Monday, January 28, 2013

MoAR: a few applied gems, and a teaser.

last week was busy, for a number of reasons, all of which involved humans:
meeting up with friends,
colleagues (new and old) coming to visit,
even an ex-girlfriend showing up to town.
so i felt very managerial for most of the week, and as a result, got very little done. every time i was intent on finishing up a $\LaTeX$ writeup, there seemed to be another meeting or appointment to take.

that said, this week's roundup is pretty bare. there are only 3 articles instead of a maximum of 5, and i've made no comments about them. then again, the summaries seem to speak for themselves ..

a hidden biological invariant?

"Life is short for small creatures, longer in big ones. So algae die sooner than oak trees; elephants live longer than mayflies, but you know that. Here's the surprise: There is a mathematical formula which says if you tell me how big something is, I can tell you — with some variation, but not a lot — how long it will live. This doesn't apply to individuals, only to groups, to species. The formula is a simple quarter-power exercise: You take the mass of a plant or an animal, and its metabolic rate is equal to its mass taken to the three-fourths power."

algorithm as flow.

"You are watching an optimisation algorithm come up with the best design completely automatically.The outcome is greatest stiffness shape possible for a given amount of material. And amazingly it’s a nuanced truss that isn’t far removed from the look of most motorway bridges. That’s pretty reassuring, actually.

The engineering-y name for this process is ‘topology optimisation’ - essentially making the best use of shape for structures. It’s been the aim of structural engineers since their existence and evolutionary algorithms are a modern development to help this.

a teaser, for a forthcoming lecture series.

"Markov was abrasive, confrontational, and iconoclastic, “Andrew the Furious,” one contemporary called him. "
~ from "an idea that changed the world" @news/harvard

No comments: