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