Cognitive Science and Philosophy of Embodied Cognition. Promotes Embodied Cognition concepts and technology in art, education, work and research. The HCI technology is focused on Computer Music and Programming. Also promotes 'neurodiversity' and proposes technologies and strategies to foster very different ways of thinking. Content on pg 2 is focused on interfaces and programmatic music while pg 1 focuses on the conceptual foundations. (2012-present)
Probabilistic programming does in 50 lines of code what used to take thousands.
Colbert Sesanker's insight:
“When you think about probabilistic programs, you think very intuitively when you’re modeling,” Kulkarni says. “You don’t think mathematically. It’s a very different style of modeling.”
In the paper they keep mentioning how 'probabilistic code is more general' than parametric density functions". Gradients of this code are possible through automatic differentiation.. In general , these computational primitives (e.g., probabilistic code) can be operated on using source code transformation (treating code as data).
The power and 'generality' of probabilistic programming comes from moving a step into the more general notion of computation. Actually, its more of a realization that there was never any reason to constrain oneself to closed forms. It's pretty clear that it's just a watered down version of NKS.
During the last decades, several formal models have been proposed to formalize musical applications, to solve musical and improvisation problems, and to prove properties in music. In this paper, we briefly describe some of those formal models (computational calculi). We provide a description of some applications of these formalisms, and discuss some considerations about each calculus mentioned here remarking strengths and weaknesses.
Sam Aaron, and Postdoc Researcher at the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory, will be discussing the idea of programming as performance, examining the importance of emphasising, exploring and celebrating creativity within all aspects of the skillset.
Sam Aaron is a live coder who considers programming as performance and strongly believes in the importance of emphasising, exploring and celebrating creativity within all aspects of programming.
Sam believes that a programming environment which has sufficient liveness, rapid feedback and tolerance of failure to support the live performance of music is an environment ripe for mining novel ideas that will not only benefit artistic practices themselves but also the computer industry more generally.
In pursuit of this unique perspective Sam is the lead developer of Overtone and Quil, powerful live coding platforms for music and visuals. Sam is also the creator of Sonic Pi, a music live coding environment used to teach programming within schools.
By day Sam is a Postdoc Researcher at the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory and by night he codes music for people to dance to.
Colbert Sesanker's insight:
Programmatic Literacy in a digital ecosystem is an important idea
Japan is one of the most high tech nations in the world, yet even so a million Japanese children a year learn to calculate using a mechanical, pocket-sized contraption that has been around for millennia.
The abacus, which the Japanese call soroban, is an ancient device made up of parallel rods, each containing five beads each.
Once mastered, it enables you to add, multiply, subtract and divide much faster than you can with a paper and pencil – and often almost as quickly as an electronic calculator, as the clip below shows.
(It's pretty impressive. The girl is adding five numbers, each between a billion and ten trillion, as fast as the numbers are read out.)
PROOFS are the currency of mathematics, but Srinivasa Ramanujan, one of the all-time great mathematicians, often managed to skip them. Now a proof has been found for a connection that he seemed to mysteriously intuit between two types of mathematical function.
The proof deepens the intrigue surrounding the workings of Ramanujan’s enigmatic mind. It may also help physicists learn more about black holes – even though these objects were virtually unknown during the Indian mathematician’s lifetime.
Born in 1887 in Erode, Tamil Nadu, Ramanujan was self-taught and worked in almost complete isolation from the mathematical community of his time. Described as a raw genius, he independently rediscovered many existing results, as well as making his own unique contributions, believing his inspiration came from the Hindu goddess Namagiri. But he is also known for his unusual style, often leaping from insight to insight without formally proving the logical steps in between.
Daniel Tammet has linguistic, numerical and visual synesthesia -- meaning that his perception of words, numbers and colors are woven together into a new way of perceiving and understanding the world. The author of "Born on a Blue Day," Tammet shares his art and his passion for languages in this glimpse into his beautiful mind.
Colbert Sesanker's insight:
His book, "Born on a Blue Day", does little to reveal what's going on in his mind. This is an important point. It may very well be impossible to communicate, and that's OK. There's no need to coarse grain and limit the beauty of different minds by forcing the *process* to be explicit and something we can get on paper. We just need disembodied systems to prove correctness. Black box the process, the function internals (like a simple program) and just match the input to outputs. Generalize Cognition. What should be explicit is the calculus that takes the process as an atom.
"Why, now, soroban? The soroban master who has taught to schoolchildren for almost 40 years, talks about the significance of consciously training with the old-style calculation tool in the age of the ubiquitous computer"
A pioneer in research on play, Dr. Stuart Brown says humor, games, roughhousing, flirtation and fantasy are more than just fun. Plenty of play in childhood makes for happy, smart adults -- and keeping it up can make us smarter at any age.
Insights into play and the role of embodied cognition in learning. His conception of post-symbolic language is very similar to my own concept of the 'concrete pattern' (the primitives for concrete patterns are concrete abstractions, the concreteness from treating the abstraction as concrete). Overall awesome talk.
