isms' being thrown that are feared by many.

We can split the populace in the busy'ness (which, by the way, is a Constitutional right for those of the USA) into various dichotomies, such as doers and lookers (same as watchers, can't-do, and so forth), or, if you would, workers and managers.

Let's look at a little table.

'lookers' is used as a general term somewhat pejoratively for a whole class, say some managers (actually executives - as that level drives the process [worldview] in this sense), yet there are many managers who fill in this necessary role honorably. Our problem is how to define the game, roles, and rewards, hopefully, with more wise motivations; essential fairness is not anti-thematic to progress and advancement generally.

One effect is that many times the doers are chewed up, given the apparent endless supply, especially as we might think in the globalization scheme. Fairness would depict some level of continued support for doers as their usefulness diminishes through time due to their sacrifice on the altar of work.


06/05/2012 -- We have the cause wrong? Piracy, by another name.

05/09/2011 -- Doers, reconsidered.

01/27/2009 -- Now a new day and way to consider these matters.

08/27/2008 -- This theme applies still, as each of the little posts is supposed to, as a collective for a coherent viewpoint.

06/18/2008 -- That we see glimmers of an unhealthy economy (who has identified what is a good one that everyone agrees with?), such as that harped about in this post, might point to using lessons learned from medicine in our analysis.

Modified: 06/05/2012

Friday, November 9, 2007

Flight and truth

We were born to fly, yet somehow got grounded over time. By the way, bats are creatures to love being our chief representative in the flying realm.

So, there is no need to analyze too much our infatuation with flight and the vehicles that support flight. It's built-in.

Too, simulators of flight grab us. I was recently at the Air and Space museum in Washington, DC (one of innumerable visits to both) and witnessed the seemingly undying appeal of the displays. Albeit, being enthralled with technology is part of the interest (more on computation below).

Now, this post could also have been titled 'Truth and flight' (perhaps, there will be another later). But, if we focus on flight, we'll see that it involves hard truths. Getting from one place to another by means of the airplane may be the safest way to travel, yet the consequences of failure can be severe.

That leads to the interests in new means and in how they might be proven prior to general adoption.

But, it goes further, as flight can be a metaphor for several things. We fly in google space and in other virtual places, though it is without the potential 'severe' consequences. Prior to those simulations afforded to us by modern apparatuses, people 'flew' in abstract space concocted in their heads. An older person might wonder how well the computer-enabled flying compares to what was done with wet-ware (an open issue) embedded in abstraction.

The flying dream has its place, to boot (is that a big T issue?).

So, what's the point? A program that is highly visible and that is working on new methods for us to fly with will get attention; some of the reaction will be awe; some might be critical, more or less; in any case, some can't wait for the outcome, others want to see more information about the process.

Granted there a limits to what we can or are allowed to know. Yet, since flight is our natural right, in a sense, we will continue our fascination (minds want to know).

Friday, October 26, 2007

Criticism and truth

We've become a generation of critics. Actually, the modern ploy has made it worse. People rise up to a point of no action (beyond working the talking head and pointing finger) from which they apply infinite wisdom and choice impacting the rest of us.

As said before, there are doers and lookers. Fortunately, there are sufficient numbers of the former that we see progress. Yet, the glorified goals of careerism is to rise; again, there are sufficient numbers of non-risers who keep doing.

We ought to recognize more those who can do something. ... (the antithesis might be a type of business [doesn't need to be named] that exalts at .4B profit, then has the bottom fall out to the tune of 8.2B+ --- the net effect is that pockets of the many were picked by the few [this ought to be considered in depth], fruits enjoyed by the few [in many cases, there is no retribution -- like, turn back in your bonus, guy/gal], then reality struck --- fortunately, other companies actually built products that can do things).

'I'm a critic' a modern worker realized. One role is going around evaluating and rating those who produce. It's an important role; yet, without actually having hands-on [to be defined], what is the basis for the analytics.

So, that leads to farming out advanced work and how some problems may actually be inherent. That this is so has partly to do with how truth is not a mental exercise, at least not totally so, rather it has to tie to effect, hopefully, in the more complex situations of life.


05/09/2011 -- Doers, reconsidered.

