Modeling Reality: How Computers Mirror Life by Iwo Bialynicki-Birula

By Iwo Bialynicki-Birula

The bookModeling truth covers quite a lot of attention-grabbing topics, obtainable to someone who desires to know about using laptop modeling to unravel a various variety of difficulties, yet who doesn't own a really good education in arithmetic or computing device technological know-how. the fabric provided is pitched on the point of high-school graduates, although it covers a few complicated subject matters (cellular automata, Shannon's degree of data, deterministic chaos, fractals, online game conception, neural networks, genetic algorithms, and Turing machines). those complicated themes are defined by way of popular uncomplicated recommendations: mobile automata - online game of lifestyles, Shannon's formulation - video game of twenty questions, video game idea - tv quiz, and so on. The ebook is exclusive in explaining in an easy, but whole, type many vital rules, on the topic of numerous types of truth and their purposes. Twenty-five courses, written particularly for this booklet, are supplied on an accompanying CD. They tremendously improve its pedagogical worth and make studying of even the extra complicated issues an stress-free excitement.

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Yes. —Does it come from a book? —Yes. —Is the book a children’s book? —Yes. —Was the book written later than 1960? —No. —Is it Lassie? —Yes. We see in this example how one of the players was able to start from complete ignorance about the sought object and then successfully identify it, by asking only ten elementary questions and thus receiving exactly ten bits of information. We will show that the measure of information contained within a word— the Shannon formula—is simply equal to the number of questions one needs to ask in order to guess this word.

In general, when going from N to N k , we decrease the length by a factor of k (or slightly less). Or, to put it differently, by increasing the size of the alphabet from N to M, we reduce the length of the words by a factor of logN (M). This is confirmed by our example above. We could now repeat all of the arguments that led us to the Shannon formula, but this time taking an alphabet with N characters. The resulting formula for the information content (let us denote it by HN ) would be to the same form as before, except that the logarithm would be to the base N instead of the base 2.

Of course, a fair amount of fluctuations can be noted, especially for longer blocks, since they occur less frequently and thus the number of their occurrences has a smaller chance of being averaged out. It was Alphonse Chapanis who first described the human erroneous intuition about randomness in his 1953 paper published in the American Psychologist entitled ‘Random-number guessing behavior’. He asked the subjects of his experiments to write long random sequences of decimal digits and observed that most people tend to avoid repeating the same digit three times in a row, even though such triplets occur relatively often in truly random sequences.

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