tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4058766287077382431.post6637315547278250363..comments2020-09-19T22:55:21.015-04:00Comments on Understanding Society: John von Neumann and stochastic simulationsDan Littlehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/15953897221283103880noreply@blogger.comBlogger5125tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4058766287077382431.post-87898837558934939372015-12-14T12:14:10.345-05:002015-12-14T12:14:10.345-05:00"would be clumsy to write"
A strange cr..."would be clumsy to write"<br /><br />A strange critique cinsidering you're not manually punching cards anymore with excel.Anonymousnoreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4058766287077382431.post-15159029308902567252015-12-10T12:15:25.192-05:002015-12-10T12:15:25.192-05:00An introduction or summary is needed at least for ...An introduction or summary is needed at least for me to tell me how to read the essay and what I should learn from it. I am lost, even though I have what is taken as a superb background.Anonymousnoreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4058766287077382431.post-59596866622553589892015-12-10T09:55:42.265-05:002015-12-10T09:55:42.265-05:00I'm sure there are many experts far better qua...I'm sure there are many experts far better qualified than I to provide answers, but I see no comments so I'll offer something. I'm a professional programmer with a Physics BA from 35 years ago. I'm not a computer science academic.<br /><br />Without knowing the specifics of the calculations, I guess the computations, which probably have many steps and intermediate results, would be clumsy to write directly in Excel cell formulas. On would probably need the features of a precedural language to code the algorithms. Using automation one can write custom code/calculations in a separate program that can read and write Excel cells during execution. So it would be possible to do what you are suggesting. However, if the computation requires thousands or millions of intermediate results to reach the end-state of each time interval, it doesn't seem valuable to integrate the processing with the Excel presentation in this way. Most likely it would be far more efficient in terms both of programming and program execution to write a custom program in a language like C++ that did the computation and produced the series of end-states as data arranged in a CSV file as output. This output file could then be analysed using Excel's statistics and graphing capabilities.Jeffrey Johnsonhttps://www.blogger.com/profile/07097567850607367929noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4058766287077382431.post-47768823090493111252015-12-10T03:44:42.541-05:002015-12-10T03:44:42.541-05:00These kind of calculations are trivial in Excel, a...These kind of calculations are trivial in Excel, although the random number generator (at least in older Excels) is wanting. But the question how far it would have gotten him. One the one hand he was at the forefront of his field, so faster calculations would have meant faster hypothesis-checking and a larger impact. On the other hand, hardly any physicists have used Excel to advance their field. That might be historical though, that the computing power leveraged by physicists blew up before spreadsheets were available.Anonymousnoreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4058766287077382431.post-51448949135656371362015-12-10T00:57:34.617-05:002015-12-10T00:57:34.617-05:00It would seem that today one could use a spreadshe...<i><br /> It would seem that today one could use a spreadsheet to reproduce the von Neumann Monte Carlo simulation of fission, with each line being the computed result from the previous line after application of the specified mathematical functions to the data represented in the prior line. So a natural question to ask is -- what could von Neumann have accomplished if he had Excel in his toolkit? Experts -- is this possible?<br /></i><br /><br />Hopefully I'm reading your open question correctly. Monte Carlo algorithms in Computer Science are pervasive and can be implemented in most any programming language. So his models could certainly be in Excel (I assume considering it lets you write mathematical functions) just as they could be implemented (probably more easily) in C, C++, Java, C#, Python, Matlab, PHP, Javascript, or most any other programming language.<br /><br />The punch cards come down more to the move to fully digital machines where memory (persistent storage, RAM, etc...) are now available to store data and programs whereas before this was not the case. And of course computing speed has increased to such a ridiculous degree from von Neumann's time that. Now what von Neumann would have done with this extra power I couldn't say.Anonymousnoreply@blogger.com