Monday, February 23, 2015

FOM seminar; Beach room, 3105 Tolman Hall, UC Berkeley 23 March 2015

FOM seminar; Beach room, 3105 Tolman Hall, UC Berkeley 23 March 2015

Please note that Menas' talk is here


2pm Menas Kafatos with respondents Wolfgang Baer and Karla M. Galdamez, Ph.d

   Extending Quantum Reality: Potential Framework Utilizing Generalized Principles
Menas C. Kafatos, Fletcher Jones Endowed Professor of Computational Physics, Chapman University, Orange, California, U.S.A.
Quantum theory opened the door to consciousness through observation, but it cannot account for consciousness. Specifically, the Orthodox quantum view as extended by von Neumann requires a fundamental role for conscious observation. However, this is still a dualistic approach, separating the observer from the response of the overall system to observational choices, the so-called “measurement problem”. Moreover, there is considerable disagreement on the meaning itself of “consciousness”.
We advocate an approach which is consistent with the findings of quantum mechanics and relativity but extends microphysics to mesoscale levels to include observers: Simply put, we cannot remove subjective experience from the practice of science and quantum mechanics in particular. Science presupposes sentient scientists. Ontological assumptions of a system of thought or the underlying metaphysics are always implicit but rarely discussed. 
Our ontological assumption is that universal Consciousness, which we term Awareness, is fundamental in the universe. Testing this assumption is not possible in any system that assumes the absolute division of subject and object, as current science is. We present arguments that philosophy or science cannot provide a comprehensive account of existence without accounting for the awareness that is creating that ontology.
In the proposed framework, one is not looking for the theory of consciousness or the Theory of Everything but how an Awareness-based ontology can assist to address observation and manifestation of physical existence. In extending quantum reality, we examine the applicability of three principles that apply at all levels. Quantum-like effects extend QM to mesoscale biological and neuronal levels and beyond. We discuss what goes into the proposed framework, beginning with the three fundamental principles, and how mathematics can assist to establish such a framework, particularly the subject-object relationships, which we hold as primary. To put it in another way, the qualia of object - subject relationships, which link science and philosophy through Awareness, are at the core of this framework.

Baer's abstract;

Title: Simplified Implementation of a Conscious Universe in the context of an Event Oriented World View
Abstract: If we assume the universe is fundamentally a self measurement and explanatory action cycle as suggested by H. James, Whitehead, and A. Wheeler, then we can define a process architecture in which we and the rest of the universe are described by action cycles that include subjective experiences. I will give a graphic presentation showing how the Whole can be divided into interacting action cycles. As an example I will describe a three person Whole consisting of You, I, and the rest of the Universe.  I will then indicate how quantum mechanics is a linear approximation to the theory of events that addresses macroscopic phenomena beyond the atomic and nuclear scales.

Response by Karla M. Galdamez, Ph.d.

In the present work, John von Neumann's idea of measurement and observation through the problem of the photon-eye interaction will be explored. The probability of wave function collapse as the photon enters the eye will be investigated via density matrix formalism and non-linear Schrodinger equations. Experimental assessment will consist of optical equipment currently built.
This optical equipment has been elaborated and tested for the production of 10-20 photon per 100 milli-second time window for the investigation of reaction time and corresponding visual evoked potential. Results will be further used for a theoretical analysis of the study of collapse, decoherence and absorption phenomena investigating the idea of von Neumann's 'cut'.
The experimental equipment consists of a silicon avalanche photodiode to detect near to single photon output, a high power light emitting diode (LED) source centered at 530 nm, a set of single and multi-mode fibers, and an attenuator. Attenuator is built as an optical lens device containing two convex lenses for improved efficiency of source-to-output via optical fibers, and appropriate density filter for variations of input current. The system is driven by a high power, 1-channel LED driver with pulse modulation device. The desired result is achieved with future investigation for exact single digit photon production and random generation pulse input.

4 pm

Cortical quantum processes in the age of big data

Seán Ó Nualláin Ph.D.
President, UoI

Some of the classic Penrose arguments for the necessity of consciousness (and quantum effects) in cognitive processing are now being falsified by progress in computing. Computers can now “read' emotions, convert sound waves to text, and interpret scenes. at levels close to humans/ Remarkably, this has largely been done by “big data” methods rather than the AI methods used in the 20th century. It would seem to be a natural conclusion that the brain is a deterministic system, and that there is no need to posit quantum effects.

It is, hoverer, a fact that the brain works by allocating resources preferentially to processes deemed important. The techniques assumed germane to this project are dynamic load balancing for allocation of processing resources, with adaptive resonance theory being used to model the neural network structure .In short, this too could be a deterministic process, and is termed “Exogenous attention”

What this paper explores is that the contrastive “endogenous” type of attention may be non-deterministic and invite a quantum explanation. In the 1990's there was consensus that the neurons in the nuclei reticularis thalami (nrt) “gated”' information in the corticothalamic loop. We have since found out that the nrt comprise a gap junction, capable of working at speeds far above that of chemical synapses and consequently hospitable to quantum effects.