07/29/2009 -- At Oskosh, the air show, the Airbus 380 landed in a cross-wind. Evidently, some critical comments lead to a discussion which relates to the theme of this post. So, that brings up the overall issue of doers versus lookers, including farming out what ought to be one's core business.

01/27/2009 -- Now a new day and way to consider these matters.

01/01/2008 -- Related to this topic is that what the world may need is better critics, witness the rise of critical thinking awareness. One argument, related to practice, is that criticizing may be more effective when done from a viewpoint of experience, not academics.

There is always the issue that improvements through time puts binders on us from several angles though we do enjoy the benefits of most of these.

Modified: 05/09/2011

Friday, October 19, 2007

Intelligence, value, and truth

Intelligence can be associated with playing games and winning. We have plenty of examples, including those who excel in a particular type of society. Nowadays, in the materialistic gaming that rewards greed and accumulation, the smarter have more, in terms measured in manipulating for wealth and associated goods, though many of the related world views might be considered suspect.

We can talk about several types of traits that depict intelligence. Gardner's view is an example. One notion for determining intelligence might be to define who can (or ought to) lead in a manner of meritocracy. We have those academically related tests, to boot, such as those that terrorize the teens, in that they can set the stage for their lives.

Though we use intelligence and figure ways to assess the ability of those with whom we relate, all those theoretic notions can reduce to matters of gaming. Yet, from the viewpoint concerning all, how does it sit for the future if what we want people to do is strive for those successes that go away from 'real' accomplishment? That is, piling up money does not provide for the table nor health -yet, it can support those who do. Neither does generating a pit of critics make for progress.

Of course, it is to be expected that some roles are for entertainment or gaming purposes which may be highly rewarded.

So a world-view dealing with truth from a more complete framework just might attempt to demonstrate that touch labor brings much more value to the proposition than the guy/gal sitting at the top and many of those in-between. Somehow, things are screwy, almost topsy-turvy. That is, those who want to make something actual, such as a new plane, really need more respect from their managers and from the financial 'fakirs'.

At the top, some managers act like pirates (recent article in Business Week). In this regard, there are many non-sustainable attributes that we, as intelligent adults, need to analyze perhaps to consider traits that might lead to better conditions in general.

For instance, would we prefer the Dalai Lama to some crass deal maker? How about a good, intellectual priest as a leader? (see Remarks)

Somehow, mathematics, with its deep appeal, has been usurped being misused as a magic bullet that many modern techniques and processes. Thankfully, software provides a good example from which to extract items for discourse (including the web, drivers of flown systems, and more) in this regard, where we need to consider why we expect effectiveness.

Of course, truth engineering, neither silver nor a bullet, looks to help guide our exploration of the problems and definition of possible solutions.


03/17/2015 -- Still appropriate.

06/12/2014 -- One way to look at this: cognitive elitism.

09/19/2013 -- To some, evidently, grabbing oodles of money, without due consideration of ramifications to others or to the common weal, is the smartest thing; but, we do know that virtue is smart, to boot. Even the secularists are trying hard to show how their worldview can lead to right living (as in, they do not need God to have a conscience). And, what virtue might be prime important to this discussion? Prudence (see Remarks, this day).

05/03/2012 -- We'll start a 'meme' discussion, Either / Or

09/03/2009 -- Computational foci raise miraculous need. Yes, we need to talk NP and more.

05/27/2009 -- That we have topsy-turvy needs to be addressed more fully in both an epistemologic and an operational sense.

01/26/2009 -- Now a new day and way to consider these matters.

07/31/2008 -- It's not enough to rant and spout off. So, let's start something constructive by looking at money and what it is.

mm/dd/2007 (earlier note) -- The notion of the 'priest' as leader is not to argue for the integration of the church and state; part of the western heritage is rendering, as necessary, to Caesar. Rather, it pertains to the possible benefit of suppressed self-interest from those at the top; that is, is it inevitable that those in power succumb to the idea that they hold what might be considered a 'divinely-given right'?

One reads about the head of Notre Dame, the University, living simply. Somehow, the zen master's little, sparse room appeals to the imagination more than does the mansion motivated by extreme ostentation.

