Tag Archives: form

Physics of Data Flow

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Last week the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) Northern Virginia Chapter (CSI NOVA) welcomed scientists from the NIST Fire Research Lab to give a talk about fire simulations and the new test facility.

NIST’s Fire Dynamics Simulator (FDS)

A couple simulations were of just the fires themselves rather than walls, furniture, elevator shafts and other elements that might influence where a fire would move next in a building. The NIST Fire Research lab studies both the effects and relationships of different building materials with fire, and the physics of fire by itself. The physics of fire by itself has some known properties, such as maximum temperatures, and the short SHORT flashover point. The space around a fire is not always needed for better understanding of what a fire is likely to do next.

National Fire Protection Association (2001) from NFPA 1710

Today we have a lot of data moving around the Internet. Behaviors and patterns in the physics of data flow may have properties like maximum temperatures or flashover points in fires.

Ebb and Flow of Box Office Receipts Over the Past 20 Years – at Flowing Data

However it seems like most of these studies only look at the data, rarely the space around. As if the way different areas of the Internet were built, or the composition of various user communities, could influence where data are likely to go next and whether they are likely to spread quickly or slowly smolder. Below is an image about the flow of physics data from CERN, but who is studying the physics of data flow? Or more importantly, structural details about spaces around data, or how more precise configurations might help push relevant information into specific areas that are most conducive to those particular ideas catching on, spreading, and growing… Until at some point, inevitably, even the most gigantic ideas, like fires, will eventually die out. We are still learning about the physics of fire today, the physics of data flow and a better understanding of the life cycle of ideas and information may take many MANY generations of study until the statistics and calculations are relatively accurate, or at least aligned with the unpredictable real world.

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Taking Apart and Putting Back Together in a Repeatable Process

The greatest thing about relational databases is they store everything loose in some kind of homogeneous level playing field. It is only be establishing relationships between data that anyone is able to see anything in context. Without context, they are just data. In context they are messages, thoughts, ideas, studies, results, and work products.

If an idea is very complex sometimes it helps to break it down into component parts. Systematically taking it apart to understand what makes this idea tick.

DesignIT Studios

Starship ModelerWikicommons Watch Movement

Taking an idea apart can be very informative. Especially when various parts need to be updated and optimized, continually changing like software releases. If the watch above was wordpress, the Swift theme, and the internet each gear changes sooner or later but the whole watch still needs to work together if it is to continue functioning.  Putting things back together offers it’s own set of challenges.  There is an opportunity to purge elements that are no longer useful during this process. Like a hoarder moving everything out of their house onto the curb then back into the house, maybe some of those items are not worth saving after all. Or fixing a car engine, or someones medical condition, when it is unclear exactly what the problem is but simply by taking it apart and putting it back together, whatever was not working gets repaired.

IDSA Materials and Processes Section

Instructions are needed, parts need to be labeled. A sequence of reassembly is needed to ensure the reassembled whole still is the same. It can be difficult to see how the parts fit together when viewed too close.

Carol Padburg

Because everyone’s perception and experience is different, the exact same elements, in almost exactly the same combination may be understood a different way from different points of view. The receiving end may be “reading something into” what the sender intended. It may not be possible for two different people to consistently see the same things the same ways.

Put Back Together Pictures

However, this is not true for machines like computers or networks like the internet because machines have no prejudices, emotions, or previous experiences.  They simply process the information, break up whole ideas into packets, send them somewhere, another machine puts them back together. For this to be reliable everything on both ends needs to be a repeatable process. It would be so helpful to have a mold with the end result packed in with every packet to ensure consistency. MIT has just started a project to map controversies that may be useful to understand multiple interpretations of the same information.


MIT Mapping Controversies Project

This project is important today because we are surrounded by so many controversies, and so much data, it’s difficult to sort out which parts are actually valid, worth processing, keeping in the information houses where we store things. For example the Washington Post had an article today about the disconnect between science and the general public entitled “Not Blinded by Science, but Ideology” where global warming is a perfect example.

To avoid using information the wrong way, or putting together messages, thoughts, and ideas that may be different than original authors intended, especially while processing the data in emotionless machines – repeatable processes are needed.

BZen Consulting

Info-Sight Partners Actionability Index

Global Wonderware

Today the primary representation of how pieces of information are to be put back together need to work with SQL. Looking at the relationships is usually just miles and miles of code. However, there is a company at http://mkweb.bcgsc.ca who makes Schemaball, a Schema Viewer for SQL Databases where the relationships themselves can be put under a microscope and examined across the whole database in one glance.

