🎧 Episode 097 Applied Mathematics & the Evolution of Music: An Interview With Natalia Komarova | HumanCurrent

Listened to Episode 097 Applied Mathematics & the Evolution of Music: An Interview With Natalia Komarova by Haley Campbell-GrossHaley Campbell-Gross from HumanCurrent

In this episode, Haley interviews Natalia Komarova, Chancellor's Professor of the School of Physical Sciences at the University of California, Irvine. Komarova talks with Haley at the Ninth International Conference on Complex Systems about her presentation, which explored using applied mathematics to study the spread of mutants, as well as the evolution of popular music.

There’s some interesting sounding research being described here. Be sure to circle back around to some of her papers.

📖 Read pages 75-102 of In the Footsteps of King David: Revelations from an Ancient Biblical City by Yosef Garfinkel, Saar Ganor, and Michael G. Hasel

📖 Read pages 75-102 of Chapter 3: Khirbet Qeiyafa in the Period of King David in In the Footsteps of King David: Revelations from an Ancient Biblical City by Yosef Garfinkel, Saar Ganor, and Michael G. Hasel (Thames & Hudson, 1st edition; July 24, 2018)

Highlights, Quotes, & Marginalia

Chapter 3: Khirbet Qeiyafa in the Period of King David

Ancient cities of the biblical period did not include public areas comparable to the central forum in Roman cities, the piazza in medieval European cities, or the shopping malls of modern cities. Instead, the gate area was the heart of the city, as everyone who entered or left the city had to pass through it.

Highlight (yellow) – Chapter 3: Khirbet Qeiyafa in the Period of King David > Page 75-76

The city gate was where elders of the town sat and passed judgment on disputes brought before them.

Importance of the city gates

Highlight (yellow) – Chapter 3: Khirbet Qeiyafa in the Period of King David > Page 77

Movement through this inner gate could have been controlled, so that possibly not everyone who was allowed into the piazza could then proceed further into the city.

I’m reminded of theater design in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in which lobbies are meant to physically hold everyone in a public space before they’re let into the actual theater space inside.

Highlight (yellow) – Chapter 3: Khirbet Qeiyafa in the Period of King David > Page 77

Tabun is an Arabic term referring to round overns used for baking, measuring around 0.5-1m (1 1/2-3 1/4 ft) in diameter and generally constructed of earth, though occasionally from a circle of rounded stones.

Highlight (orange) – Chapter 3: Khirbet Qeiyafa in the Period of King David > Page 78

…four large stone steps (a rare find in itself, as built stone steps are seldom uncovered in excavations) descended into the main room.

Highlight (yellow) – Chapter 3: Khirbet Qeiyafa in the Period of King David > Page 79

To the best of our knowledge, drainage channels have not been reported in ordinary dwellings in biblical period cities–only in the city gates–so this came as a surprise.

“To the best of our knowledge” –I like the warning/caution they give here, though most may gloss over it. Small statements like this are small flags in the text that scholars should note for potential future research. Subtle flags like this pop up in math textbooks frequently, but often only the well-trained know to take advantage of them.

Highlight (yellow) – Chapter 3: Khirbet Qeiyafa in the Period of King David > Page 79

This demonstrates how the understanding of archaeological remains can change as an excavation progresses.

Another archaeology 101 example here. Keep in mind that something that may look one way at a point in the research may change fundamentally as one “digs” further.

Highlight (yellow) – Chapter 3: Khirbet Qeiyafa in the Period of King David > Page 80

A bench stood next to the entrance–a feature found only in cultic rooms.

Highlight (yellow) – Chapter 3: Khirbet Qeiyafa in the Period of King David > Page 82

…which we interpreted as a stable.

again another cautionary flag that might possibly take other interpretations.

