On Sat, Aug 24, 2013 at 9:05 PM, Platonist Guitar Cowboy
> As I tried to comment in the other thread concerning chess: it's not just
> about power, it's also about quality of coding. Just one fresh opening, a
> novel variation or line in the mid game, a bug in the code, one position
> falsely assessed, and all computing power in the universe will still lose
> that game. To generalize this to all problems seems a bit quick. PGC
I agree with the sentiment. Chess is a very narrow case though: the
min-max algorithm plus a brutal amount of computing power is surely
going to beat a human. The min-max algorithm is so simple that it is
not that hard to implement with zero defects. The issue, though, is
the following: we currently only know how to beat top human players
with brutal computational power. The part of the human brain devoted
to playing chess (even in a Grand Master) cannot possibly match what
we already do artificially in terms of computing power. It must use
smarter algorithms. Our brain cannot possibly hold the gigantic search
trees involved in min-max, it must be doing something much more
clever. We don't know what that is.
We are now approaching a point where we can have supercomputers with
the same estimated computational power of a human brain, but we are
very far from replicating its capabilities. There's even a lot of
stuff insects do that we are not close to matching. I dare even say
bacteria. There are many fundamental algorithms yet to be discovered,
that's for sure.
Also, Moore's law is bound to hit a physical limit. It cannot be that
far now. It's already fishy, since it's being driven mostly by
multicore architectures. Moving from the sequential to the parallel
world is far from trivial in terms of software engineering. The brain
is massively parallel and asynchronous, and we are still very bad with
that sort of stuff. Maybe that's precisely where the missing good
Incidentally, Richard Feynman was involved with a startup that tried
to create a new type of highly parallel computer. Here's an
interesting read about it:
I love this part:
"We were arguing about what the name of the company should be when
Richard walked in, saluted, and said, "Richard Feynman reporting for
duty. OK, boss, what's my assignment?" The assembled group of
not-quite-graduated MIT students was astounded.
After a hurried private discussion ("I don't know, you hired him..."),
we informed Richard that his assignment would be to advise on the
application of parallel processing to scientific problems.
"That sounds like a bunch of baloney," he said. "Give me something real to do."
So we sent him out to buy some office supplies."
> On Sat, Aug 24, 2013 at 6:07 PM, John Clark <johnkcl...@gmail.com> wrote:
>> Suppose that in 1997 you had a very difficult problem to solve, so
>> difficult that it would take Deep Blue, the supercomputer that beat the best
>> human chess player in the world, 18 years to solve, what should you do?
>> You'd do better to let Moore's law do all the heavy lifting and leave Deep
>> Blue alone and sit on your hands from 1997 until just 2 minutes ago, because
>> that's how long it would take the 2013 supercomputer Tianhe-2 to solve the
>> problem. And in 20 years your wristwatch will be more powerful than
>> John K Clark
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