It’s curious why geometry proper is not used more often to direct the arc, layouts and relationships. Something like a mold could be useful to ensure the reassembly is 100 percent correct on the receiving end, to match exactly, what the sender intended.

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But how would you store and encode that geometry?

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Form, Function, Connection, Perspective, Responsibility, Reflection

Sent by John Giunta: When I was teaching at the Rock Creek International School, they used the International Baccalauriate program, there were rubrics in place that were useful in assessing our learning and teaching.  Here is a list that fascinated me, it is part of another little project of mine.

Responsibility: What is our responsibility with this knowledge?

Causality: Why is it this way?

Form: What are the qualities of this?

Connection: How does it relate to other things we know?

Change: Is it changing, and from what to what?

Function: Is this useful, and in what way?

How do we know any of this?

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From Instructing Autism: Assessment

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Digital Continuity

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ABOVE: Nature-2 (rough).jpg @ 50% (Gray)
BELOW: Untitled-1 @ 33.3% (Layer 4, Gray)

Both by Bruce MacPherson, work-in-progress sketches for the MathFactory, for Gallagher & Associates Design Proposal

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Below is the introduction from Time & Bits, Managing Digital Continuity edited by Margaret MacLean and Ben H. Davis, an eternity ago in 1998 for the Getty Research Institute.  The Getty Research Institute is dedicated to furthering knowledge and understanding of the visual arts and aesthetic appreciation through the advancement of long term digital preservation and information exchange techniques to protect our common cultural inheritance.  The book is about an early workshop pondering over new problems with obsolete media and machines impact on the cycle of: capturing, preserving, distributing, representing, and unlocking a real understanding of the meaning of stored data. See the Long Now Foundation Projects for follow on work such as the Rosetta Project.

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Workshop Figure 1

This was a very unhappy interface. And small wonder. No doubt this entire virtual environment was being encrypted, decrypted, reencrypted, anonymously routed through satellites and cables, emulated on alien machinery through ill-fitting, out-of-date protocols, then displayed through long-dead graphic standards.  Dismembered, piped, compressed, packeted, unpacketed, decompressed, unpiped and re-membered.  Worse yet, the place was old.  Virtual buildings didn’t age like physical ones but they aged in subtle pathways of arcane decline, in much the way that their owner’s did.

Bruce Sterling, in Holy Fire. Science fiction writer and founder of the Dead Media Project.

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Workshop Figure 2

Below from the article Storage Knowledge by Doug Carlston, page 28 Time & Bits: Managing Digital Continuity

– process information is everywhere and, with increasing frequency, it will not be possible to perceive the full expression of the content-creator’s intent if the ability to perceive the process information is lost.

Imagine, if you will, that we are talking about process content that represents the instructions for building a virtual space and populating it with still and animated images tied to sounds.  Even if one could disambiguate the various data forms and figure out what was image, what was sound, and what was descriptive code, the author’s expression is virtually impossible to deduce absent its interpretation via his original processing device.  If in the future it becomes common to create digital wire models of complex inventions and other devices in lieu of written words, we will have an entire body of obviously important process data held hostage to its original interpretation device.

Perhaps in these areas we just have to give it time.  We do seem to have some movement towards standards, numerical bits have been translated in a reasonably consistent way into numerals and letters of the Roman alphabet (and others), a necessary first step toward a process Rosetta Stone.  And there appears to be a compelling universal interest in standardizing the operating systems and chief applications of commonly available computers, although these standards themselves continue to evolve at a hazardous rate.  Perhaps this process will not continue indefinitely, in which case we are confronting merely an interim problem while the universal standards are finally worked out.

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All of this was written before the explosion of the semantic web, online services, and the large scale development of open standards.  Nevertheless, many early concerns raised at the Time & Bits workshop are still valid.  The documentation of places and buildings together with the public information they generate has only just begun.  When will the process information be mature and standardized enough to tell the story of all these people and places over long periods of time?  There are many arguments on OntologForum regarding the utility, accuracy, and even the possibility of universal standards for such large scale processing. Like buildings in the real world, some digital architectures are better than others, some data deserve to be taken better care of and

“there is no constituency representing that body of information”

Margeret MacLean, Setting the Stage, page 33 in Time & Bits: Managing Digital Continuity.

