Monday, September 14, 2009

New papers submitted

We've just finished wrapping up some old papirus, and they're off to the journals! It's always a soothing experience before the insults arrive. Here are the papers:

Entanglement of perception and reasoning in a combinatorial game

We conduct a new variation of the classic chess reconstruction experiments,analyzing 25 types of possible reconstruction errors of grandmasters, masters, and beginners.The differences between the errors conducted in poor, intermediate, and strategically perfectreconstructions provide insights concerning the encoding of experts. The results obtained shedclear light into the debate concerning the importance of abstract thought (i.e., forward search)versus perceptual processes (i.e., pattern recognition). We claim that a clear solution to thisdebate is ultimately unfeasible, as our experiments demonstrate high entanglement ofperception and reasoning. Our results provide additional evidence that analogy is central tostrategic thought in chess.

The emergence of choice: Decision-making and strategic thinking through analogies

Consider the chess game: When faced with a complex scenario, how does understanding arise in one’s mind? How does one integrate disparate cues into a global, meaningful whole? How do players avoid the combinatorial explosion? How are abstract ideas represented? The purpose of this paper is to propose a new computational model of human chess cognition. We suggest that analogies and abstract roles are crucial to understanding a chess scenario. We present a proof-of-concept model, in the form of a computational architecture, which may be able to account for many crucial aspects of human play, such as (i) concentration of attention to relevant aspects, (ii) how humans may avoid the combinatorial explosion, (iii) perception of similarity at a strategic level, (iv) a state of meaningful anticipation over how a global scenario may evolve, and (v) the architecture’s choice as an emergent phenomenon from the actions of subcognitive processes.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Questioning Chase and Simon’s (1973) “Perception in Chess”: The “Experience Recognition” Hypothesis

We have a new paper to come out, and here's the info. Please drop us a message should you be interested. It should come out soon in But while it's scheduled, it isn't redirecting yet.

Questioning Chase and Simon’s (1973) “Perception in Chess”: The “Experience Recognition” Hypothesis

By Alexandre Linhares & Anna Elizabeth T.A. Freitas, to appear in New Ideas in Psychology.

Abstract. Pattern recognition lies at the heart of the cognitive science endeavor. In this paper, we provide some criticism of this notion, using studies of chess as an example. The game of chess is, as significant evidence shows, a game of abstractions: pressures; force; open files and ranks; time; tightness of defense; old strategies rapidly adapted to new situations. These ideas do not arise on current computational models, which apply brute force by rote-memorization. In this paper we assess the computational models of CHREST and CHUMP, and argue that chess chunks must contain semantic information. This argument leads to a new and contrasting claim, as we propose that key conclusions of Chase and Simon’s (1973) influential study stemmed from a non-sequitur. In the concluding section, we propose a shift in philosophy, from “pattern recognition” to a framework of “experience recognition”.

Friday, July 3, 2009

José Aristodemo Pinotti (20/12/1934--01/07/2009)

Obituary: JOSÉ ARISTODEMO PINOTTI (20/12/1934--01/07/2009)

2004, Helsinki, The Club of Rome Assembly General.

I have been asked to write the obituary of a great man, a Doctor, a Professor, an University President, a President of numerous international organizations, a member of The Club of Rome, a Secretary of State of São Paulo...

...and: an example to be followed; a personal mentor; a friend during the storms. Whenever I have the obituary ready, I will publish it and post a link.

But here follow some of his accomplishments and recognitions (in Portuguese). This week, both the lower house and the Senate did not have sessions in Honor of Dr. José Aristodemo Pinotti.

Numerous organizations have expressed condolences.
Professor Titular, UNICAMP, 1972-1982

Reitor, UNICAMP, 1982-1986

Professor Titular, Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade de São Paulo, 1988-

Deputado Federal (1995-1999; 2003-2007; 2007-2011)

President, International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (1988-1991)

President, The International Association of University Presidents, 1983-1984

Secretário da Educação do Estado de São Paulo, 1986-1991

Assessor, Banco Mundial e Nações Unidas, Genebra, Suíça, 1987

Membro, Board of Directors, IPAS, 1993-1995

Editorial Board, The International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics, EUA;

Editorial Board, Archives of Gynecology, Heildelber, Alemanha;

Editorial Board, Argomenti di Oncologia, Milano, Italy.