Highlight (yellow) – Chapter 3: Khirbet Qeiyafa in the Period of King David > Page 82

One room (G) is unusual: it contained a bench…

G doesn’t seem to actually be labeled on diagram C3, but does appear on Fig. 28 of building C10

Highlight (gray) – Chapter 3: Khirbet Qeiyafa in the Period of King David > Page 82

Pillared buildings are well known from the period of the kingdoms of Judah and Israel and were used as public storehouses for the produce collected as tax from farmers. The existence of such a building at Khirbet Qeiyafa clearly indicates central authority and administration.

Highlight (yellow) – Chapter 3: Khirbet Qeiyafa in the Period of King David > Page 85

We know that in ancient times urgent messages were communicated over great distances by sending signals using fire or torches. Evidence of this practice in the Kingdom of Judah comes from an inscription on a pottery sherd from Lachish from the time when Nebuchadnezzar was besieging the city: “we are watching for the fire signals of Lachish according to all the signs which my lord has given. The palace at Khirbet Qeiyafa would ahve been an ideal place for sending and receiving such torch-signals.

Nice documentation in the archaeological record for early long distance communication

Highlight (yellow) – Chapter 3: Khirbet Qeiyafa in the Period of King David > Page 86, 88

…we can three phases of development in cities in Judah in the biblical period (Fig. 33).

Highlight (yellow) – Chapter 3: Khirbet Qeiyafa in the Period of King David > Page 89

Khirbet Qeiyafa was probably the first site constructed according to this plan. [urban planning in Israel involving a casemate wall with houses that incorporate the casemates as rooms. Several examples from the following centuries exist using a similar pattern.]

Highlight (yellow) – Chapter 3: Khirbet Qeiyafa in the Period of King David > Page 91

The excavations at Khirbet Qeiyafa thus reveal another important aspect of the historical figure of David, and show that not only did he build cities, but also that a new concept of urban planning emerged during his reign.

Highlight (yellow) – Chapter 3: Khirbet Qeiyafa in the Period of King David > Page 91

… the city was built in several major phases. In the first phase, the site was cleared of earlier settlement remains and bedrock was exposed around the future city. In the second phase, stones were quarried and brought up to the line of the city wall. […] In the third pahse, the builders began work on the gates and their chambers. […] Construction of the wall itself commenced in the fourth phase. […] In the fifth and final phase, the private houses whose walls incorporated the casemates were constructed.

Highlight (yellow) – Chapter 3: Khirbet Qeiyafa in the Period of King David > Page 92

This was a good demonstration that the chronological dilemma cannot be resolved on the basis of pottery alone.

Highlight (yellow) – Chapter 3: Khirbet Qeiyafa in the Period of King David > Page 93

In the 2008 season we had discovered carbonized olive pits in the city wall and in rooms of the destroyed buildings in Area B.

Highlight (yellow) – Chapter 3: Khirbet Qeiyafa in the Period of King David > Page 93

The enormous tension that accompanied sending the samples via express mail resulted in the credit card with which we paid for the shipment being mistakenly packed inisde and sent to the laboratory at Oxford, along with the olive pits.

This could be a great plot point in a thriller version of this story!
One might think that with multiple samples, they might send them separately, that way if some are lost, then at least they’ve not lost everything!

Highlight (yellow) – Chapter 3: Khirbet Qeiyafa in the Period of King David > Page 94

A discovery made in our 2011 excavation season […] A jar containing some 20 olive pits was found in the destroyed city. […] which clearly indicate that the city had been destroyed no later than 980 to 970 BCE. […} Today, the dating […] is based on nearly 30 samples, probably the best radiometric dating we have so far for any level in a biblical city.

Highlight (yellow) – Chapter 3: Khirbet Qeiyafa in the Period of King David > Page 95

…determining the dates of the reigns of the kings of Israel and Judah is not a simple task, and the length of those of David and Solomon, exactly 40 years each, appears to be a literary device rather than reflecting historical reality. We therefore propose that the round number of 1000 BCE as the date of David’s accession to the through, though this is merely an approximation. […] But it is clear from the radiocarbon determinations that Khirbet Qeiyafa can be dated to the time of David or Saul, but no to Solomon’s reign, which is later than the results obtained. It will only be possible to decide conclusively if an inscription naming one king or another is found at Khirbet Qeiyafa. To be scientifically cautious, we accept the later date, to the reign of King David.