3 images below are from the central garden at the Getty Center in Los Angeles. You can go anywhere, touch anything, get led in directions you want to go anyway, and have tremendous vistas open up around unexpected angles.  There are curves and corners. Only the best materials are used and they are taken care of.  The combination is gorgeous together.  This level of spatial design, execution, and maintenance is needed for an equivalent level of high quality, long term, takes-forever-to-build, semantic web spaces made expressly for the general public.

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File: Getty Center Central Gardens Wiki Commons

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http://www.panoramio.com/photo/1738822

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Companion Post: Trace Continuous Threads

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Mixing Performance and Design Specifications

RE: Green building laws and regulations.

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Green Building, by TopLeftPixel, a daily dose of imagery

In the real world of building architecture, some jurisdictions have performance bonds, payable to the jurisdiction, when projects do not achieve sustainable requirements.

By contrast, sustainable information design does not have an equal to the LEED rating system, clear definition of sustainable information design requirements, or even design goals. Altogether there is a poor general understanding of what authorities having jurisdiction means for Web3.0 and beyond.

In the Construction Specifier David Blak and Leah Rochwarg are lawyers who discuss potential interpretation problems in the article Avoiding the Gray Area When Going Green ~ “In addition to green laws and regulations, there is a multitude of other legal issues concerning the field of sustainable construction. One such issue involves mixing performance and design specifications. Performance specifications demand the contractor achieve a specific result, whereas design specifications require the contractor follow the documentation like a roadmap.”

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What “documentation can be followed like a roadmap” by semantic contractors? What is a modern roadmap?

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Patricia Hilton’s map of the 14 August 2007 Expedition Workshop (3NDU)

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Accuracy&Aesthetics portion, gone pixelated

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What is meant by “Performance versus Design Specification” in semantic construction and contracting? How can the proper form of specification help an information Owner achieve their communication goals by helping people find what they are looking for?

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Parasol, Texas A&M University, Algorithms & Applications Group Neuron PRM: A Framework for Constructing Cortical Networks

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What network topologies and documentation standards will improve public understanding and access?

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Figure 3(b): Hyperbolic view of BGP routing table data describing connectivity among autonomous systems. Internet measurement and data analysis: topology, workload, performance and routing statistics by Cooperative Association for Internet Data Analysis (CAIDA)

Is hyperbolic space the best depiction?

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Figure 2 Sample Service Provider Fiber and SONET/SDH Layout
Beyond the Access?Understanding the Physical Topology by CISCO

How do you write a performance specification to improve physical topology when in the words of Arun Majumdar, “we are caught in a non-deterministic problem where sequential reasoning – i.e. look forward to what you want as your outcome and then reason backwards – will simply not work because we have no clear blueprint for what the end outcome “looks like” (or *must* look like).”

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Juxtaposing Dynamic Forms

Below are images from Dale Chihuly’s Gardens and Glass installed at botanical gardens all over the world. Perfect juxtapositions of beautifully crafted objects, once fluid and rapidly changing, now fixed in time. Purposefully and collaboratively placed in similar backgrounds. The living objects continue to slowly change and grow in ways that are impossible to observe in a single visit. The now-fixed and eternally-changing are simply together, enhancing each other’s beauty, creating a place.

What can designers of modern, fluid, information patterns learn from this stunning collaboration between botany and art? How can cleaning your data and preparing records for deep, widely distributed archiving feel more like working in your garden? If dynamic growing data collections could be shown, and tended to, in forms that were able to be made more beautiful over time…what do newly fixed data structures look and act like in context of slowly changing knowledge domains forming beautifully tended backgrounds?

To really see, be surrounded by, experience and wonder for yourself, please go to the Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh PA before November 11, 2007 – where juxtaposing dynamic forms is made real.

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Rework Old Work

Per request by Susan Turnbull at GSA, the position paper below from the American Association of Geographers Annual Meeting a few years ago is resurfacing to update and present at the workshop Mapping the Navigable Waters of Public Information: Connecting People to Science and Scholarly Knowledge. Images from AAG slides will be interspersed soon, both text and images will be updated.

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Position Paper for Mapping Humanities Knowledge and Expertise in the Digital Domain held at the Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers (AAG), Denver, CO, April 5-9, 2005. Organized by Katy Borner & Andre Skupin. By Deborah L. MacPherson, Projects Director
Accuracy&Aesthetics, PO Box 52, Vienna VA 22183 USA

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Part 1 This session

1.1. Describe your main interest in this session.
I am interested in participating in this session because I am bothered by what a map of all of humanity’s knowledge and expertise would look like, how it would function, and how or why people would use it. On the one hand, it seems very straightforward to compare this type of map with “regular maps” that show geographical features, relationships, distances, and even how each of these aspects may change over time or be influenced by people, technology or events. On the other hand, most “regular maps” capture and simplify features, relationships and distances that can actually be measured. Information maps are different, we are not sure how much is there.