Of course, big 'T' issues may be argued here; but, to be brief, how do we recognize and manage hubris before the effects? Why? The 'effects' affect plenty of hapless souls whose only crime was to get in the way or to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Modified: 03/17/2015

Friday, October 12, 2007

Remarks and truth

As an extension to the method, remarks will be added to posts when necessary to provide additional information, and these will be collected by index for easy review.

Two early examples are recent events and improved awareness (we're all learning all the time).

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Effort and truth

From a cynical view (and in many situations today), we get our information fed from some PR machine which we are to take passively. Opinions differ about the amount of believability we can assign to such phenomena. Though, there are laws that attempt to maintain that information is not too problematic.

In more analytic terms, we always have a disparity between substance and surface; we just expect that the mappings that project from interior information to the exterior are not manipulated beyond some reasonable extent (that which is necessary).

Whether we put forth effort to go beyond the message depends upon several things, such as whether there is money involved (we want to control book cooking), whether there is personal interest (an extreme example would be the airplane), and more.

Actually, any effort requires resources, getting back eventually to money. Regular assessments of 'truth' will be costly, hence we would want them to be effective.

Opinions, without any backup, are easily captured using blogs and comments. Would one weight more heavily a signed comment as opposed to that one provided anonymously?

Would a technique, like bet2give, has a better way to weight than would the poll (7oops7)? The former is a permutation on the idea that the market can be used as a measure.


01/20/2013 -- Changed link for bet2give.

09/02/2009 -- Let's face it, folks, undecidability needs to be discussed and adopted in any complex situational setting, especially if computers are involved. Only hubris pushes us to make loud exclamations about what we're going to do in the future.

01/27/2009 -- At the time of this post, engineering was the main focus. Then, other areas become of interest due to overlaps in the problems: map-territory, computation and being, and much more. There will be more integrating posts to bring some cohesion, such as leveraging and fiction.

10/18/2007 -- This post was timestamped early am. Later the same day, there was an announcement of a delay in the case of a particular program that is of interest. With the announcement was a disclaimer (Forward-Looking Information is Subject to Risk and Uncertainty) that is encouraging in that it recognizes the forward-looking problems.

Sometimes, one wonders if reporting wants to be based upon a static view that can be impossible to attain. It's even more difficult assessing how well risk was defined and managed.

Further discussion will pull together earlier posts dealing with earned-value and status checking.

Modified: 01/20/2013

Friday, October 5, 2007

Territory, map, truth

As we deal with Territory and map issues (or confusion), assessing truth (via various truth engines) will require methods and tools, some of which are provided by nature (or otherwise), many we will need to develop.

Short of constant readings from sensors (to be defined, for now consider the nose) embedded in the evaluator's body, we need (and do have now) mechanisms, of which using the web for polling, technical analysis of a market, or political polls are examples.

That some techniques, such as bet2give, remove the aspect of greed may be of interest.

Of course, some types of registers (like we see with weather [temperature]) will be founded upon our knowledge obtained through science and applied through engineering. Others will be more of a 'map' flavor, yet tied to human-based assessment.

That could bring up a question of how what's suggested may differ from the operational processes of mathematics, with its long history of continuous improvements and observed effectiveness.

But, it is still unsettled how all this ability to handle and to use abstractions came to fore, works, seems persistent, and such. Using the nose metaphor might provide a starting point.

You see, the emphasis on elegance and beauty doesn't account for something that may very well have a value to be considered, the skunk (metaphorically, of course).

Let me just put out two slogans, there will be more.
  • Slogan 1: 'truth' is not known at the limits of abstraction; rather, 'truth' is found in reality. Thanks to Joel Orr.
  • Slogan 2: Why differentiate when you can integrate? JMS
Perhaps, further discussion ought to pause while we consider these two.


01/20/2013 -- Change link for bet2give. 

12/13/2011 -- Nitty gritty truth.

05/28/2011 -- Later concepts: Turing space, map/territory, and avatars.

04/19/2011 -- We have to get back to the basics.

11/21/2010 -- Three years ago, it was said: Computational foci raise miraculous need. Still applies.

09/09/2009 -- We'll need to look at UUUN, as a framework.