Membro, Board of Trustees, The Population Council, Colorado, EUA, 1972-1983;

Professor Honorário, Universidad Mayor de San Andres, La Paz, Bolívia, 1977

Professor Honorário, Universidad Mayor de San Simón, Cochabamba, Bolívia, 1977;

Diploma de Honra, Centro Acadêmico Adolfo Lutz, UNICAMP, Campinas, SP, 1981;

Ordem do Ipiranga, Grande-Oficial, Governo do Estado de São Paulo, 1982;

Homenagem, Museu Histórico, Fac. de Medicina, USP, São Paulo, 1985;

Ordem de Rio Branco, Comendador, MRE, Brasília, DF, 1986;

Homenagem, Conselho Cultural Mundial, Heidelberg, Alemanha, 1986;

Membro Honorário do Conselho de Reitores das Universidades Brasileiras, Brasília, DF, 1986-;

Comendador, nell, Ordine al Mérito della República Italiana, Presidente da República Italiana, 1987;

Laurea Honoris Causa in Medicina et Chirurgia, Univ. de Bolonha, Itália, 1988;

Professor Honoris Causa, Fac. de Medicina de Marília, SP, 1988;

Ordem do Mérito Médico, Sociedade Brasileira de Mastologia, São Paulo, SP, 1988;

Menção Honrosa, Academia de Medicina de São Paulo, SP, 1988;

Médico Símbolo de 1988, Capítulo Brasileiro da Associação Médica de Israel, São Paulo, SP;

Secretário do Ano, Comitê de Imprensa, Palácio dos Bandeirantes, São Paulo, SP, 1988;

Medalha de Ouro, Departamento de Obstetrícia e Ginecologia do Instituto Dexeus, Espanha, 1988;

Homenagem, Federação de Obras Sociais, São Paulo, SP, 1989;

Medalha Defesa Civil do Estado de São Paulo, Casa Militar, 1990;

Honoris Causa, Societas Gynaecologica et Obstetricia, Roma, Itália, 1990;

Sócio Honorário, Sociedad Levantina de Obstetricia y Ginecología, Valência, Espanha, 1990;

Medalha Mérito da Ginecologia Italiana, SIGO, Veneza, Itália, 1991;

Prêmio Jabuti-93, Câmara Brasileira do Livro, São Paulo, SP, 1993;

Cidadão Italiano, Comuni di Magnacavallo, Itália, 1993;

Honorary Fellow, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Washington, EUA, 1993;

Sócio Honorário, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Washington, EUA, 1993;

Homenagem, Inst. Italiano para o Comércio Exterior, São Paulo, SP, 1998;

Doutor Honoris Causa, Centro Universitário Ibero-Americano, São Paulo, SP, 1999;

Título Acadèmic de Honori Numeraris, Real Academia de Medicina de Catalunha, Espanha, 2001

Medalha Mérito Profissional em Ciências Médicas, Academia Brasileira de Arte, Cultura e História, São Paulo, SP, 2002.

Membro, The Club of Rome, 2004-

Secretário da Educação do Estado de São Paulo, 2007-

Secretário de Educação, Município de São Paulo, 2005-2006.

Secretário Especial da Mulher, 2008--

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Supercomputing goes mainstream

Stories of the day:

As more and more people decry the coming end to Moore's law; GPGPU seems to get more traction each day. Here's some random guy exitedly talking about NVIDIA's Tesla:

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Trolling patent trolls

After IBM's patent of the 40-minute meeting (get it here), I think it's time to troll the patent trolls, by letting them look themselves in the mirror, as they try to make money by destroying value. Nothing against patents per se, but patent abusers should have a chance to see themselves in the mirror find out whether they like what they see. The abuse of patents is the second worst thing in the tech world (second only to this unspeakable disgrace:"twitter, triumph of humanity").

