August 2nd,2013 is an exciting day for Toyhouse. I felt that many things are slowly getting into shape, and our process is starting to become a part of our culture.
At the end of the day, we all went to sing Karaoke. I was surprised to learn that many of our key members are pretty good singers. I had to leave a bit earlier, but I can sense that the whole group is in the right mood. Maybe we should do this kind of thing more.
Another reason to be excited, is that we have a more concise story to connect many seemingly disconnected threads. For example, what is the connection between Fibonacci Series and Chinese WuXing, and BaGua system. Why is the developmental stages of plants and animals relate to the Chinese ancient way of thinking? By now, we have a coherent structure already.
I want to specifically list a few things that we learned from Prof. Ray Dougherty. These are directly useful in our ongoing practice.
0. What is the connection between Turing Computation and Chinese Symbol System (Wu Xing and Ba Gua)?
Ray: Numbers in Turing Computation do not only represent quantities, they are a set of names. These names can be used to represent any system, and computation is simply a mapping mechanism between one set of symbols to another. There is a subtle or profound difference between calculation and computation. Where calculation is a very narrow minded set of computational task, dealing primarily with numbers and relationships between quantitative concepts. In contrast, Computation is a more general set of ideas, covering calculation, but more specifically a generalizable translation mechanism between symbolic domains.
Ben: From here, we may infer that Chinese Symbol Systems, say Wu Xing, Ba Gua, and others can be thought of as domains of symbolic systems. When using them, there are some simple rules to relate these symbols within the same domain, or these names are semantically related to objects in the real world or human experience. These words or symbol systems, can follow well-prescribed rules to translate these signage to a wide range of predicted outcomes. It can also be used as a mental structure to index a wide range of ideas or objects. It is a view of the universe, that lead Chinese people, or people who speak Chinese to manage knowledge of all kinds. One may say, these symbols serve as the meta-language of Chinese Culture.
1. What is the goal of eXtreme Learning Process?
Answer by Ray: To organize thoughts for a team of people, so that they can collaboratively develop a product, that is relevant to the society.
2. What is a proper name for our organization?
Ray: Cognitive Extreme Learning Lab (CELL), this is because we are performing cognitive experiments, practicing XLP, and practicing Learning by Doing experiments like Dewey had championed in the past.
3. How do we brand our research?
Ray: Tree Space, or Tree World, as in Abstract Syntax Tree. This will relate our studies to what Norm Chomsky's work. We are always parsing information to a tree, and generating sentences from this tree.
4. What is the relevance of animal cognition and "strategic research" programs?
Ray: There are many people wondering how a fly can land on the edge of a piece of paper. That means, if one may decipher the control mechanism of a fly, we might be able to build something that have this level of sophisticated capabilities.
Clearly, Ray also said many interesting things. We will incrementally transcribe that and make it available for everyone.