|Subject: The polynomial time?
Date: Tue, 15 Feb 2005 05:47:43 +0200
From: Dimi Chakalov <firstname.lastname@example.org>
v1, p. 4, footnote 3, "I win."
Dear Dr. Aaronson,
I wonder if you can suggest an explanation of how you (and all people) solve the meaning of the text below:
"Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a total mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe."
Download the whole web site, 4.5MB, from
Note: I found Scott Aaronson's article "NP-complete Problems and Physical Reality", quant-ph/0502072 v1, incredibly interesting and stimulating. See the discussion of quantum gravity (p. 14): "The point I wish to make is that, until this and the other conceptual problems have been clarified -- until we can say what it means for a ‘user’ to specify an ‘input’ and ‘later’ receive an ‘output’ -- there is no such thing as computation, not even theoretically."
One questions has been left unanswered in Scott Aaronson's article: How do we read "the wrod as a wlohe"? Does our brain use some "polynomial time" or the global mode of the Holon?
Recall that we, humans, can understand
brand new concepts that emerge from 'the unknown unknown', then we write
AI programs and employ the polynomial time. Machines can't do this, since
we cannot possibly define a set to include 'things that we still
don't know that we don't know'. As John Wheeler put it, "Time is Nature's
way to keep everything from happening all at once". Which brings us to
the nature of time and the
evolution of the Universe.
The second version of Scott Aaronson's article "NP-complete Problems and Physical Reality", quant-ph/0502072 v2, was posted six days after my note above, on Monday, 21 February 2005 at 10:19:21 GMT, with "minor corrections". Scott Aaronson and I had a discussion by email (I cannot post it here because it was private), and I was expecting that he will at least mention my arguments. All I wanted to stress was that the human brain does not use the so-called polynomial time but the global mode of spacetime.
Let me zoom on the discussion of quantum gravity in Scott Aaronson's quant-ph/0502072 v2 (pp. 13-14):
"Indeed, to anyone who wants a test or benchmark for a favorite quantum gravity theory, let me humbly propose the following: can you define Quantum Gravity Polynomial-Time?"
Can you define a squared circle, Scott? Can you put on your jeans through your head? But let's read further:
"A possible first step would be to define time. For in many quantum gravity theories, there is not even a notion of objects evolving dynamically in time: instead there is just a static spacetime manifold, subject to a constraint such as the Wheeler-DeWitt equation H = 0. In classical general relativity, at least we could carve the universe into ‘spacelike slices’ if we wanted to, and assign a local time to any given observer! But how do we do either of those if the spacetime metric itself is in quantum superposition? Regulars call this "the problem of time" (see  for a fascinating discussion). The point I wish to make is that, until this and the other conceptual problems have been clarified -- until we can say what it means for a ‘user’ to specify an ‘input’ and ‘later’ receive an ‘output’ -- there is no such thing as computation, not even theoretically."
Okay, let's "see  for a fascinating discussion." Ref.  is an article by Lee Smolin, and the question posed is this: are there observables without time? These are Hamiltonian constraint observables; see more from Hermann Nicolai et al. here.
So, are there observables without time? Sure. You can find them in your brain. They live in the global mode of spacetime, not in the polynomial time that can be read by an inanimate physical clock. They are simply UNspeakable and "dark". They are observables without time because their proper "time" would be read by an inanimate physical clock as being stand-still. Zero. Zilch. Just as the human self, these "observables" do not evolve in the polynomial time.
I will send the link to this addendum to Scott Aaronson, but I seriously doubt that he will update his quant-ph/0502072. Scott Aaronson works at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, which is a very dangerous place. Very dangerous indeed. If you work there, you may develop the feeling that you know everything. Then you'll never acknowledge the criticism by your colleagues, and will be ready to retire.
Shall we read Scott Aaronson's quant-ph/0502072
"3.1 A first challenge: are there observables without time?
"As we are dealing with a theory
with an infinite number of degrees of freedom
this means we must have an infinite number of observables.
"So whether or not there exist in principle observables of the second kind, there are no known methods to construct them for realistic theories.'