[eu-gene] These are and are not products of thought
jim at vispo.com
Sat Dec 17 22:46:12 GMT 2011
> Really nice stuff. With the code written in Java Script, are you planning
> to do anything in real time that would create the image in the users
> browser? Like my online Algorithmic Plaid. I tell people it creates an
> infinite number of Plaid patterns. (Actually I am not sure it really does
Thanks, John. Infinite plaid, huh. Ha. That's funny.
That made me think about the combinatorial range of Aleph Null. In the code
itself, there are, oh, probably over 30 uses of the Math.random() function.
And each of those has a theoretically infinite but practically finite number
of possible values. Cuz if Math.random() is used, it chooses a random number
between 0 and 1. There are, in theory, infinitely many--even uncountably
many--such numbers, but puters truncate decimal expansions to a max of 32 or
64 decimal places, or whatever, so that there's a finite number of such
possibilities, just like there's a finite number of numbers between 0 and 1
with 2 decimal places.
In addition to the 30+ uses of the Math.random() function in the Aleph Null
code, the user can set the controls to a wide range of values. A very wide
but still finite range. Finite numbers multiplied together, however large,
are still finite numbers. So the range of Aleph Null is finite but
theoretically infinite. That is, if computers could represent infinitely
many numbers between 0 and 1, Aleph Null's range would be infinite.
Consequently--and this is such a geeky joke you must forgive me--the title
of the piece is false advertising. But it aspires to the infinite. "Aleph
null" is a term from mathematics that refers to the first order of infinity,
the level of infinity of the counting numbers and the rational numbers. "Our
reach should exceed our grasp, or what's a heaven for?" (Robert Browning)
In any case, when we consider the combinatorial range of a generative piece,
the real thing of interest, I think, is the stylistic range. A piece may
have a theoretically infinite combinatorial range but have a very limited
stylistic range. The notion of the stylistic range of a piece is a
subjective notion that concerns the number of significantly different
'looks' the piece can generate.
To answer your question about whether I am "planning to do anything in real
time that would create the image in the users browser" the answer is it's
already done at http://vispo.com/aleph/an.htm
Thanks for your interest, John!
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