08/18/2009 -- Applies for both macro and micro views.

07/05/2009 -- It's taken awhile, but this message is becoming more apropos all the time.

12/18/2008 -- Well, things really fell apart in the 3rd Quarter of 2008. Factors include the players and the games. Now, games include using mathematics erroneously, as in getting an aura from the use of derivatives (to be discussed further). So, we'll have to re-address this map/territory issue.

08/01/2008 -- Actually, we have the perfect domain for discussing this issue which covers a gamut in its roles and is of phenomenal importance, namely money and what it can represent, as well as how it ought to do its representation. Especially is this so in that the modern financial realm has been engineered to the max with outcomes that are obviously apparent in their undesirability.

Modified: 01/20/2013

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Shattered dreams

We used to say as 'American as apple pie' or 'the American dream' (some still do). Ought we rephrase and talk about 'as American as the shattered dream' (or such)?

In 2005, there was an event, alluded to in the Ethics and truth post, that will be the subject of a separate blog (WhoseNoseKnows) plus will be further analyzed from the truth engineering viewpoint (a case study).

The event was the type in which a company split out a local division. There was a weekend at that time during which people waited, in anticipation, for a notice to arrive. Now, the means by which the notice arrived was indicative of the message. Granted, some knew their fate prior to the weekend. Most did not.

By one of the means, many people who worked for a company for many years found themselves out in the street and cut off from not only their job, but from the 'dreams' associated with involvement with a major entity. By another of the means, those who were to be kept with the new company lost in terms of quality of benefits, not to mention having to experience an eventual degradation of the work environment leading to very low morale.

We wish to take a closer look, as far as public record and individual memory will allow, at the events leading up to the split and later consequences thereof, such as the pocket lining of the chief manager and of others (was this the main motivation from the beginning? did the original company actually benefit from the deal? So many other questions.).

If you would like to tell a tale about this event, please use the 'comments' section (describe your experiences of this event or your loss or gains) of the new blog. Comments can be anonymous. Also, supporter comments are welcomed, too. Practice here, if you like.

Related e-mail (if you want to provide details that will be summarized) can be sent to ajswtlk[at]gmail[dot]com. Sources will not be revealed.

Additionally, we would like comments related to other events of this nature, especially when there was significant off-shoring.


06/08/2014 -- Does time tell?

03/15/2013 -- Some controversy in the way SPR fired some people. See Weagle.

12/12/2012 -- Trial awaits?

10/18/2011 -- Hopefully, the OWS will bring this type of thing to public awareness.

03/21/2011 -- Turns out that these events fore told what was to unfold, in many ways. There was an IPO, a little bubble, than a burst (all around). Some feel that the chimera indicates improvement. Is it really that which the politicos wrought (or intend to wrought) portends more for the favored than for the rest?

01/27/2009 -- Now a new day and way to consider these matters.

Modified: 06/08/2014

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Ethics and truth

One might have well have titled this 'Truth and ethics' except that would change the emphasis. The main points of this blog are truth engineering, what it might be, why we might need it, etc. Ethics is something that we expect for a balanced game in the market; what we see with initiatives like Sarbanes-Oxley tells us that we have issues here.

One way to show that ethics is problematic is the 'proprietary' shield. A continuing problem is how to impart any necessary information that is true yet not complete enough to allow reverse engineering and duplication. Patent laws help here by allowing public disclosure with ensured benefits. Otherwise, what does the public need to know? In many cases, the public expects that someone knows enough (implying more than normal) to ensure the public is not being taken.

One might say 'need to know' as we see with classified information. If someone who is not on the 'need to know' list asks about what they don't need to know (current events show how this might not be uncommon) does that person being asked lie (or be rude and say you don't need to know). Actually, in many cases, one may not want to know the messy details. So, we have the lie, the rudeness or just ignore (such as changing the subject).

Of course, there are other actions which we hear about that might be even more problematic.

So, again, let's back up a bit. It is true that truth engineering assumes that there is 'truth' (this will be defined further as we go along) that we can know. Our problem, as folks, is that tying this stuff down is not as an easy task as some would like. So there is no intent in the dialog to pursue things toward the sophist's level nor is there any notion of confounding the issues as we might see more than we like (A. what TEng is not) in this age of disinformation (as enabled by the quickness of our modern media - cannot use 'new' here due to possible mis-construing of the message).

