Monday, 24 June 2019

shadows of clouds

A spectacular sunset this evening, with clouds casting shadows on other clouds:

21:30 BST.  The picture is a bit washed out on the horizon: reality was darker and redder.

Zooming in on the base of the shadow, to show the setting sun shining between two bands of coulds:

Saturday, 22 June 2019

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

can this blob of goo compute?

Our new paper published today:
Matthew Dale, Julian F. Miller, Susan Stepney, Martin A. Trefzer.
A substrate-independent framework to characterize reservoir computers.
Proceedings of the Royal Society A, 475(2226), 2019

Somewhat amazingly, various blobs of “goo” can be made to compute simple tasks.  But, given a new blob of goo, can we tell how well it will compute, without having to train it on specific tasks?

That’s what we set out to address in our new paper.  We describe a framework for evaluating the “quality” of a proposed computing substrate, in comparison to a “reference” reservoir computer (an unconventional model of computing that fits well with gooey substrates).

We then use of the framework to evaluate a (physical) carbon nanotube system (it computes, as we knew, but not very much, as we also knew, but now we know exactly how much).  We also use it to evaluate a (simulated) optical delay line, and show that it can be used for many reservoir tasks, but not necessarily all.

We are now going on to generalise this framework to a wider set of computational models and physical substrates, as part of out EPSRC-funded SpInspired project.  Watch this space!

Monday, 17 June 2019

chimneys in the sun

The setting sun lit up a line of golden chimneys:

View of sunlit chimneys, 21:16 BST.  They are not normally golden, but are “white” brick, which reflects more than the red.

View in the other direction, of the sunset lighting up the chimneys, 21:18 BST

Thursday, 13 June 2019

let them not eat cake

This is a few months old, but hasn’t gone the least bit stale:
The only thing we do know is that the people who have been pressing hardest for Brexit are obsessed with cakes. The former Foreign Secretary was convinced in public that we could “have our cake and eat it”. John Redwood, the perfectly normal former Welsh Secretary, talked about making our own cakes instead of helping other countries with their cakes. And UKIP is full of fruitcakes.

So I have decided to explain the Brexit process through the medium of cakes.

(h/t to Danny Yee)

Sunday, 9 June 2019

time to go home

The view from the breakfast bar on the 25th floor, just before I check out to catch the airport bus.

Goodbye, Tokyo!  I had a great time.  An excellent conference, interesting new experiences, lovely people, and a marvellous city.

Thursday, 6 June 2019

boat and dinner

The conference outing and dinner was combined as a boat tour.

Prior to embarkation, we get a good view of the Tokyo Skytree.

As we turn back at the mid-point, we see we are not the only boat on the river.
The view of the Skytree on disembarking.

Monday, 3 June 2019

DIY dinner

Guessing what a menu item might be from a small, interestingly cropped photo, and an ambiguous English translation, can lead to unexpected meals.

a tad undercooked?

The staff helpfully showed us how to cook it all.  And it was very good!

Sunday, 2 June 2019

view from a skyscraper

I’ve arived in Tokyo, after a 12 hour flight, ready for the Unconventional Computation conference starting tomorrow.

Rather than the traditional “view from a hotel window”, I was recommended the “view from a nearby skyscraper”.  So this is the view from the (free) Observation deck in the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, on the 45th floor, over Tokyo on a slightly hazy Sunday afternoon.

There are other skyscrapers around here

There is also greenery.  My hotel is the mere 25-storey white block in the centre, the one with the loads of teeny square windows.

One of the many raised roadways.  We have Spaghetti Junction, but Tokyo must be Noodle City!
(Relatively small) tower blocks receding to infinity.  Is this Trantor?

Later on, we went down past the famously huge Shinjuku station (which we will have to navigate tomorrow!) to find a place for dinner: there were plenty to choose from.

A warm Sunday evening in downtown Shinjuku