Sunday, November 07, 2004

Bodily Physics

Need to solve pdes in real-time with incomplete knowledge of initial conditions to achieve stable control of a dynamical system with much more than 10^23 degrees of freedom? No sweat. Simply plug in a human. Just look at gymnasts and ice-skaters. Even insects like bees and dragonflies can do stunts that put fighter pilots to shame and leave the military technologists dreaming (and drooling). So the body is incredibly good at doing physics right? My opinion is no. Why, you ask? Because physics is not just about solving pdes. I mean, sure, it's great to be able to solve problems that will have supercomputers chugging away for days, but that's just computational power. But hold it! Isn't physics computation? Or just computation that is physics? Well, computation is an inherently physical process since computers must obey the laws of physics. But if physics is computation, then it definitely isn't deterministic. Because physics isn't. There are no right answers - sometimes it comes up with A, but it could just as well come up with B. Yes, it appears that [insert your favourite God here] plays dice. On a metaphysical note, maybe that's why the world starts going to hell when people try to look for easy answers. Oh wait, I almost forgot, some people don't believe in reality anyway. Just look below.


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