Monday, December 12, 2011

Complexity anyone?

John Biaz, a mathematician rather than a project manager, asks some provocative questions from time to time that are of interest to us. The latest in his post on complexity:
What can you do with just a little information?

• Bill Gates’ first commercial success was an implementation of a useful version of BASIC in about 4000 bytes;

• The complete genetic code of an organism can be as short as a few hundred thousand bytes, and that has to be encoded in a way that doesn’t allow for highly clever compression schemes.

This from Wikipedia:
Recent computer hardware advancements include faster processors, more memory, faster video graphics processors, and hardware 3D acceleration. With many of the past’s challenges removed, the focus .... has moved from squeezing as much out of the computer as possible to making stylish, beautiful, well-designed real time artwork

On the other hand, Baez's friend Bruce Smith produced this video (sans hardware infrastructure) in 4KB (that's a rounding error on a rounding error in most programs today). So, don't say it can't be done; don't accept bloat; be lean!

Are you on LinkedIn?    Share this article with your network by clicking on the link.


  1. Technology has affected society and its surroundings in a number of ways. In many societies, technology has helped develop more advanced economies (including today's global economy) and has allowed the rise of a leisure class.

    Many technological processes produce unwanted by-products, known as pollution, and deplete natural resources, to the detriment of the Earth and its environment. Various implementations of technology influence the values of a society and new technology often raises new ethical questions.

    Examples include the rise of the notion of efficiency in terms of human productivity, a term originally applied only to machines, and the challenge of traditional norms.

    windows95 computer

  2. Michael: I agree with your points. John Baez, to whom the blog posting referred, is a mathematician currently working in Singapore on environmental issues.

  3. Nice to hear ... but john a mathematician and working on environmental issue ... two but opposite niches. Not? :)

  4. Michael: Environmental science depends greatly on models and statistical forecasts. The math models for environment are quite complex: climate, etc for one. So no, there is a lot of very good mathematics going into environmental issues of all types