While this is accurate, after seven years of attending Burning Man this is the first time that I've heard anyone describe the city layout - even after spending a pretty significant amount of time at self-identifying geek camps like The Institute.
Anyway, it seems a bit strange to me to use the burning man map (a polar coordinate system) to describe a Cartesian-style grid like the complex plane.
... perhaps somebody's ego needs to be challenged ... ;)
A lot of them also take a lot of MDMA and drink a lot of alcoholic beverages. There's something for everyone at BM.
Maybe you can explain why you felt the need to point this out with such disdain?
He took them but he didn’t champion them. He especially didn't want people to think they needed amphetamines to do mathematics.
And I am by no means trying to encourage people to take them if they don't want to, just to accept that others can do it responsibly and it's ok. I'm just bewildered by the hardline "drugs are bad, m'kay" stance that many people take. Whatever research we have been able to do on amphetamines has generally shown them to be safe and even beneficial for human use (when used appropriately).
Anyone have more resources on this? I could only find a brief overview by Scott Aaronson .
If we were to form a description of its state evolving, framed as a computation, then that computation would be in such and such a complexity class—sure. But if you want to go ahead and say that soap bubble is literally computing in the same sense, you're making a number of implicit philosophical commitments that I have yet to see a justification for when this subject is brought up.
Edit: to clarify, what I'm getting at is whether we're using it to solve what is a problem for us, or whether it literally has to 'find a solution' in order to get into the state it gets into, so that principles of computational complexity etc. would be somehow applicable to what it's doing.
My professor asked for the change in his pocket: they went to the hardware store and got plexiglass, dowel and drill. In the hotel room, the put together a model of the points to connect between the plexiglass sides and dunked it in the soapy hotel tub.
the pattern the soap bubbles formed was the shortest path between the electrical tower model.
There are some videos doing exactly what you described:
That definitely feels better justified than the view I had of it, though it still has some weakness, I think.
From my understanding the justification for calling it computation comes down to: we can use the physical system to solve a problem that we would ordinarily approach computationally, therefore it must be computing too. Right?
To me, it feels like the intention of "computation" as used here is to give us a convenient way to describe what the physical system _appears_ to be doing (solving something the only way we know how--computationally) as opposed to saying: the rules of our universe influenced these particles to act in such a way that manifested in something interesting to us (an efficient solution to some problem).
Very interesting to think then if we can leverage physical systems (specifically non-quantum, to make that more interesting) to solve NP problems.
Seems to me you missed the emphasis on the _physical_ part. I don't see any philosophical quandaries from that since it was clear to me OP was not proposing the bubbles literally computed things.
It's also just an interesting question imo—so I'd be okay hearing a discussion about it whether the original statement introduced the philosophical quandary or not.