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1.2. Which major technical challenges do you see for Mapping Humanity’s Knowledge and Expertise in the Digital Domain, as laid out in the session description?
There are countless reasons why each knowledge domain needs to use their own numbering systems, methods of describing and citing pieces of work in relation to other work to form a whole. By trying to consolidate all of humanity’s knowledge and expertise into one shared system, there will need to be significant, possibly permanently damaging, mathematical and conceptual reductions down to a level where the details and relationships can no longer be seen.

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1.3. Which major non-technical challenges do you foresee?
Changing the way people work and organize their ideas and information is worse than many technical problems because look at the progress that has already been made since 1990 when the total number of websites was 1. Tim Berners-Lee’s prototype. All of humanity’s knowledge and expertise is much older, interconnected and sometimes isolated behind impenetrable walls. Databases, patents, designs, maps, new frontiers and papers (good or bad) are peoples’ work and they are attached to it. Each person, research institute and field of study prefers their own words and don’t care if anyone else knows them, they may even have their own spatial visualizations, and definitely believe they know the best way to fit it all together to decide and show which information is most relevant, interesting or important. Many individuals and institutions entire life’s work is devoted to exactly these tasks – and they know what they are doing so creating a map like this must account for all of these different ways of knowing, techniques and expertise. When all the pieces from every domain are all thrown on the floor together, suddenly, we are asking everyone to cooperate and let other people who do not care or know about the details or relationships of their information to be in charge of what it should look like, act like, and how it should influence or relate to other information around it. If we can work this out, I believe many of the technical challenges will solve themselves.

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1.4. Which major opportunities do you envision?

Educate and inspire the general public. Make people more curious. Let people look outside their knowledge domain and area of expertise. Get history to quit repeating itself. Learn and discover new things we could not do without a map such as this.

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BEGINNING OF PART 2 OMITTED UNTIL THE PROTOTYPE IS REALIZED

2.4. Supported User Tasks
The ability to look through other domains information, place your information where you think it belongs then have it reviewed to be argued against, rejected or raised higher according to the collective view of people who understand what you are working on. In the long term, being able to save only the ideas, information and techniques that actually work; and the ability to streamline all digital collections into one interconnected knowledge base accessible to all people from all cultural and intellectual backgrounds.

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2.5. Data Sets Used
The first set will be created especially to be random and cross cutting against different intellectual/cultural backgrounds and institutional requirements. Subsequent data sets are intended to include digitized art collections, patent specifications and drawings, architectural work, mapping and exploration, large scale databases and new types of digital collections that are not possible yet.

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2.6. Algorithms Used
Context Driven Topologies, a mathematical and perceptual system based on algebra, knot theory topology, cultural anthropology and art curation where each entity within a group knows where it belongs within the context of each particular group, or arrangement, of digital information. Over time, streamlining overlaps between entities, groups, arrangements, and layers of information will generate new views and associations. The purpose of the prototype is to see if these automatic views and associations actually correspond to the ways that people generate and create work to represent ideas in a variety of artistic and scientific fields.

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2.7. Sample Maps – WILL UPDATE

2.8. Pros and Cons
Pro- looks like the right overlaps when you are remembering it. Con- The computer just put everything in places, it no longer corresponds to the placement I gave it and cannot be searched.

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2.9. Planned Work
To develop a prototype of the Context Driven Topology system then present it via papers, conferences and exhibits. Gather feedback from individuals and institutions around the world to consider these views and work requirements in the development and implementation of this system.

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2.10. Publications

Collecting Patterns that Work for Everything, the International Journal of Dynamical Systems Research, Chaos and Complexity Letters Vol. 1, #2, special issue: Chaos and Complexity in Arts and Architecture

Perceiving Design in Virtual Spaces the International Conference of Mathematics & Design June 7-10, 2004, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Collective Consciousness, Qi and Complexity, Consciousness Reframed 2004 in Beijing, China November 2004. Organized by the Planetary Collegium

Digitizing the Non-Digital in Rethinking History, The Journal of Theory and Practice, published quarterly by Routledge/Taylor&Francis.