I think the best approach, at least for a powerless author like yours truly, is to edit their wikipedia page, calmly and objectively pointing out how these patents are just plain dumb. Neutral point of view and reliable sources are very welcome.

I did this first when Microsoft applied last year (2008) for the breakthrough of a page-up and page-down button, which would let you scroll documents; hear me out; one page at a time. That was decades old technology, and it's a blatant abuse of a failed patent system. The wording has been changed all over, but it still lies right there at Microsoft's entry:
David Meyer writing on pointed out that, "Microsoft has a long history of applying for, and being granted patents for, inventions that many argue--and can sometimes demonstrate--were based on earlier work carried out by others, or based on a common, self-evident idea."[109] This was in response to its 2008 patent application for the ability to progress in page-up or page-down increments with a single keystroke -- a method that has been pervasive for decades. [110]
This is from IBM's entry on Wikipedia:
IBM holds more patents than any other U.S. based technology company and has eight research laboratories worldwide
It's only logical and fair to point out how they do it: by abusing the system and stamping out junk. So now is the time to update IBM's page, which I did. But of course it was reverted: "Slashdot is not a reliable source". Dammit CowboyNeal! So here is a gathering of "reliable" sources for IBM's patent abuses.

Here is the "
paper or plastic" patent (please please check this link, it's worth it), the "but I only had soup" patent, the offshoring patent, the "who is going to pee next" patent, the "Terry is a boy, Jeena is a girl" patent (from a garbage, "unreliable source", unfortunately).

Dear IBM, may I humbly ask: What is the point of having a record number of patents if they are just plain stupid? Are you really keeping these admittedly schizophrenic policies?

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Project Jacuzzi

For those concerned that we won't be able to compute rapidly all that we need to, here are some good news. Project Jacuzzi:

The project delivers Java™-bindings for CUDA. CUDA is a framework by NVIDIA which enables a programmer to use the graphics processing unit (GPU) of a computer for scientific computations or image processing. The current project state is alpha but it might however be useful for you. Browse the javadoc documentation to find out. Everybody is invited to contribute.

That should bring up the immense power of GPGPU (also on wikipedia), and stream processing, even from (slow) java.

We shouldn't worry about such problems now. Maybe in an year or so.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Open-sourcing Capyblanca, Part (ii)

I've received this email recently (identities hidden either to protect the innocent and/or my imaginary friends):

Dear Mr Linhares,

I'm a *nationality* *discipline* teacher, very interested by AI (as a hobbie), I've just read your article "Decision making and strategic thinking through analogies". I kwnow quite well Hofstadter's book "Fluid Concepts and creative analogies" but until your work I was not sure if these ideas could be applied outside "toys" problems.

If this can help, and if you are interested I would be glad in translating your code from Delphi to Java or from Delphi to C++ (if you prefer). Is it possible to download your code ?

I'm sorry for my bad english, hoping not to waste your time.

Best regards,

H. W.

This was my reply, which I'd like to extend further in here (also sent to the prime mover):

Dear H.W.,

Thanks for your message. Just to let you know that I received it and I'll soon contact you with a longer reply. In the meantime, feel free to download the code, and translate it to any language that you might find appropriate. The code is hosted in google and is under a GPL license. Do as you wish, and share with the community!

Cheers, --Alex

Well, I guess my "longer reply" comes basically to this: You can do whatever you want with the code, provided (i) you respect the GPL restrictions (sorry, buddy, you have to redistribute your improvements if you use the original), and I would ask also that (ii) people do NOT write papers for journal/conference publication using any of the examples embedded in the code. YES, you can write & publish a paper on the subject. YES, you can write and publish a paper on your improvements on capyblanca. YES, you can write and publish a paper criticizing capyblanca (you prick). But before we go all Obama yes-you-can, I'd like to ask readers and developers involved in the code NOT to publish any papers using the aforementioned positions. Other (billions?) chess positions are all yours to test, criticize, and improve the code. Good luck!

With that in mind, the code is free. It's all yours. Improve it, publish, and profit from it--but give back to the community. That is the spirit of the GPL.

Kernel Maps

Here's Linux's kernel Map:

Here's windows's kernel map:

Peer review

Imagine if the arts were just like science, pervaded with peer review and groupthink. Here's what you'd get:

Eduard Manet wrote to his colleague Claude Monet, of Renoir: "He has no talent at all, that boy. Tell him to give up painting."

"Rembrandt was regarded as not comparable with an extraordinarily gifted artist, Mr. Ripingill."

William Blake spoke of Titian and the Venetians as "such idiots are not artists."

Degas regarded Toulouse-Lautrec" as merely a painter of a period of no consequence." One wonders how art would have fared in a peer review system.

Or would it be different in music? We can read what was said of Beethoven's compositions by musicians of his time:

"An orgy of vulgar noises" was the verdict of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony by Mr. Spore, a German violinist and composer.

On Tchaikovsky's appreciation of Brahms, "I played over the music of that scoundrel Brahms. What a giftless bastard. It annoys me that this jumping, inflated mediocrity is hailed as a genius."

Let's just say I'm glad for the arts.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A new paper

We just have a new paper coming up in a journal. It's not a "cognitive decision science" paper. It's a "decision science" one. I first wrote the original version in 2003, and it's finally coming out, after some rounds of review. Should you be interested, please email me for a preprint.

Here's the full reference:

Theory of constraints and the combinatorial complexity of the product mix decision

A. Linhares

To appear in the International Journal of Production Economics

Abstract: The Theory of Constraints (TOC) proposes that, when production is bounded by a single bottleneck, the best product mix heuristic is to select products based on their ratio of throughput per constraint use. This is not true for cases when production is limited to integer quantities of final products. We demonstrate four facts which go directly against current thought in the TOC literature. For example, there are cases on which the optimum product mix includes products with lowest product margin and lowest ratio of throughput per constraint time, simultaneously violating the margin heuristic and the TOC-derived heuristic. Such failures are due to the NP-hardness of the product mix decision problem, also demonstrated here.

Swine flu: What can you do?

As of this moment, all schools in Mexico are closed down.

The Swine Flu outbreak has possible cases in more than 20 countries, in ALL continents. Here are the symptoms, uploaded to Wikipedia by some great soul:

The good news is that THERE IS something you can do, if you want to help (and protect yourself in the process). It is the exact same that the uploader has done.

The entire planet will be looking for news over this, and here information saves lives. Millions of people will, eventually, read the Wikipedia page. If you do want to help in fighting this, here's a tip: study the news. Study the Wikipedia page, and update any missing information in there.

If your natural language is not English, work on the local Wikipedia page. If you understand English, consider translating the English page to your language. Translation to the Spanish page may be the best thing right now. You don't have to do the whole page, of course. But each minute, or hour, you devote to it may save lives. If this is a serious threat to us all, you can actually save lives by dedicating yourself for a few hours. Think about that.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

FARGonauts, rejoice!

This week, The American Academy of Arts & Sciences elected Doug Hofstadter as a fellow.

If you don't know what that means, you may go back to your TV now.

We are not only cheering for the recognition of Doug's gigantic accomplishments, but we also expect more people to show an interest in the field of FARGonautics.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

America is under hyperinflation

Ok, I am going to stick my neck on the economic scenario after a looong time.

In 1998, Russia had 8 billion US bucks in reserves. Now it has something like 500 billion.

A decade ago, China's reserves were a minute fraction of the what, 2 Trillion, they hold now? Nobody knows what the Arabs really hold. China and Brazil are at all time records of USD reserves.

Instead of thinking about a "housing bubble", why not think about a "manifestation of hyperinflation in house prices"?

There is scarce talk of hyperinflation in the econblogosphere, but to me it is the real basic phenomenon going on here. The USD has become a ponzi scheme, and by definition a ponzi scheme is NOT a ponzi scheme, until it is one.

