A New Kind of Science (英語) ハードカバー – 2002/5/14
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ウルフラムは、科学における一連の基本問題── 熱力学の第二法則、生物の複雑な発達、数学の計算上の限界、物理学の基本的な理論の可能性、自由意志論と決定論の相互作用など── をひとつひとつ取り上げるというアプローチをとっている。
Challenging the traditional mathematical model of scientific description, a scientist proposes a new dynamic computational approach that utilizes simple codes to generate patterns of ultimate complexity.商品の説明をすべて表示する
Wolframは、今ではMathematicaの開発者として知られているが、高校生の時から素粒子論の論文を書き、セル・オートマトンの分類を成し遂げたりなど、早くから天才として著名である。彼は、セル・オートマトンが単純な規則から複雑な構造を作り出して行く（進化に興味のある人はDawkinsのBlind Wathcmakerを思い出すだろう）の惹かれて、宇宙を作っている原理は規則と情報であるという独特の世界観にたどり着いたようだ。もちろん本書のタイトルがNew Kind...であることから分かるように正統的な考え方からははずれている。おそらくこれから、いろいろな分野の人たちによって議論されるだろう。
Amazon.com で最も参考になったカスタマーレビュー (beta)
So where does Wolfram stand on this continuum? He's clearly brilliant, as evidenced by his citation index numbers (over 30,000!) and his Mathematica has revolutionized mathematical computation. He's also contributed major papers to the field of cellular automata and complexity theory. He spent a decade working on A New Science, and his argument that the underlying nature of reality is expressed not in physical laws, but in programs.
So is Wolfram right? Is there, contained within the multitude of patterns and algorithms in this book, a new insight into the nature of reality? Frankly, I'm nowhere near a good enough mathematician to evaluate his work, or to compare it to the work of others in the CA field. This book may in fact contain hidden within it the secrets to the underlying reality of the universe, or it may be, as another reviewer wittily put it, "an undergraduate project gone haywire." We may have to wait another decade to know. Until we do, the prospective reader is probably better served by the variety of inexpensive programs that are now available to explore CA than to slog through 1,280 pages of finely-printed diagrams.
Nevertheless, I am writing here to let you know about the best review I know of this book, which was made by Steven Weinberg (Nobel laureate in Physics) in his article "Is the Universe a Computer?" published in one October 2002 issue of the New York Review of Books (that you can google). I have selected some pearls from Weinberg's fantastic article:
- "Wolfram stakes his claim in the first few lines of the book: “Three centuries ago science was transformed by the dramatic new idea that rules based on mathematical equations could be used to describe the natural world. My purpose in this book is to initiate another such transformation….” "I don’t think that his book comes close to meeting his goals or justifying his claims, but if it is a failure it is an interesting one."
- "There is not one real-world complex phenomenon that has been convincingly explained by Wolfram’s computer experiments."
- "After looking at hundreds of Wolfram’s pictures, I felt like the coal miner in one of the comic sketches in Beyond the Fringe, who finds the conversation down in the mines unsatisfying: “It’s always just ‘Hallo, ‘ere’s a lump of coal." "
- "Particle physicists like to say that the theory of complexity is the most exciting new thing in science, except that it has the one disadvantage of not existing"
- "If Wolfram can give a precise statement of his conjecture about the computational equivalence of almost all automata that produce complex patterns and prove that it is true, then he will have found a simple common feature of complexity, which would be of real interest."
- "The trouble with Wolfram’s conjecture is not only that it has not been proved—a deeper trouble is that it has not even been stated in a form that could be proved. What does Wolfram mean by complex?"
Many of the comments of the critiques are true
The ego is there, he admits it, it is little disconcerting but being the history of a certain amount of Hubris myself in my time (and definitely less deserving than Wolfram) I can forgive that.
I am not expert enough to refute some of the more dogmatic claim of plagiarism etc
But the main thesis do find intriguing and thought provoking. If I have read these concepts elsewhere, they were not as clear illustrated and explained as they are in this book
The main idea that Simple computational rules can generate complex, random-looking behavior deterministically is intriguing to me. It cuts to the core of my intuition and teaching as a Statistician. It making me think and consider different interpretations of what I might be seeing. As a work of philosophy this is an awesome achievement. As a work of science I don’t think it’s there yet but I think this does raise some genuine and surprising possibilities.
The Book is an awesome value with high production values. It cannot be attacked all at once. It needs to be revisited many times. He covers a lot of ground – you don’t have to cover it all with him. Find your interest and I think wolfram will provide you with a new perspective on it
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