As an example, in a change of a major variety that took place in an organization, there were conflicts in ethics. For instance, for several reasons (one has to ask if that honored the golden rule), people were lied to about the coming changes. Now, 'lie' is meant stating some untruth (which could be characterized as a half-truth twisted). But, to be more truthful, many times the lies were actual fabrications (hogwash, if you would). Yet, this type of thing was taken in stride by management (naturally, there was the lure of massive pocket lining -- there are notions that business needs to be 'darwinian' like nature; hopefully, we'll see more leaders of the likes of Dame Anita Roddick, eventually).

In some cases, code names for projects like this help alleviate the problem in that they acknowledge the project but then delimit who can know what.

Now, getting to the market, as it is seen as an important measure by many, one would expect the information available to be meaningful. Yet. some decisions may need more than just a financial snapshot, or rating. That is, there is a mismatch in the ontologies that come into play in information. And, one can't eat a financial report or fly it to India.

Earned-value analysis is a good example of the mismatch. It is true that tasks related to definition and realization of some product are funded, thereby having financial characteristics; in actuality though, the actual accomplishment is of an entirely different, and more difficult, framework. Yet, the prominent feature of reporting progress rests on the 'funds' side. This is problematic since eating up 90% of a budget does not mean that something is 90% complete.

Or, people watch the DOW as some indicator of a product's readiness. If that does map to the quality, it's a fairly weak link (meaning that the chain has many nodes (n-ary) - with a high 'n', not a direct relationship). It mostly would deal with things such as whether the one doing the product development is believable; but, as they say for the market, past performance may be an indicator, of sorts, but does not guarantee future performance.

What measures might we be looking at in order to overcome the problem? This question is worthy of some attention.


06/08/2014 -- Does time tell?

03/21/2011 -- Changed link to Dame Anita Roddick's firm. Also, we have our 4th March.

01/27/2009 -- Now a new day and way to consider these matters.

07/29/2008 -- Both finance and engineering are complicated. The former is more ad hoc than the latter since the latter has nature slapping it around when it fails.

As an indication of information improvement, we can put in links to material that was not available a year ago.
Modified: 06/08/2014

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Market as measure

Some have argued that the market is useful as an indicator, or measure; the amount of focus and reliance put upon the market varies widely; many types of decisions are founded upon market value; evaluation of decisions, concerns about status, and other management assessments somehow relate to the market.

Yet, we have to ask how this all relates to truth (little 't'). As well, the extent of the market has never been across the total of the human population; the forces at play in the market lead toward fixed points for which we can assign clever terms, many of which are not flattering. So, we'll not venture there, at this time.

Adam Smith's work has to be taken in context of the times that he lived; the world has changed phenomenally since his time. The rise of globalization and internationalization, as characterized by the web, for one, has some thinking that the market, in its idealized goal, is better served. Is that true? You see, the same fixed point (for nuances here, consider an interpretation as might be characterized in dynamical systems) phenomena are still problematic.

Perhaps, they are more so. Aspects of this problem relate to funds (hedge or otherwise), 'quant' efforts, and even political influence.

One thing that will be discussed further is how a true democratization might work better than the market. Of course, some may argue that what is defined here is really how the market ought to be. That's not an issue.

Who says that the market has evolved to what it ought to be? The issue is that at each stage of its evolution, some learn how to optimize their take (usually in an unbalanced manner).

Is all this anything other than a zero-sum game at the moment? This we'll look at in depth.


01/20/2013 -- Change link for bet2give.

08/04/2012  -- Over five years, we had a lot of side trips. We'll try to focus more. BTW, Rumsfeld has recently had his say.

10/11/2009 -- Discussion has gone over to FED-aerated. Note the 10/11/2009 Remarks about the Business Week article on India's progress' inhibitors. 'Near zero' recognizes that some always suffer more than others, especially in win-win situations, as the whole notion of characterization minimizes visceral reactions by diminishing the real in favor of the abstracted (ah, the modern world, you say?).

