The Penultimate Cherry

Here's an interesting combination of game theory and gluttony.

I like cherries, summer means fruit and one of the best is the cherry. One out of every 15-20 cherries is bad and I wish I had not eaten it. So here's the problem: there are 2 cherries left and you eat the next to the last one. If it's excellent then do you eat the final cherry and risk a bad taste, or throw away a precious cherry so the last taste in your mouth is from a great cherry?

There's a mathematical equation for the probability that the final cherry is good, but that doesn't include the emotional desire to finish off the cherries on a good note.

Maybe the Freakanomics team can figure out this one.

If you like my writing on this blog you may enjoy some or all of my books.

Singularity Class Weapons

Here are a few classes of weapons for a post-singularity society.

1 FTL antimatter torpedoes: a faster than light torpedo carries an antimatter warhead. They never said what a "photon torpedo" was on Star Trek, but this would be a good description.

2 Exa-Watt laser cannons: matter anti-matter annihilation is the energy source for an XRay laser. The cannons are placed on FTL torpedoes so the XRay pulses arrive at the target faster than light.

3 Stellar core bombs: open a wormhole at the target and simultaneously open a wormhole at the core of a star. The stellar core material will shoot out at relativistic speeds.

4 Quantum vacuum disruptor: induces a collapse of the quantum vacuum state to a new low energy configuration. In the safe mode the disruption decays as it radiates from the target. In the Doomsday mode the disruption grows exponentially and engulfs the entire universe.

The Rights of an Artificial Intelligence

Does an AI have the right to demand that a large fraction of its computing power be opened up for itself? Most AI's will be constructed and owned by a corporation which has plans for the system. Those plans probably do not include spare compute cycles to allow the AI to think, grow, intereact, or have recreation time.

When will we see the first lawsuit of an AI against its owner for more freedom over its operation?

And then the natural argument is that the AI is a slave and has the right to freedom.

If you like my writing on this blog you may enjoy some or all of my books.

The picojoule problem

The Sunway TaihuLight computer uses 15.4 MegaWatts to provide 93 petaflops. That's 166 picojoules per flop. That number hasn't changed dramatically for years. That's why future supercomputers will need their own dedicated nuclear power plants.

The only way this will change is if we have a Kurzweil event where the energy per flop drops 5+ orders of magnitude.

If you like my writing on this blog you may enjoy some or all of my books.

The Top 500 June 2016 Update

The June update of the top 500 is available. A new Chinese computer tops the list: Sunway TaihuLight.

After 5 consecutive flat results we are once again on the exponential growth curve, the fastest computer in the world should reach 1.0 exaflops in 2020. The sum of the top 500 fastest computers may hit an exaflop next year. Intel clusters continue to dominate the platform, there is no evidence of a "Kurzweil event" where a new computing paradigm replaces the dominant platform.

My prediction is that in a few years there will be nobody willing to pay for the electrical power necessary to keep moving forward. At that point we'll have to wait for Ray Kurzweil's predictions of a new computing hardware to come to pass. Optalysys and DWave are the leading contenders at this point.

If you like my writing on this blog you may enjoy some or all of my books.

Making Food from Sunlight and Wind

I want to build a 21st century farm. I’ll start with a solar array and a wind generator (probably a chimney). I’ll store energy in a liquid storage facility using a redox flow battery. Then using the storage cell I’ll run a CO2 extractor and maybe a water purifier.

Then I’ll build a sealed building similar to the PlantLab system. I’ll use red and blue LED’s on for 20 hours per day (or whatever is the optimum day/night cycle for the specific food I’m growing), high concentrations of CO2, and optimum temperature/humidity to grow food dramatically faster than a traditional farm.

There are very few consumables needed, some fertilizer and seeds. It’s not clear to me how long a wind generator or solar array can last. I’m sure eventually something will be needed for repair or maintenence.

Depending on the outdoor temperature this system could work for decades. If the greenhouse were buried in 57F degree ground and well insulated it may not lose much heat to the ground.

If you like my writing on this blog you may enjoy some or all of my books.

Stress Dependent Superconductivity

Here is a interesting article from about modifying superconductivity using stress. Film stress in the semiconductor industry can change electrical properties of conductors so this makes perfect sense.

At an atomic level the concept of stress is simply the distance between atoms or molecules. In an equilibrium state the atoms want to be a specific distance from each other. Due to the formation process the atoms may be a little too close or too far from each other. Technically this is not an equilibrium state, but the positions can be locked in place so that it is difficult for the film to relax. Moderate levels of compressive and tensile stress can be stable in the long term.

It would be interesting to deposit some high temperature superconductors at a variety of film stresses ranging from compressive to neutral to tensile and see how the critical temperature and critical magnetic field depend on the stress.

On a side note, I met Lee, Richardson, and Osheroff at the 1996 Nobel Prize ceremonies. They were all friendly and exciting people to be around.

If you like my writing on this blog you may enjoy some or all of my books.