Escaping the Path

There’s a lovely forest near my house. It’s a wonderful place that looks exceptional in the autumn, where the fallen leaves of the trees cover the path in a flurry of orange, red, and yellow. I love running there because it’s so peaceful. Imagine that I told you I would show you this forest. After hearing me wax poetic about it, you’re excited to see it. We get to the forest, and I show you…

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Jeremy Cote 2019-01-13 15:21:54

When making work that’s important to you, it’s tempting to focus on improving your best work. After all, when you think of your work, that’s what first comes to mind. (You don’t think about the mediocre work.) Therefore, it makes sense to focus on that. By definition, this should be scarce. It’s not that you decide to sometimes do great work. Rather, it’s a simple consequence of looking at many pieces. Some will jump out…

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Cataloging a year of metamodeling blogging

Last Saturday, with just minutes to spare in the first calendar week of 2019, I shared a linkdex the ten (primarily) non-philosophical posts of 2018. It was focused on mathematical oncology and fitness landscapes. Now, as the second week runs into its final hour, it is time to start into the more philosophical content. Here are 18 posts from 2018 on metamodeling. With a nice number like 18, I feel obliged to divide them into…

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Give Yourself A Gift

A characteristic trait of students is that we tend to think in the short term. Our lives have natural milestones: semesters, midterms, due dates for assignments, final exams, and summer and winter breaks. These lead to students having a certain mindset with respect to time. For the most part, we think about our lives in terms of weeks and (maybe) months. For example, I’m writing this (not at the time of publication) in a week…

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Not The Usual Outreach

What is a science or mathematics education good for? One way to answer that question would be to say that teaching is a good use of such a degree. The idea makes sense, since a degree should give you a lot of knowledge in the subject. And, once you’ve gone through the challenges of completing the courses necessary for your degree, wouldn’t teaching the material be the next natural step? Another route is to do…

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Cataloging a year of blogging: cancer and fitness landscapes

Happy 2019! As we leave 2018, the Theory, Evolution, and Games Group Blog enters its 9th calendar year. This past year started out slowly with only 4 posts in the first 5 months. However, after May 31st, I managed to maintain a regular posting schedule. This is the 32nd calendar week in a row with at least one new blog post released. I am very happy about this regularity. Let’s see if I can maintain…

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Chasing The Carrot

When you want to form a new habit, how do you go about it? Do you purchase equipment in the hope that spending money will “force” you to stay consistent? Perhaps you try to stay accountable by enlisting the help of a friend. Maybe you announce a project publicly, to show that you’re serious, or sign up for a class on a subject you’re interested in. This can apply to many situations, from getting better…

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Discovering Mathematics

There are plenty of ways to enjoy mathematics. You can attend a classroom lecture, you can read a textbook, you can look at a news article, you can watch a video, or you could just play with some concepts yourself. There’s not one way in particular that is better than any other. Rather, each one has its own advantages and disadvantages. It depends what you’re looking to get out of your session. Despite this, I…

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Reductionism: to computer science from philosophy

A biologist and a mathematician walk together into their joint office to find the rubbish bin on top of the desk and on fire. The biologist rushes out, grabs a fire extinguisher, puts out the blaze, returns the bin to the floor and they both start their workday. The next day, the same pair return to their office to find the rubbish bin in its correct place on the floor but again on fire. This…

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Open-ended evolution on hard fitness landscapes from VCSPs

There is often interest among the public and in the media about evolution and its effects for contemporary humans. In this context, some argue that humans have stopped evolving, including persons who have a good degree of influence over the public opinion. Famous BBC Natural History Unit broadcaster David Attenborough, for example, argued a few years ago in an interview that humans are the only species who “put halt to natural selection of its own…

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