01/27/2009 -- Now a new day and way to consider these matters.

mm/dd/07 (earlier note) -- Market in the above sense is too constrained (gaming the world for profit by the few is not sufficient to knowledge as is needed for the many in future generations though it may be necessary) and does not consider the Collective Intelligence community in areas such as the bet2give example. We can look at these examples in terms of the need for a collective nose and how such might work. Of course, there are little and big 't' (truth or Truth) issues, and we must consider things and tribes, to boot.

Another issue to address might be attempts at obfuscation via abstraction, to wit the collection, labeling, slicing, and marketing of financial instruments that cannot be valued except by 'model' (or is it myth only?) - the sub-prime issue is extremely indicative of the problem. The cloud, supposedly made more palatable via the computational basis (read, the mathematical and related panache), then allows those in the know to exploit and fill their pockets. Do not the financial giants trample the simple little dreams of those who actually bring the 'value' to the table? All this because we've made progress with our control of the virtual via computation where only a few understand what is going on; granted a limited view of reality may have been enhanced thereby (we cannot go back but need to engineer computational truth), yet something is awry and stinks.

Modified: 01/20/2013

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Mission and method

Context: See Tru'eng anewfocus going forwardmathematics.


Insert (12/31/2011):  Funny thing about being a touch-typist: many times there is a slip (which I call Jungian) where the keys thought of in (and expressed through) the nervous system (you know, it includes the brain) differ [from what the fingers type -- yet, many times it's the automated fill-in contributing to the confusion]. Yes. And, watching what is in the head more than what is on the screen allows the word to not be noticed [ah, modern man likes to deal with the map more than with the territory - almost a sickness, folks]. If the secondary, and tertiary, editing steps are by-passed (all sorts of reasons for this), the mangled text will be there until later noticed and corrected. A resolution for 2012 will be to not just alter the text but to insert the correction with square brackets []. After some time to allow a collection of these, an interesting bit of analysis might be in order.

Addition (09/14/2011):

Each blog has a post that details the method. Essentially, no editor is used beyond a mere text editor.

Then, I might spell check. Grammar is as learned. That brings up a recent controversy. Some poor soul put out a shirt that had "lets go" rather than "let's go" which is only an issue out of context. So, I went to look. Yes, I had a few "lets" and have changed them except in the 7oops7 blog which is about 'oops and such.

I was careless, but blogs are evolutionary things. There is no separate editor role involved with a lot of this; rather, the blogger has to go back and eyeball the text. Or, rely on tools.

But, as said before, I prefer to write as if it's going to paper (yes, I can fill, and have filled, in a blue book from cover to cover while both following the rules of writing and expressing some notions about a topic). And so, I beg a slightly forgiving eye on the part of the reader (for glaring errors, I'll eventually see, and correct, it).

Gestalt describes the underlying issues.


Original post:

This is a tardy, but necessary, post (No exhibition planned of hubris, in any of its senses, within the contents of this blog).

The intent is to have useful dialogs about truth in contemporary contexts that build to a solid operational base.

Posts will be done in 3 stages: initial draft, then links to on-line supporting material, finally editing to remove any troublesomeness. All edits, after the initial date, will be marked by a datestamp.

Posts are intentionally non-linear (and serendipitous). Later edits will provide bi-directional links that will tie together posts through time to allow expansions on a theme. A list of links will be used to represent successive discussions (linearity) on a subject.

As an extension to the method, remarks will be added to posts when necessary to provide additional information, and these will be collected by index for easy review. As well, the remarks will be marked with a date stamp.

Comments are encouraged and will not be moderated, however they may be cleaned up via summary if necessary. Comments can be signed or not.

Let's take a moment to consider matters of conduct with regard to comments.

Related e-mail can be sent to ajswtlk[at]gmail[dot]com. Sources will not be revealed.


01/05/2015 -- Renewal, see Context line.

09/14/2011 -- On the method, see Wishlist of the Profile.

08/24/2011 -- On the method, see the Profile.

01/27/2009 -- A new day. As described a year ago, things continue to fall apart. "You see, this scenario dreamt about by Adam Smith has descended into a computationally based mayhem which has lost its mathematical, political, and spiritual basis and upon which there cannot be a sustained economy. The corpses of the system litter the landscape."

