if ('discussions' != 'syllabus')
Formal Systems (posted 2 February 2004)
Remember the criteria for a formal system: a set of tokens or units; a set of rules for their manipulation; and, a starting position. Given that, can you think of an example of some aspect of your life that can be modelled as a formal system? Whether it's how you sort your socks or decide what classes to take? (Remember, you need to be able to articulate the rules.) Anyone willing to start us off?
I'm still not sure if I'm 100 percent clear on the identification of formal systems. That being said, the first example that comes to mind is
reading a novel. You have the pages of the book, and, on a larger scale, the book itself. You "travel" the novel as the book directs you - generally, from one page to the next, though this could change with thigs like the Choose Your Own Adventure books. The stating position would be the title page, I suppose.
On a side note, has anyone gone to Google today? It's fractal city.
Take a look at Google's main site today. Good timing on the part of the prof. me thinks.
I'm not sure if all books are considered formal systems. Unless having the index in the back direct you back to the begining counts... I would think having footnotes would be some kind of small formal system.
I'm also not quite sure where the starting point of a novel would be. The cover? I know I always look at the back cover for a lil synopsis or the reviews.
If a book IS a formal system, does it fail if you just stop reading the book in the middle?
Ah, my luck's up this semester: Ground Hog Day yesterday, and it turns out today is the 101st birthday (fitting the Oulipeans loved palindromes) of the French mathematician Gaston Maurice Julia, whose work was instrumental in what would become fractal geometry. Hence the Google theme.
As a purely irrelevant side note, Google's founder is a campus alumnus.
Formal system- Parking: the Game. You have a clear goal (find a legal space, often deliniated clearly by lines), and rules (a LOT of rules) on how and when you can put your vehicle in said space.
The game is played with thousands of other people simultaneously, each of whom has their own token. These all bear a resemblance to the 'car' token from Monopoly. Your starting position may or may not be 'safe' (ie, guaranteed available as a starting space and guaranteed to not be in violation of any rules), and may or may not be available to return to at the end of the daily game round. Violating game rules is heavily penalized by alert-eyed, roaming referees.
Next time: Christianity: the Game.
I like chicken and cook it often. Frozen chickens need thawing and thawed chickens need marinading. Marinaded thawed chickens need bags and bagged marinaded thawed chickens need seals. Sealed bagged marinaded thawed chickens need soaking and soaked sealed bagged marinaded thawed chickens need cooking. Cooked soaked sealed bagged marinaded thawed chickens need eating.
Frozen chickens need eating. Yes