Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Beauty of E8

Here is another beautiful image of the E8 structure. This one shows depth and grid-like structures are more clearly emphasized. It's from an interview with Garrett Lisi here:

The Star of David is the E8 Root

As I was reviewing Garrett Lisi's paper, An Exceptionally Simple Theory of Everything (6 Nov 2007), I noticed with some astonishment that the root of E8 -- the fundamental core of this pattern - is the symbol used to represent the Star of David.

Garrett Lisi's paper is available here:

E8 - Mother of All Patterns

An interesting story in the Ottawa Citizen this morning describes the theory of Garrett Lisi who has a PhD in physics from the University of California, San Diego. He has proposed "An Exceptionally Simple Theory of Everything" that is intended to act as the Grand Unifying Theory of physics It is based on a complex, eight-dimensional mathematical pattern called E8.

I'm affectionately calling it the Mother of All Patterns.

Within this larger 'mother' pattern, I think we will quite likely find sub-structures or smaller patterns -- classic data patterns. I also think that if this model is sound, it may also act as a pattern for how we organize and store data, both in our minds and externally.

I'd like to see someone write a search algorithm for E8. Perhaps this already exists. Perhaps this is Google's 'secret algorithm'.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Taxonomy of Patterns

There are many different ways to organize or map information. Here is a very good shortlist of some classic relational data patterns.

Cluster - presents related aspects of a central idea/element

Hierarchy - Categories and subcategories; organization by relationship, ownership, levels of granularity, top-down, deductive, movement from top to bottom

Venn Diagram - Membership in overlapping categories, shared commonality

Timeline - temporal map or sequence/change over time

Flowchart - Steps in a procedure or process

Concept map - Labeled relationships

Causal Loop Diagram - Systems of cause and effect

Comparison Matrix - Table of comparisons

Inductive Tower - Building inferences and generalizations from data (reverse hierarchy; bottom up, rather than top-down movement