Showing posts from January, 2005

The fallacy of bigger brains

[ Audio Version ] I recently read a great article in the February 2005 issue of Scientific American titled "The Littlest Human", by Kate Wong. Scientists have been studying a newly found member of the Homo evolutionary family, of which Homo Sapiens is the last surviving species, which they have named Homo Floresiensis, after the Indonesian island of Flores on which was discovered the first known remains of one. As you can see in the artist's rendition of H. Floresiensis, they were very small creatures. In fact, they were about the size of the Australopithicene (remember Lucy?) line from which the Homo tree is thought to have emerged and as such the smallest of Homo that we have yet found. They appear to have existed as recently as 18,000 years ago, long after the demise of Neanderthal, believed to have been the last of the Homo line to die out, leaving only us. While I have a deep interest in the origin of the human species, what made this story particularly intere

Follow-up on Pile

[ Audio Version ] My head is spinning. I've done just about as much due diligence as is reasonably possible with respect to the Pile computing system as I can. I thought I should write a brief follow-up entry in light of that. After all the bombastic claims about how modern computers, relational databases, and AI suck, CEO of Pile Systems, Inc., Peter Krieg, goes on to explain in fancy but annoyingly vague terms what Pile is and how it is the perfect solution. In fact, as far as I can tell, all Pile is is a data structure that represents everything as linked points in a non-hierarchic graph space. One might as well call it a big flow chart with only one kind of block that can't contain any discrete information. If that's true, then I can hardly see how the trivial concept that mathematicians call a "graph" is novel, let alone patentable. To be sure, I haven't seen any of the source code or any applications written with Pile. One has to get in touch with

A review of the premises behind Pile

[ Audio Version ] Meandering through the trickle of AI-related news out on the Web, I recently came across information about a purportedly novel kind of computing paradigm named "Pile" ( ). The company formed to capitalize on it, Pile Systems, Inc., makes the following bold claim on it's "about" page under the heading "Why Pile can change computing": The Pile system is a revolutionary new approach to data and computing which eliminates the most fundamental current restrictions in regard to complexity, scalability and computability. Pile represents and computes arbitrary electronic input exclusively as relations (virtual data) in a fully connected and scalable combinatory space. It dynamically generates data like a computer game instead of storing and retrieving it in a traditionally slow and clumsy process. This sounds benign and interesting enough on first flush. Having read an outside review of Pile, I can genuinely say I'm