The term "programming language" is often used to describe the medium we use to build software. However, to what extent can we also consider programming languages as interfaces in their own right? Are they sufficiently expressive, interactive and dynamic to, say, control a musical instrument? What if the programming language was the musical instrument? How might that challenge our perception of programming language and tools in general. For example, what happens when we consider the act of programming as a performance? What might a music programming environment which has sufficient liveness, rapid feedback and tolerance of failure look like? What benefits would such a style of programming offer business? Could live coding be beneficial for rapid prototyping, exploring big data sets, and even communicating formal business ideas? Weaving Immutable Data Structures into Ephemeral Sounds - Conference Party
Armed with laptops, monomes and number of simple MIDI Kontrollers, we harness the full power of the SuperCollider synthesis engine through the incredible Overtone platform. We don't just use our laptops to tweak GUI sliders and pots, we write raw Clojure code into Emacs live in our performances. We also generate real-time visualisations perfectly synchronised to the sound with Quil and Shadertone. All the code for our sets is open source and available for you to play with: Meta-eX Ignite.
Live Hacking allows us to generate music on-the-fly enabling us to change the direction of the sound and respond to our environment at a whim. Our sounds aren't pre-recorded and tweaked on-stage, they're coded and generated live in real time. We produce a real raw noise rather than manufactured industry-polished pseudo-perfection. Our sound isn't hardcore, breakcore or speedcore - it's multi-core and fully hyper-threaded.
Colbert Sesanker's insight:
programming as expression! give someone a programming language, not a User interface!
Look at 16:45 and consider the implications of "Advanced Chess"'s superiority to the best human and the best computer
For nearly a decade, Voevodsky has been advocating the virtues of computer proof assistants and developing univalent foundations in order to bring the languages of mathematics and computer programming closer together. As he sees it, the move to computer formalization is necessary because some branches of mathematics have become too abstract to be reliably checked by people.
“The world of mathematics is becoming very large, the complexity of mathematics is becoming very high, and there is a danger of an accumulation of mistakes,” Voevodsky said. Proofs rely on other proofs; if one contains a flaw, all others that rely on it will share the error.
This is something Voevodsky has learned through personal experience. In 1999 he discovered an error in a paper he had written seven years earlier. Voevodsky eventually found a way to salvage the result, but in an article last summer in the IAS newsletter, he wrote that the experience scared him. He began to worry that unless he formalized his work on the computer, he wouldn’t have complete confidence that it was correct.
But taking that step required him to rethink the very basics of mathematics. The accepted foundation of mathematics is set theory. Like any foundational system, set theory provides a collection of basic concepts and rules, which can be used to construct the rest of mathematics. Set theory has sufficed as a foundation for more than a century, but it can’t readily be translated into a form that computers can use to check proofs. So with his decision to start formalizing mathematics on the computer, Voevodsky set in motion a process of discovery that ultimately led to something far more ambitious: a recasting of the underpinnings of mathematics.
Colbert Sesanker's insight:
play around with code in a embodied way and leave it to our digital comrades to prove correctness. they're better at it anyway. If it runs and the types check out it's correct!!
"Psychologist Michael Frank enters the world of high-speed mental math and finds that "Mental Abacus" users can calculate without using verbal working memory."
"Michael Frank, assistant professor of psychology, is now studying whether children who learn 'Mental Abacus' at a young age experience any benefits to their mathematical or cognitive abilities. The Mental Calculation World Cup is a brutal contest, and one that threatens to fry the neurons of the unprepared. Over the course of a competition, contestants might be asked to add a string of 10 different 10-digit numbers, multiply 18,467,941 by 73,465,135, find the square root of 530,179 and determine which day of the week corresponds to Aug. 12, 1721 – all without writing anything down.
The speed with which the winners complete these tasks is remarkable. The World Cup record for finding the square roots of 10 six-digit numbers, for instance, is six minutes and 51 seconds. Even more remarkably, the holder of that record is 11 years old.
Priyanshi Somani, the tween-age reigning Mental Calculation World Champion in question, uses a method called "Mental Abacus." It's an increasingly popular teaching tool, particularly in India. And, according to a paper published online last week in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, it may represent one of the first known examples of non-language-based mental calculation. Michael Frank, an assistant professor of psychology at Stanford, is co-author of the paper, with David Barner, assistant professor of psychology at the University of California-San Diego."
A groundbreaking book that upends conventional thinking about autism and suggests a broader model for acceptance, understanding, and full participation in society for people who think differently.
What is autism? A lifelong disability, or a naturally occurring form of cognitive difference akin to certain forms of genius? In truth, it is all of these things and more—and the future of our society depends on our understanding it. WIRED reporter Steve Silberman unearths the secret history of autism, long suppressed by the same clinicians who became famous for discovering it, and finds surprising answers to the crucial question of why the number of diagnoses has soared in recent years.