The scenario proposed in this paper, therefore, is one in which a superposition of processes is maintained until the nrt select one to be the focus of attention. The process so selected is allowed “broadcast” its content to the whole cortex in a manner facilitated by gamma synchrony, and this is what we call “consciousness” Following Pribram, we are willing to concede that consciousness is describable in classical physics terms, and has as its “intentional” aspect a synchrony between dendritic processes and real world objects.

What is non-classical in our schema is the action of the nrt in choosing which question to ask of nature. It is further argued that the flip side of big data's recent successes is its abject failure in areas like machine translation. It is argued that the recent computational successes pertain to what Fodor called “vertical” cognitive modules, fast and mandatory mental computations not subject to voluntary action. What requires the action of will in “endogenous attention “ of “horizontal modules” produces a set of artifacts, like humans' real use of language, which permeates our society. While we indeed are classical machines a great deal of the time, the society we have constructed requires us to engage in quantum computation. That allows a realm for free, responsible human action

4-45 pm
Justin Riddle
"Fractal Trialism: Cognitive Science meets Quantum Mechanics"

I present a new model of consciousness called Fractal Trialism. This
model is a broad framework for connecting seemingly disparate fields
in Cognitive Science and Physics. Fractal Trialism presents a
tripartite view of the mind akin to Roger Penrose's Three World Model.
A Physical world which relates to the Measurement principle of QM and
digital computers. A Mental world of the Superposition principle and
quantum computers. Finally, a Platonic world of Entanglement / Unitary
evolution which finds its home in a new form of computation called
Frequency Fractal computing (FFC) currently coming out of MIT. The
theory is called "Fractal" Trialism because to best understand each of
the three worlds you must view an analogous tripartite description of
each world/computer. For digital computers we have Alan Turing's
Store, Executive unit and Control. For quantum computers we have
Quantum Zeno Effect, Bose-Einstein Condensates and Universal Quantum
Simulation. For FFC we have Guilio Tononi's Integrated Information
Theory, Anirban Bandyopadhyay's Frequency Fractal Computing and the
Quantum Gravity Research Group's use of the E8-lattice. All of these
terms will be defined simply and in relation to each other. Fractal
trialism unites biology and physics, mathematics and consciousness,
computation and freewill.

5pm Close

Another great success; photos thanks to Tim

                                       Menas Kafatos

                                         Seán Ó Nualláin
                                        Wolfgang Baer

Friday, February 6, 2015

FOM talk; 3pm Feb 13 2015 107 South hall UC Berkeley

Intellectual property and other information policies in a small country

Seán Ó Nualláin Ph.D.
 Lead IP adviser,
Reboot Ireland
3pm Feb 13 2015 107 South hall UC Berkeley

Even in the depths of the recent recession, smaller and economically challenged countries kept scientific research programs that attempt to replicate the NSF and NIH running. The current bloat in scientific journals allowed the system to be gamed to make this appear a reasonable step. The first part of this talk focuses on three burgeoning areas of research; cancer, computational semantics and immunology to show how this game is implemented. The conclusion is that, with the possible exception of the USA, these national programs are a waste of taxpayers' money.

The second part of the talk attempts to find gaps in knowledge that small, economically distressed countries could exploit, It is argued that limits to “big data” and other brute force statistics approaches have been found. This part of the talk looks at how the elision of syntax and semantics have caused an asymptote in performance both in genomics and natural language processing; controversies in mainstream biology with its “central dogma” and why neuroscientists urgently need to master physics techniques like the harmonic oscillator

Thirdly, we look at conventional issues of “orphan” IP like books and drugs. The talk then briefly segues into issues of personal privacy

In the last section, we look at the current state of universities. It is argued that their disciplinary structure mimics the departmental weights assigned by science funding research after WW2. This has led to anomalies whereby popular subjects like cognitive science are relegated to the “interdisciplinary” category; indeed, in this vein, computer science was not taught as a major at Caltech until the 1980's. This opens up opportunities for the creation of online universities that use the myriad excellent freshman and sophomore foundation courses freely available on the web to create low-price majors in subjects currently ignored in the science, arts and humanities. The talk concludes by envisaging a way to do world-class education and research at a fraction of their current cost both to the student and taxpayer.


We had a really interesting audience and a discussion, which I recorded

The EU sent a representative;

The convenor was this guy;

This controversial and brilliant scientist had much to say;

finally, and perhaps best of all, one of the cog sci students now changing majors because of th absence of a dept there showed up, exemplifying one of the main themes