Highlight (yellow) – Chapter 3: Khirbet Qeiyafa in the Period of King David > Page 95

The “excavation dump” is the term commonly used by archaeologists in referring to the piles of earth and stones that they remove from the ground during excavation.

Highlight (orange) – Chapter 3: Khirbet Qeiyafa in the Period of King David > Page 97

In 2007 it was possible to claim that nothing was known archaeologically about King David; ten years later the situation is very different, and archaeology can present two sites from his period in the Judean Shephelah.

Highlight (yellow) – Chapter 3: Khirbet Qeiyafa in the Period of King David > Page 101
Guide to highlight colors

Yellow–general highlights and highlights which don’t fit under another category below
Orange–Vocabulary word; interesting and/or rare word
Green–Reference to read
Blue–Interesting Quote
Gray–Typography Problem
Red–Example to work through

👓 How different types of knowledge impact the growth of new firms | MIT News

Read How different types of knowledge impact the growth of new firms (MIT News)
Study explores the micromechanisms underlying regional economic diversification.

👓 The Rise of Knowledge Economics | Scientific American

Read The Rise of Knowledge Economics by César A. HidalgoCésar A. Hidalgo (Scientific American Blog Network)
What is knowledge? How does it disseminate? And what’s its value?

A great article outlining several related papers in Dr. Hidalgo’s opus. I like how he pulls together prior research as well as his own in an accessible way.

🎧 Episode 025 System Theories, Racism & Human Relationships: Interview with TK Coleman | Human Current

Listened to Episode 025 System Theories, Racism & Human Relationships by Haley Campbell-GrossHaley Campbell-Gross from Human Current

In this episode, Haley interviews TK Coleman to discuss how humans allow their conflicting mental models to influence the way they handle controversial topics like racism. TK also shares how understanding context and patterns within human systems ultimately empowers us to actively contribute to human progress.

I generally prefer the harder sciences among Human Current’s episodes, but even episodes on the applications in other areas are really solid. I’m glad to hear about TK Coleman’s overarching philosophy and the idea of “human beings” versus “human doings.”

Also glad to have the recommendation of General Systems Theory: Beginning With Wholes by Barbara G. Hanson as a more accessible text in comparison to Ludwig von Bertalanffy’s text. The gang at Human Current should set up an Amazon Affiliate link so that when I buy books they recommend (which happens frequently), it helps to support and underwrite their work.

Highlights, Quotes, Annotations, & Marginalia

Reality is objective, but meaning is contextual.

—Barbara Hanson, General Systems Theory: Beginning with Wholes quoted within the episode

This quote is an interesting recap of a sentence in the first two paragraphs of Claude Shannon’s The Mathematical Theory of Communication.

🎧 Episode 085 How Networks Learn An Interview with Cesar Hidalgo | Human Current

Listened to Episode 085 How Networks Learn An Interview with Cesar Hidalgo by Haley Campbell-GrossHaley Campbell-Gross from HumanCurrent

In this episode, Haley talks with physicist, complexity scientist, and MIT professor, Cesar Hidalgo. Hidalgo discusses his interest in the physics of networks and complex system science and shares why he believes these fields are so important. He talks about his book, Why Information Grows: The Evolution of Order, from Atoms to Economies, which takes a scientific look at global economic complexity. Hidalgo also shares how economic development is linked to making networks more knowledgeable.