Going back to the earliest days of autism research and chronicling the brave and lonely journey of autistic people and their families through the decades, Silberman provides long-sought solutions to the autism puzzle, while mapping out a path for our society toward a more humane world in which people with learning differences and those who love them have access to the resources they need to live happier, healthier, more secure, and more meaningful lives.
"From a leading expert, a groundbreaking book on the science of play, and its essential role in fueling our happiness and intelligence throughout our lives
We've all seen the happiness on the face of a child while playing in the school yard. Or the blissful abandon of a golden retriever racing across a lawn. This is the joy of play. By definition, play is purposeless, all-consuming, and fun. But as Dr. Stuart Brown illustrates, play is anything but trivial. It is a biological drive as integral to our health as sleep or nutrition. We are designed by nature to flourish through play.
Dr. Brown has spent his career studying animal behavior and conducting more than six-thousand "play histories" of humans from all walks of life-from serial murderers to Nobel Prize winners. Backed by the latest research, Play(20,000 copies in print) explains why play is essential to our social skills, adaptability, intelligence, creativity, ability to problem solve and more. Particularly in tough times, we need to play more than ever, as it's the very means by which we prepare for the unexpected, search out new solutions, and remain optimistic. A fascinating blend of cutting-edge neuroscience, biology, psychology, social science, and inspiring human stories of the transformative power of play, this book proves why play just might be the most important work we can ever do."
Colbert Sesanker's insight:
The sections describing the physiology of play have a lot of overlap with Vandervert's theories. Special attention given to the cerebellum's role of coordinating and integrating activity across the entire brain.
"To get at the details of the subtle effects of deliberate practice, Hesheng Liu1 and I recently proposed a thoroughgoing neurophysiological explanation of the child prodigy (Vandervert & Liu, in press). Our explanation is based upon the collaboration of working memory and cognitive functions of the cerebellum (Ito, 1997, 2005; Vandervert, 2003a, b; Vandervert et al., 2007). In our approach all repetitive working memory processes taking place in the cerebral cortex (e.g., in deliberate practice) are adaptively modeled in the cerebellum (see Ito, 1997, 2005; Chein et al., 2003; Vandervert et al., 2007). When the resulting cerebellar control models are fed back to working memory areas of the cortex, the thought processes of working memory become faster, higher in attentional control, and more appropriately and optimally timed (Akshoomoff et al., 1997; Ito, 1997, 2005; Ivry, 1997).
The above newer role of the ‘cognitive cerebellum’ (see Schmahmann, 1997; Ramnani, 2006) offers needed detailed support for Ericsson et al.’s proposal. In addition to the cerebellum constructing adaptive models of mental activity occurring in working memory, it has been convincingly argued that the cerebellum does this in the form of multi-pairs of models that constitute complex modular architectures for mental processes that when fed to working memory functions in the cerebral cortex act to facilitate the development of new, higher levels of performance (Haruno et al., 1999; Wolpert et al., 2003)."
Leading neuroscientist Dr. Masao Ito advances a detailed and fascinating view of what the cerebellum contributes to brain function. The cerebellum has been seen as primarily involved in coordination of body movement control, facilitating the learning of motor skills such as those involved in walking, riding a bicycle, or playing a piano. The cerebellum is now viewed as an assembly of numerous neuronal machine modules, each of which provides an implicit learning capability to various types of motor control. The cerebellum enables us to unconsciously learn motor skills through practice by forming internal models simulating control system properties of the body parts.
Based on these remarkable advances in our understanding of motor control mechanisms of the cerebellum, Ito presents a still larger view of the cerebellum as serving a higher level of brain functions beyond movements, including the implicit part of the thought and cognitive processes that manipulate knowledge. Ito extends his investigation of the cerebellum to discuss neural processes that may be involved implicitly in such complex mental actions as having an intuition, imagination, hallucination, or delusion.
Colbert Sesanker's insight:
Ito's work on the contribution of the cerebellum to cognition gets us one step closer to understanding what it means to think
"When historian Charles Weiner found pages of Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman's notes, he saw it as a "record" of Feynman's work. Feynman himself, however, insisted that the notes were not a record but the work itself. In Supersizing the Mind, Andy Clark argues that our thinking doesn't happen only in our heads but that "certain forms of human cognizing include inextricable tangles of feedback, feed-forward and feed-around loops: loops that promiscuously criss-cross the boundaries of brain, body and world." The pen and paper of Feynman's thought are just such feedback loops, physical machinery that shape the flow of thought and enlarge the boundaries of mind. Drawing upon recent work in psychology, linguistics, neuroscience, artificial intelligence, robotics, human-computer systems, and beyond, Supersizing the Mind offers both a tour of the emerging cognitive landscape and a sustained argument in favor of a conception of mind that is extended rather than "brain-bound." The importance of this new perspective is profound. If our minds themselves can include aspects of our social and physical environments, then the kinds of social and physical environments we create can reconfigure our minds and our capacity for thought and reason."
Colbert Sesanker's insight:
we extend out into our interfaces through a process of feedback
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