Expect more effort in firming up the earned-value (and related) discussions.

Modified: 01/05/2015

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Exuberance unbounded

Just a short note, to be expanded.

This thread, and many posts, will deal with the mathematical advances, as augmented by computational prowess, and how these have no underlying theory except those as may have been defined and depicted in a tribal sense (not pejorative); 'no underlying' pertains to the operational nature of what we know and discover.

Yet, there are many schools of thought related to these issues. One gets 'vertigo' just pondering all the permutations that abound. Attempts at limiting the expansionary trends come from various sides; we will look at this more fully.

No wonder that it is so easy for a management mindset to be overcome by the magic of it all; 'to whom does one assign trust?' is a continual question. That there is this blog shows the need, hopefully, and the means, perhaps, to go forward with the necessary analysis.

The saving grace? That we can be, at least, quasi-empirical; emphasizing the operational is important from the little 't' sense of truth. Any role for big 'T' Truth? Well, we shall see.


04/04/2011 -- Need to look at some background.

09/03/2009 -- Computational foci raise miraculous need. Yes, we need to talk NP and more.

05/27/2009 -- That we have topsy-turvy needs to be addressed more fully in both an epistemologic and an operational sense.

01/27/2009 -- A new day. As described a year ago, things continue to fall apart. "You see, this scenario dreamt about by Adam Smith has descended into a computationally based mayhem which has lost its mathematical, political, and spiritual basis and upon which there cannot be a sustained economy. The corpses of the system litter the landscape."

Expect more effort in firming up the earned-value (and related) discussions.

Modified: 04/04/2011

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Measuring progress

Earlier posts, in this and and another context, mentioned the difficulties found with earned-value analysis and management in a project. Essentially, some time line, that itself is a collapsed tree/graph, serves as a basis for a whole bunch of stuff that maps to the time line.

That is, we're talking an abstracted collection which overlays the activity landscape (itself an abstraction) plus provides descriptive information (some of it measurable) about the thing-in-itself that is the purpose for the project.

Model is a good word to use though there are many nuances to consider. Typically, for earned-value we need to track task progress (activity) and product completeness.

Even simple situations can be problematic depending upon several factors. An example is that it is a lot easier looking backward than forward. Yet, we've learned how to look forward in some cases, though we can try to push our extrapolation prowess too far. Also, as the cardinality of the task and product component sets rise, so to do the issues of benchmark and performance.

There are common themes that can be used for this discussion, such as those confounding some financial situations. That is, how does one mark, that is, evaluate for comparative analysis and for supporting decisions (necessary correction)? We've mentioned model; this capability is both boon and bane to the problem (and actually, the motivation for this blog). For some of the more recent financial instruments, this is not an easy task (marking to model).

Myth. That's a large subject dealing with mindsets and other phenomena that need some discussion.

Market. Unlike finance with its limited ontology and its dependence upon the dismal science, in engineering, we can actually build something and then test it. Success may very well revolve around techniques that quickly bring something to fruition which is then improved via an evolutionary scheme. This technique has found some use in software, its development driven by the requirements of the web.

Large products would need an entirely new variation on that theme. But, the notion that something must be seen in action is strongly inherent. A computer simulation versus prototype is still an open issue due to things like quasi-empiricism (will be looked at further).


03/28/2009 -- Mark to myth can be attributed to Buffet. Many claim that mark-to-market has exacerbated the current crunch (see WSJ Letters to the Editor - "Honest Accounting with Reasonable Write-Downs" Robert D. Arnott -- 3/27/2009). As said, the issues of this problem are not dissimilar from the earned-value problem of engineering. We'll revisit this issue shortly.

01/23/2009 -- Expect more effort in firming up the earned-value (and related) discussions.

06/12/2008 -- It's nice that engineering and finance have these parallels, thanks to economics being common between them, allowing more discussions of oops.

01/18/2008 -- See threads Finance as game and Wealth as measure.

Modified: 03/28/2009

Friday, September 14, 2007

These delicate balances

There are several balances that pertain to life. How well we handle these contributes to success. That these balances are difficult to maintain will be part of the on-going discussion.