Cesar Hidalgo

Quotes from this episode:

“Thinking about complexity is important because people have a tendency to jump into micro explanations for macro phenomenon.” — Cesar Hidalgo

“I think complex systems give you not only some practical tools to think about the world, but also some sort of humbleness because you have to understand that your knowledge and understanding of how the systems work is always very limited and that humbleness gives you a different attitude and perspective and gives you some peace.” — Cesar Hidalgo

“The way that we think about entropy in physics and information theory come from different traditions and sometimes that causes a little bit of confusion, but at the end of the day it’s the number of different ways in which you can arrange something.” — Cesar Hidalgo

“To learn more complex activities you need more social reinforcement.” — Cesar Hidalgo

“When we lead groups we have to be clear about the goals and the main goal to keep in mind is that of learning.” — Cesar Hidalgo

“Everybody fails, but not everyone learns from their failures.” — Cesar Hidalgo

“Learning is not just something that is interesting to study, it is actually a goal.” — Cesar Hidalgo

A solid interview here with Cesar Hidalgo. His book has been incredibly influential on my thoughts for the past two years, so I obviously highly recommend it. He’s got a great description of entropy here. I was most surprised by his conversation about loneliness, but I have a gut feeling that’s he’s really caught onto something with his thesis.

I also appreciated about some of how he expanded on learning in the last portion of the interview. Definitely worth revisiting.

👓 Lecture notes! Intro to Quantum Information Science | Scott Aaronson

Read Lecture notes! Intro to Quantum Information Science by Scott Aaronson (Shtetl-Optimized )
In Spring 2017, I taught a new undergraduate course at UT Austin, entitled Introduction to Quantum Information Science. There were about 60 students, mostly CS but also with strong representation from physics, math, and electrical engineering. One student, Ewin Tang, made a previous appearance on this blog. But today belongs to another student, Paulo Alves, who took it upon himself to make detailed notes of all of my lectures. Using Paulo’s notes as a starting point, and after a full year of procrastination and delays, I’m now happy to release the full lecture notes for the course. Among other things, I’ll be using these notes when I teach the course a second time, starting … holy smokes … this Wednesday. I don’t pretend that these notes break any new ground. Even if we restrict to undergrad courses only (which rules out, e.g., Preskill’s legendary notes), there are already other great quantum information lecture notes available on the web, such as these from Berkeley (based on a course taught by, among others, my former adviser Umesh Vazirani and committee member Birgitta Whaley), and these from John Watrous in Waterloo. There are also dozens of books—including Mermin’s, which we used in this course. The only difference with these notes is that … well, they cover exactly the topics I’d cover, in exactly the order I’d cover them, and with exactly the stupid jokes and stories I’d tell in a given situation. So if you like my lecturing style, you’ll probably like these, and if not, not (but given that you’re here, there’s hopefully some bias toward the former).

👓 The Problem With Feedback | The Atlantic

Read The Problem With Feedback (The Atlantic)
Companies and apps constantly ask for ratings, but all that data may just be noise in the system.

A great framing of a lot of crazy digital exhaust that online services and apps are collecting that don’t do much. I’ve also thought for a while about the idea of signal to noise ratio of these types of data as well as their quantization levels which often don’t make much sense to me. I don’t think that there are any IndieWeb realizations of these sorts of (mostly business) systems in the wild yet, but this is an important area to begin to consider when they do.

🔖 [1810.05095] The Statistical Physics of Real-World Networks | arXiv

Bookmarked [1810.05095] The Statistical Physics of Real-World Networks by Giulio Cimini, Tiziano Squartini, Fabio Saracco, Diego Garlaschelli, Andrea Gabrielli, Guido Caldarelli (arxiv.org)

Statistical physics is the natural framework to model complex networks. In the last twenty years, it has brought novel physical insights on a variety of emergent phenomena, such as self-organisation, scale invariance, mixed distributions and ensemble non-equivalence, which cannot be deduced from the behaviour of the individual constituents. At the same time, thanks to its deep connection with information theory, statistical physics and the principle of maximum entropy have led to the definition of null models reproducing some features of empirical networks, but otherwise as random as possible. We review here the statistical physics approach for complex networks and the null models for the various physical problems, focusing in particular on the analytic frameworks reproducing the local features of the network. We show how these models have been used to detect statistically significant and predictive structural patterns in real-world networks, as well as to reconstruct the network structure in case of incomplete information. We further survey the statistical physics frameworks that reproduce more complex, semi-local network features using Markov chain Monte Carlo sampling, and the models of generalised network structures such as multiplex networks, interacting networks and simplicial complexes.

