Monday, June 13, 2011
Infinity, and the Randomness of Computers.
Infinity is a very difficult idea to grasp...it is infinite. There is no beginning, there is no end. What if I told you, you could observe infinity in a space as small as your hand? If you guessed that a circle is infinite you would be right, but there are some more complex shapes that are also infinite.
The above picture is infinite. As complex as it looks when you deconstruct it, it is just a circle. How do I know this? I made that picture, and it is a circle. Although it is a twisted and convoluted circle...it is nothing but a circle.
An open loop is not infinite. An open loop can look like a straight line with a definite start and end. It can also look like the picture below.
I know...I made the picture using nothing but lines.
Even the easiest of arguments can become a tangle that will ensnare its creator if they are not careful. That is why they must be extremely careful with what they call "Research". All to often the word Research is used to describe dogmatic proof of a point. A good example of this was the research into the ability of computers to create random numbers.
Many computer professionals have set out to prove one of two possibilities. The first being that a computer is capable of creating a random number, the second being that computers are not capable of creating random numbers. Neither of these groups conducted research. They set out to prove they were right. One group got the right answer...however, since they did not use good research methods there was no proof..or a method that others could see and reproduce their findings...they guessed and were right.
The key to real research is an open minded approach. This is not the time to allow politics, personal feelings, or how you want things to be to flavor your findings. It is the most difficult part of research.
The Computer Scientists, Engineers, and Mathematicians who set out to research the randomness of computers asked a very simple question. Can a computer generate a random number? After years of research the answer was published a few months ago. It confirmed what many of us had guessed. Even with all the proof, chock full of examples, the answer is still debated by some who thought their guess was right.
So what was the answer? I'll let you research that...shouldn't be too hard.
Research is not a closed loop. There is no room for infinity in the answer...you must be able to prove the connection between point A and B. Missing links are not allowable. Guesses are OK while still conducting the research but not OK as part of a final answer.
In some blogs, I have seen conspiracy building hidden behind the term research. Although the "Researcher" may actually be on to something..they create a circular argument that becomes infinite...its as if a conclusion is not possible. Then they suddenly proclaim a conclusion and statement of fact. But they provide no point A to B connection.
Since they can not form a conclusion...I will use some of their research...the research of others..and some of my own research to Define the problem...analyze the solutions..and formulate a conclusion. What I love about research is, I never know where it will go.