Elementary Study of Symmetry Online Workshop, No Math Background Needed

Symmetry workshop poster

If you don’t know who Fadereu is, I’m not sure I can explain him quickly or accurately. For simplicity sake, he’s an Indian artist and mathematician – and he’s running an online workshop of the study of symmetry:

he KNK101 workshop introduces the elementary study of symmetry ( known as ‘group theory’) to an audience with no background in mathematics. This field of mathematics has very little to do with numbers, instead – it studies transformation and movement of abstract structures. The applications of group theory range from simple permutation puzzles and military or monetary cryptography to particle physics and general relativity, making it the central conceptual framework of our age.

The workshop is spread over 6 weeks ( or three fortnights ) and the details for registration are here. [ tldr: just drop me a mail at fadebox/gmail. The fee is $50 (international) and the equivalent Rs 2400 for India. Please hurry!]

Fadereu: KNK101 Workshop (Feb15-Mar30, 2011): The Complete Syllabus

Predicting the Future with Twitter

predicting the future with the news

The New York Times reports:

The number-crunchers on Wall Street are starting to crunch something else: the news.

Math-loving traders are using powerful computers to speed-read news reports, editorials, company Web sites, blog posts and even Twitter messages — and then letting the machines decide what it all means for the markets.

The development goes far beyond standard digital fare like most-read and e-mailed lists. In some cases, the computers are actually parsing writers’ words, sentence structure, even the odd emoticon. A wink and a smile — 😉 — for instance, just might mean things are looking up for the markets. Then, often without human intervention, the programs are interpreting that news and trading on it.

New York Times: Computers That Trade on the News

And Bloomberg reports:

Derwent Capital Markets, a family- owned hedge fund, will offer investors the chance to use Twitter Inc. posts to gauge the mood of the stockmarket, said co-owner Paul Hawtin.

The Derwent Absolute Return Fund Ltd., set to start trading in February with an initial 25 million pounds ($39 million) under management, will follow posts on the social-networking website. A trading model will highlight when the number of times words on Twitter such as “calm” rise above or below average.

Bloomberg: Hedge Fund Will Track Twitter to Predict Stock Moves

See also:

Sentiment analysis

Technical analysis

Trippy 3D Fractal Video

Mandelbox Zoom from hömpörg? on Vimeo.

(via Dose Nation)

The video was made with Mandelbulb 3D. For more 3D fractal images created with Mandelbulb 3D, see here.

Game of Life in HTML5

Here’s a Game of Life app made in HTML5.

(via Kottke)

First Replicating “Creature” Created in Game of Life

A first for the game, the replicator demonstrates how astounding complexity can arise from simple beginnings and processes – an echo of life’s origins, perhaps. It might help us understand how life on Earth began, or even inspire strategies to build tiny computers.

The Game of Life is the best-known example of a cellular automaton, in which patterns form and evolve on a grid according to a few simple rules. You play the game by choosing an initial pattern of “live” cells, and then watch as the configuration changes over many generations as the rules are applied over and over again (see “Take two simple rules”).

The rules of the game were laid down by mathematician John Conway in 1970, but cellular automata first took off in the 1940s when the late mathematician John von Neumann suggested using them to demonstrate self-replication in nature. This lent philosophical undertones to Life, which ended up attracting a cult following.

Life enthusiasts have since catalogued an entire zoo of interesting patterns, such as “spaceships” that travel across the grid, or “guns”, which constantly spawn other patterns. But a pattern that spawned an identical copy of itself proved elusive.

New Scientist:

(Thanks socialfiction)

Scientists Reach Milestone On Way To Artificial Life

yeast cells

Scientists are reporting that they have made a living cell from DNA that was originally synthesized in a lab. This isn’t quite a synthetic organism. But the result is an important, and some would say troubling, step on the road to creating life in the lab.

Craig Venter is the scientist behind the effort. Many scientists have strong opinions about Venter, but even his detractors will admit he’s a man who thinks big.

Venter and his team have been working to create a synthetic cell since 1995. The idea is to use the four chemical constituents of DNA — named A, T, C and G — to put together a synthetic genome. Then they would put that synthetic genome into a cell, and have it direct the cell as it grew and multiplied. Now they’ve succeeded.

NPR: Scientists Reach Milestone On Way To Artificial Life

The Totalitarian Buddhist Who Beat Sim City

Vincent Ocasla claims to have “beaten” SimCity by creating an amazing city with population of 6 million and no roads (only subways) that lasts for 50,000 years.

I’ve a quote from one of your Facebook status updates here: “The economic slave never realizes he is kept in a cage going round and round basically nowhere with millions of others.” Do you not feel that sums up the lives of the citizens of Magnasanti? (And you might want to set your Facebook to private by the way.)

Precisely that. Technically, no one is leaving or coming into the city. Population growth is stagnant. Sims don’t need to travel long distances, because their workplace is just within walking distance. In fact they do not even need to leave their own block. Wherever they go it’s like going to the same place.


There are a lot of other problems in the city hidden under the illusion of order and greatness: Suffocating air pollution, high unemployment, no fire stations, schools, or hospitals, a regimented lifestyle – this is the price that these sims pay for living in the city with the highest population. It’s a sick and twisted goal to strive towards. The ironic thing about it is the sims in Magnasanti tolerate it. They don’t rebel, or cause revolutions and social chaos. No one considers challenging the system by physical means since a hyper-efficient police state keeps them in line. They have all been successfully dumbed down, sickened with poor health, enslaved and mind-controlled just enough to keep this system going for thousands of years. 50,000 years to be exact. They are all imprisoned in space and time.

Viceland Games: The Totalitarian Buddhist Who Beat Sim City

Vincent Ocasla’s site

Ocasla was inspired in part by the Kowloon Walled City

Cellular automata based psychedelic animation generator

cellular automata

A cellular automata based pychedelic animation generator

(via Wade)

Evolutionary, algorithmic & generative design round-up

Michael Piasecki's Cellular Bowl

Shapeways has a round-up of evolutionary, algorithmic & generative design projects, including the “cellular bowl” above, designed with Processing.

The marriage of tech and design is all around us. In a world where everything is designed a meta “way to design” that algorithmically cuts through the clutter is very appealing. A perfect design algorithm could potentially engender choice in design the same way that Google’s PageRank set of algorithms do for the web. And this is what generative design already partially does. It simplifies design by codifying it and somewhere within lies the promise of “true”, “simple” & “beautiful” design.

With technologies such as 3D printing letting everyone design or co-design things there is also a real need for generative tools. They allow for unique designs but since each is machine made, the marriage is a conceptually comfortable and inexpensive one. Also, rather than forcing the customer into a “blank canvas conundrum” whereby the sheer possibility overwhelms them to the point inactivity, generated models could lead to choice or guided choice in design.

Shapeways: Dasign: data driven, evolutionary, algorithmic & generative design

(via Bruce Sterling)

AttractiveCity – an interactive City generator

AttractiveCity – an interactive City generator from steffiX_stefanieSixt on Vimeo.

(via Bruce Sterling)

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