Comments: To appear on Nature Reviews Physics. The revised accepted version will be posted 6 months after publication

👓 Welcome to Voldemorting, the Ultimate SEO Dis | Wired

Read Welcome to Voldemorting, the Ultimate SEO Dis by Gretchen McCulloch (WIRED)
When writers swap Trump for Cheeto and 45, it's not just a put-down. Removing a keyword is the anti-SEO—transforming your subject into a slippery, ungraspable, swarm.

Surprised she didn’t mention the phenomena of subtweeting, snitch tagging, or dunking which are also closely related to voldemorting.

To my experience, the phrase “bird site” was generally used as a derogatory phrase on Mastodon (represented by a Mastodon character instead of a bird), by people who were fed up by Twitter and the interactions they found there. I recall instances of it as early as April 2017.

In addition to potential SEO implications, this phenomenon is also interesting for its information theoretic implications.

I particularly like the reference in the van der Nagle paper

[…] screenshotting, or making content visible without sending its website traffic – to demonstrate users’ understandings of the algorithms that seek to connect individuals to other people, platforms, content and advertisers, and their efforts to wrest back control.

This seems like an awesome way to skirt around algorithms in social sites as well as not rewarding negative sites with clicks.

Reply to Andy Gonzalez about NIMBIOS Workshop

Replied to a tweet by Andy GonzalezAndy Gonzalez (Twitter)

Andrew Eckford et al. hosted a related conference a few months prior at BIRS which also has some great videos:

Biological and Bio-Inspired Information Theory(14w5170)

Perhaps it’s time for a follow up conference?

👓 Tenured Faculty Position at Princeton University | IEEE Information Theory Society

Read Tenured Faculty Position at Princeton University (itsoc.org)
The Department of Electrical Engineering at Princeton University seeks outstanding applicants for a tenured appointment at the Associate or Full Professor level, effective as early as September 1, 2019. The search is open to candidates specializing in areas related to information sciences and systems, with strength in core fundamentals and an interest in applications areas such as networks, machine learning, energy systems, cyber-physical systems, robotics and control, wireless communications, biology, etc. The successful candidate should have a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering or a related field, demonstrated excellence in academic research, and a proven track record of teaching and advising undergraduate and graduate students (if currently holding an academic appointment). We seek faculty members who will create a climate that embraces excellence and diversity, with a strong commitment to teaching and mentoring that will enhance the work of the department and attract and retain a diverse student body. Candidates must complete an online faculty application at: https://www.princeton.edu/acad-positions/position/4801; a detailed curriculum vitae, descriptions of teaching and research interests, reprints of selected publications, and the names and addresses of three references should be uploaded as .pdf documents via the on-line application. This position is subject to Princeton University's background check policy. To ensure full consideration, applications should be received by November 15, 2018, but the search will remain open until the position is filled.

Wow! Verdu hasn’t even started experiencing entropy yet…

👓 U. confirms Verdu’s dismissal following misconduct investigation | The Princetonian

Read U. confirms Verdu's dismissal following misconduct investigation (The Princetonian)
On Friday night, Assistant Vice President for Communications Dan Day confirmed that professor Sergio Verdú was dismissed from the faculty as of Sept. 24 following a University investigation into his conduct in relation to University policies that prohibit consensual relations with students and require honesty and cooperation in University matters.

🔖 Categorical informatics

Bookmarked Categorical informatics by David Spivak (math.mit.edu)

"Category theory is a universal modeling language."

Background.

Success is founded on information. A tight connection between success (in anything) and information. It follows that we should (if we want to be more successful) study what information is.

Grant proposals. These are several grant proposals, some funded, some in the pipeline, others not funded, that explain various facets of my research project.

Introductory talk (video, slides).

Blog post, on John Baez's blog Azimuth, about my motivations for studying this subject. (Here's a .pdf version.)