Much progress has come from better handling of the abstract as well as from improved facilities for both obtaining data and evaluating such as evidence. Medicine is one of many examples where an evidenced-based approach is evolving (notice the criticism section). In the financial realm, much effort has gone to sustain a floor (bail-out, if you would) through various mechanisms that are not unlike balancing (or, perhaps, juggling).

In the present (the now), looking forward can keep things going; looking backward allows analysis. Our growing facilities with the abstract can lead us to think that we can look forward 20-20, even though our experiences might tell us otherwise. So, we can get the mismatch, such as in a major program, between expectations (which differ by role and interest) and the actual status.

Too, because of scope issues and their complications, there is a need to prune possible expansions by level (depth search) and extent (breadth search). In terms of real programs, both the management and operational (including engineering and doing) views must maintain several balances. The latter needs to have a much lower depth in its involvement.

One problem that we face is that the ontology will change both by level and extent; truth engineering has a role that will be described further.


11/04/2010 -- Big Ben is still putting us at risk and trashing the savers.

09/02/2009 -- Let's face it, folks, undecidability needs to be discussed and adopted in any complex situational setting, especially if computers are involved. Only hubris pushes us to make loud exclamations about what we're going to do in the future.

01/27/2009 -- A new day. As described a year ago, things continue to fall apart. "You see, this scenario dreamt about by Adam Smith has descended into a computationally based mayhem which has lost its mathematical, political, and spiritual basis and upon which there cannot be a sustained economy. The corpses of the system litter the landscape."

Modified: 08/24/2011

Monday, September 10, 2007

Unreasonable effectiveness

The appeal of abstraction may arise from several sources. One of these might be that we have shown modeling to have a lot of benefits where the type of modeling could be of many types, such as CAD/CAE, organizational structure, or process improvements.

With the advance of computing ability, the techniques and accomplishments that can be attributable to modeling have increased rapidly. In many cases, the model might become the focus; actually, in some cases, the model is how we know due to our quasi-empirical limits.

In relation to the title, we might need to look further at modeling. Perhaps, a question similar to that of Wigner and others about the "unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics in the natural sciences" might be in order.

Why are these modeling techniques so effective in engineering? A related question might ask why do we allow the model of a thing to stand for the thing, in many cases, to a greater extent than might be warranted. Yet, as we know, sometimes all we have is the model.

Prior to computer assistance, there was a wider disparity between abstraction and what could be reduced through calculation. That gap has been partly filled with advances as we see from a recent example where we see that some modeling can be used in place of physical experiences.

As the definitional issues related to truth engineering are considered, we will need to look at a wide-range of examples and describe a fairly broad range of issues.


06/11/2015 -- There will be a rework here and a rework there.

01/23/2015 -- Software? Well, we are talking more than apps (latest craze). We are dealing with fundamental questions which, then, gives rise to normative issues in mathematics (and, by extension, to the computational).

08/04/2012  -- Over five years, we had a lot of side trips. We'll try to focus more. BTW, Rumsfeld has recently had his say.

09/03/2009 -- Computational foci raise miraculous need. Yes, we need to talk NP and more.

08/20/2009 -- We've railed about modelers using PDEs taking their results to be some equivalent to natural observations. Financial mathematics has even worse of a problem.

03/25/2009 -- Rhetoric can be fun, but we have to get into these issues with depth and technicalities.

01/27/2009 -- Now a new day and way to consider these matters.

09/14/2008 -- Failures and bailouts seem to be the name of the game lately. Oh, yes, that a use of game which is quite acceptable. The railings are against games that allow others to place risk upon those who are not playing or who are not even aware. So, thanks, Ben, and all those (you, too, Alan, who set the stage for the current mess), who are responsible for my tax dollars going to bail out those who are prone to playing to a morally hazardous script. Sheesh!

There are two major factors, not to ignore all the others. These are the computer (systems and users gone amok) and mathematics (ah, it's been spoon-fed to several generations such that now we're seeing serious mis-applications).

07/31/2008 -- It is apparent that finance (and related economics) is far more delusional in this regard than is engineering. Why? The latter has Nature as its lab. The former only has gaming the world.

Modified: 06/11/2015