Of course, the inflation indexes are all fine and dandy. But that's because of other forces. That's because (i) global supply chains have become leaner and meaner; (ii) wal-mart and china and india et al have brought prices and wages down over the last decade.

Needless to mention, while the deficits are gargantuan, the US keeps printing money like there's no tomorrow.

Does anyone expect China to hold 10 Trillion? Or Brazil to hold 1 Trillion?

Hopefully I'm missing something. But if these are all signs of hyperinflation going on right now, a global panic is about to set in.

For your entertainment pleasures after this very cheering post, here's a new iPhone app for you to enjoy the DOW jones. Have a nice day.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Gonna get rough out there

In the last year or so, we've been quite quiet around this blog. Too much work is one reason. Another one is that we've had some hopefully real progress, with some new ideas that aren't yet written down. From the top of my mind:

(i) A massively multidimensional representation system that might be able to account for any domain; from Copycat to Bongard problems and Decision-support systems and god knows what else;

(ii) A redefinition of temperature to a distributed and massively parallel model;

(iii) A model of "hedonic" reinforcement learning, or something like that. We still don't have a name for it.

We are now working on the following problems:

(iv) How to create a slipnet from scratch? How to create nodes from experience? How to find out the distances to other nodes? How to change distances on-the-fly, as Copycat does when "opposite" goes nuclear? How and when to create links? When do links become nodes?

The funny thing is, we think we can solve these. But wait, there's more:

(v) how to find what actions can be done with an object? In other words, how to find what is an object's type on-the-fly, during runtime? The representations we are being driven towards to are so general that they do not contain type information.


(vi) how to make new codelets on-the-fly, during runtime?

Ladies and gentlemen, please return to your seats and keep your seat belts securely fastened. Please make sure your seat backs and tray tables are in their full upright position.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

And the winner is Brazilian!

The Darwin Awards salute the improvement of the human genome by honoring those who accidentally remove themselves from it. Every year there is fierce competition concerning those who best improve the gene pool by removing themselves from it. And this year, ladies and gentleman, I am glad to say that the indisputable winner comes from Brazil. With almost three times as many votes as the other candidates, our cherished winner brought home a smattering victory.

Competition for the Award is fierce. In this image we see some high profile contenders, which did not make the cut.

And here is the winner that makes us so proud:

(20 April 2008, Atlantic Ocean, Brazil) In 1982 Lawn Chair Larry, beloved survivor of a Darwin-worthy attempt, attached 45 helium weather balloons to his comfortable Sears lawn chair, packed a picnic and a , and cut the tether. But instead of drifting lazily above the Los Angeles landscape, the combined lift of 45 huge helium balloons rocketed Larry into LAX air traffic lanes 16,000 feet above sea level. Astoundingly, he survived the "flight."

In homage to Larry's aerial adventure, a Catholic priest recently ascended towards heaven on a host of helium party balloons. Adelir Antonio de Carli, 41, was attempting to set the world record for clustered balloon flight to publicize his plan to build a spiritual rest stop for truckers.

Sitting for more than 19 hours in a lawn chair is not a trivial matter, even in the comfort of your own backyard. The priest took numerous safety precautions, including wearing a survival suit, selecting a buoyant chair, and packing a satellite phone and a GPS. However, the late Adelir Antonio made a fatal mistake.

He did not know how to use the GPS.

The winds changed, as winds do, and he was blown inexorably toward open sea. He could have parachuted to safety while over land, but chose not to. When the voyager was perilously lost at sea, he prudently phoned for help. But rescuers were unable to reach him since he could not use his GPS! HE struggled with the control panel as the charge on the satellite phone dwindled.

Instead of a GPS, the priest let God be his guide, and God guided him straight to heaven. Bits of balloons began appearing on mountains and beaches. Ultimately the priest's body surfaced, confirming that he, like Elvis, had left the building.

The kicker? It's a Double Darwin. Catholic priests take vows of celibacy. Since they voluntarily remove themselves from the gene pool, the entire group earns a mass Darwin Award. Adelir Antonio wins twice over!