Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Clockwork Universe - Certainty, Repeatability,Chaos and GSoC

Whenever someone says that something is random, I always ask - sampling which distribution ? This is faced with stares of ridicule because people always come to hasty generalisations about the randomness of inidividual events without studying the whole system. The above statement is a generalisation on my part and I should spend more time socialising, rather than blog writing.

In nature every individual is random/unique, yet patterns repeat since all the individuals are part of the same distribution. After the development of Newtonian/classical mechanics clockwork universe ideas were rampant, till Poincare pointed out that we cannot actually predict how the clock functions, since our knowledge of the fundamental parameters forming its machinery, namely e and π is uncertain, as is the knowledge of the exact position of the hands of the said clock.

Small uncertainities in the knowledge of initial conditions also rapidly devolve into large uncertainities in the knowledge of the evolved condition, while staying in scope of a larger pattern. All this musing was brought about while watching Hugo.

Some systems are however easier to predict in a short term. It is time again for the annual Google Summer of Code. I have signed up with Osgeo to be a mentor, mostly for Ossim and Opticks. If some other Image processing or raster serving based project pops up I will see how I can fit it in. Till then it remains to be seen whether last year's wonderful GSoC experience repeats itself this leap year (and supposedly the universe ending year too).

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