[e2e] [SPAM] Re: a means to an end

David P. Reed dpreed at reed.com
Thu Nov 13 09:41:12 PST 2008

Computation (measurement) doesn't necessarily have a single location 
either.   Your brain happily functions without a tiny homunculus that 
makes the final decision.   A computer can make a decision without 
representing the output of the decision in one place.  A flock of geese 
maneuvers (and hence makes decisions) without there ever being a 
"command goose".   And a slime mold "decides" to turn from slime to a 
stalk to a vermiform without a single decision maker.

Who said a "measurement" was unitary?   I think you need to debug your 
thinking apparatus.

Joe Touch wrote:
> Hash: SHA1
> David P. Reed wrote:
>> To your last question: this is relevant, because you asserted without
>> qualification or caveat that ALL information (except for odd things like
>> my majority example) *has a location*. 
> I didn't opt out of majorities having a location either.
> All information is based on a physical property (actual state vs.
> possible states), and physical entities have a location (which need not
> be a point). That information exists only in the abstract until it is
> determined (e.g., calculated, measured, etc.); that measurement itself
> has a location.
> ...
>>  Even in  trivial
>> case of an RSA encrypted 32-bit word of data, stored in a 32-bit
>> container, the "first bit" of data is not localized, but is smeared into
>> the whole word.
> I've already noted that location need not be a point. Note that an RSA
> encrypted word of data isn't smeared across all packets from all parties.
>> ...You can talk
>> about information that inherently has NO location, and doing so has
>> benefits to the designer and the design space he works in. (as is the
>> case with Van's work).
> See below...
>> In networking, it is worth thinking about this, because by abusing
>> yourself of the notion of information being in a location, you can make
>> better choices.   Just look at "network coding" as one example - Dina
>> Katabi and Crowcroft showed that in practice de-localizing information
>> has many advantages.  Or as a different example, consider the work of
>> Trachtenberg, Minsky and Zippel on distributed set reconciliation.  
>> Information flows between containers in a manner that is diffused in
>> space and time.   Or look at a hologram or FFT  - again information
>> loses locality, with many benefits.
> The state of a system that information represents has a location -
> again, not necessarily a point. However, that information isn't useful
> until it determined, which requires localization. Consider network
> coding - the information is spread among a finite set of packets, each
> with a specific location at a specific time -- it is NOT spread across
> all packets, or abstractly "across the network". Accessing the
> information means taking the distributed state and localizing the
> interpretation of that state - e.g., the packets of network coding
> aren't useful until they're recombined.
> ...
>> But in fact, it is not the case that in modern physics information needs
>> must have a location, either.  You can try to approximate "localized
>> information" in physics, but then you end up with laws that cannot
>> describe all possible experiments.  (In fact, the recent resolution of
>> some of the paradoxes of black-hole information has been possible
>> because Hawking admitted that information need not have a location - in
>> essence, though the math is subtler than that).
> Hawking's discussion focused on the loss of informatiuon, which - as I
> noted - requires diving into the Liouville Theorem, and considering the
> scope of the system in which conservation is determined - but we're not
> talking about conservation here.
> Joe
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