Sent September 30, 2004 to katy@indiana.edu and askupin@uno.edu

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Context of Codes

According to sustainable design architect William McDonough, in the world of building codes, context is all.

THE HANNOVER PRINCIPLES

1. Insist on the right of humanity and nature to co-exist in a healthy, supportive, diverse and sustainable condition.

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2000 Carbon Atoms in a Diamond Lattice
James R. Morris, C. Z. Wang and K. M. Ho

2. Recognize interdependence. The elements of human design interact with and depend upon the natural world, with broad and diverse implications at every scale. Expand design considerations to recognize even distant effects.

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Core by W3C
3. Respect relationships between spirit and matter. Consider all aspects of human settlement, including community, dwelling, industry and trade, in terms of existing and evolving connections between spiritual and material consciousness.

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High Sky 2 by Bridget Riley, lives at the Neues Museum, Nurnberg, Germany.
4. Accept responsibility for the consequences of design decisions upon human well-being, the viability of natural systems and their right to co-exist.

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Spatial Layout, Deborah MacPherson CAD drawing with SpinnerCropHoudek


5. Create safe objects of long-term value. Do not burden future generations with requirements for maintenance or vigilant administration of potential dangers due to the careless creation of products, processes or standards.

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SeaShellCage by Dream Geometry at Midcoast.com, Research & Development Through Free Exchange of Ideas.
6. Eliminate the concept of waste. Evaluate and optimize the full life cycle of products and processes to approach the state of natural systems, in which there is no waste.

7. Rely on natural energy flows. Human designs should, like the living world, derive their creative force from perpetual solar income. Incorporate this energy efficiently and safely for responsible use.

8. Understand the limitations of design. No human creation lasts forever, and design does not solve all problems. Those who create and plan should practice humility in the face of nature. Treat nature as a model and mentor, not as an inconvenience to be evaded or controlled.

9. Seek constant improvement by the sharing of knowledge. Encourage direct and open communication between colleagues, patrons, manufacturers and users to link long-term sustainable considerations with ethical responsibility and to reestablish the integral relationship between natural processes and human activity.

The Hannover Principles should be seen as a living document committed to transformation and growth in the understanding of our interdependence with nature so that they may be adapted as our knowledge of the world evolves.

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Make Your View

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Saul Steinberg Untitled 1980 above, 1983 middle, 1964 below.
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Davis

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Red and Blue America by Sara Fabrikant

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Distored View

From Science News

HEADLINE NEWS. The geographical distribution of news stories isn’t uniform, Newman and Gastner show. Even allowing for population, a few cities?New York and Washington, in particular?get a surprisingly large fraction of the attention. The researchers extracted the dateline from about 72,000 wire-service news stories from 1994 to 1998 and changed a standard map (top) into a cartogram (bottom) in which the sizes of states are proportional to the frequency of their appearance in datelines. SOURCE: Newman and Gastner/PNAS

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From Geography 222 and the power of maps by John Krygier Ohio Wesleyan University Department of Geology and Geography.

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Form, Shape, Trace, Reckon, Calculate, Represent

The Institute for Figuring

To Figure: To form or shape, to trace, to reckon or calculate, to represent in a diagram or picture, to ornament or adorn with a design or pattern.

The Institute for Figuring does not yet have a physical space. Their location in the conceptual landscape is permanently located on the edge of this iconic fractal.mset_forweb.jpg

Institute for Figuring (IFF) Mandelbrot set location: (-0.7473198, i0.1084649) with detail (color inset.)

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Crochet model of hyperbolic plane by Daina Taimina

In 1997 Cornell University mathematician Daina Taimina finally worked out how to make a physical model of hyperbolic space that allows us to feel, and to tactilely explore, the properties of this unique geometry. The method she used was crochet. See [105] Hyperbolic Space Crochet Models for more information.

[105] Hyperbolic Space

[111] It is one thing to know that something is possible, it is quite another to understand what it is. Like the blind man and the elephant, hyperbolic space appears in different guises depending on how we approach it. One way of visualizing this enigmatic space was discovered by the great French mathematician Henri Poincar?. In the Poincar? disc model the entire hyperbolic space is depicted inside a circle.

disc1 Poincare Disc Model of Hyperbolic Space

Image and text above from the website of the Institute For Figuring (www.theiff.org)

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Brings to mind topological knots. Images below by Sofia Lambropoulou.

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Escher mechanical trefoils

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Ancient knots in Berlin museum

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Mongolian knots on stamps

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