Tag Archive: technology



The Antikythera mechanism is a 2,100-year-old computer:

Wikipedia
Antikythera mechanism Wikipedia

116 years ago (1902), divers found a chunk of bronze off a Greek island. It has radically changed our understanding of human history.

One hundred sixteen years ago, an archaeologist was sifting through objects found in the wreck of a 2,000-year-old vessel off the Greek island Antikythera. Among the wreck’s treasures, fine vases and pots, jewellery and, fittingly enough, a bronze statue of an ancient philosopher, he found a peculiar contraption, consisting of a series of brass gears and dials mounted in a case the size of a mantel clock. Archaeologists dubbed the instrument the Antikythera mechanism. The genius — and mystery — of this piece of ancient Greek technology is that arguably it is the world’s first computer. If we gaze inside the machine, we find clear evidence of at least two dozen gears, laid neatly on top of one another, calibrated with the precision of a master-crafted Swiss watch. This was a level of technology that archaeologists would usually date to the sixteenth century AD. But a mystery remained: What was this contraption used for? 

To archaeologists, it was immediately apparent that the mechanism was some sort of clock, calendar or calculating device. But they had no idea what it was for. For decades, they debated. Was the Antikythera a toy model of the planets or was it a kind of early astrolabe, a device which calculates latitude?

IMAGE ancient

At long last, in 1959, Princeton science historian Derek J. de Solla Price provided the most convincing scientific analysis of this amazing device to date. After a meticulous study of the gears, he deduced that the mechanism was used to predict the position of the planets and stars in the sky depending on the calendar month. The single primary gear would move to represent the calendar year, and would, in turn, activate many separate smaller gears to represent the motions of the planets, sun and moon. So you could set the main gear to the calendar date and get close approximations for where those celestial objects in the sky on that date. And Price declared in the pages of Scientific American that it was a computer: “The mechanism is like a great astronomical clock ... or like a modern analogue computer which uses mechanical parts to save tedious calculation.”
 
Anticythera mechanism frontal

Antikythera mechanism original
It was a computer in the sense that you, as a user, could input a few simple variables and it would yield a flurry of complicated mathematical calculations. Today the programming of computers is written in digital code, a series of ones and zeros. This ancient analog clock had its code written into the mathematical ratios of its gears. All the user had to do was enter the main date on one gear, and through a series of subsequent gear revolutions, the mechanism could calculate variables such as the angle of the sun crossing the sky. As a point of referencdee, mechanical calculators using gear ratios to add and subtract, didn’t surface in Europe until the 1600s. 

Since Price’s assessment, modern X-ray and 3D mapping technology have allowed scientists to peer deeper into the remains of the mechanism to learn even more of its secrets. In the early 2000s, researchers discovered text in the guise of an instruction manual that had never been seen before, inscribed on parts of the mechanism. The text, written in tiny typeface but legible ancient Greek, helped them bring closure to complete the puzzle of what the machine did and how it was operated.
 
The mechanism had several dials and clock faces, each which served a different function for measuring movements of the sun, moon, stars, and planets, but they were all operated by just one main crank. Small stone or glass orbs moved across the machine’s face to show the motion of Mercury, Venus, Mars, Saturn, and Jupiter in the night sky and the position of the sun and moon relative to the 12 constellations of the zodiac. Another dial would forecast solar and lunar eclipses and even, amazingly enough, predictions about their colour. Today, researchers surmise that different coloured eclipses were considered omens of the future. After all, the ancient Greeks, like all ancients, were a little superstitious. 

The mechanism consisted of:
- a solar calendar, charting the 365 days of the year 
- a lunar calendar, counting a 19 year lunar cycle 
- a tiny pearl-size ball that rotated to illustrate the phase of the moon, and another dial that counted down the days to regularly scheduled sporting events around the Greek isles, like the Olympics.  The mechanics of this device are absurdly complicated. A 2006, in the journal Nature, a paper plotted out a highly complex schematic of the mechanics that connect all the gears. 

Researchers are still not sure who exactly used it. Did philosophers, scientists and even mariners build it to assist them in their calculations? Or was it a type of a teaching tool, to show students the math that held the cosmos together? Was it unique? Or are there more similar devices yet to be discovered? To date, none others have been found.

Its assembly remains another mystery. How the ancient Greeks accomplished this astonishing feat is unknown to this day. Whatever it was used for and however it was built, we know this: its discovery has forever changed our understanding of human history, and reminds us that flashes of genius are possible in every human era. Nothing like this instrument is preserved elsewhere. Nothing comparable to it is known from any ancient scientific text or literary allusion,” Price wrote in 1959. “It is a bit frightening, to know that just before the fall of their great civilization the ancient Greeks had come so close to our age, not only in their thought, but also in their scientific technology.”

There are amazing fully operational modern versions of the Antikythera Mechanism, such as these:

3d-reconstruction-ancient-antikythera-mechanism-770x437

another modern version of the Antikythera mechanism

Antikythera_model_front_panel_Mogi_Vicentini_2007


Provisional count of Mycenaean-derived vocabulary in Linear A = 33.4 %:

provisional count of New Minoan words in Linear A

I have just finished calculating the provisional maximum number of probable/possible Mycenaean-derived New Minoan words in our Linear A Lexicon of 988 words, and the count comes to 330, which is 33.4%. However, there is still a good deal of research to be done before I can determine how many of these potential New Minoan words are in fact just that. I estimate that, once I have eliminated the possible candidates, and restricted myself to the probable, this figure should drop to around 25%, which is roughly in line with the percentage of French words in English = 29%.


Is the Minoan Linear A labrys inscribed with I-DA-MA-TE in Minoan or in proto-Greek? PART A: Is it in the Minoan language?

In my previous post on the Minoan Linear A labrys inscribed with I-DA-MA-TE, I postulated that the word Idamate was probably either the name of the king or of the high priestess (of the labyrinth?) to whom this labrys has been ritually dedicated. But in so doing I was taking the path of least resistance, by seeking out the two most simplistic decipherments which would be the least likely to prove troublesome or controversial. In retrospect, that was a cop-out.

No sooner had I posted my two alternate simplistic translations than I was informed by a close colleague of mine in the field of diachronic historical linguistics focusing on Minoan Linear A and Mycenaean Linear B that at least two other alternative decipherments came into play, these being:

1. that the term Idamate may be the Minoan equivalent of the Mycenaean Linear B Damate, which is apparently an early version of the ancient Greek, Demeter, who was the goddess of cereals and harvesting:

demeter-ceres-greco-roman-marble-statue-state-hermitage-museum-st-petersburg

linear-b-lexicon-damate-demeter

2. that the term Idamate may be Minoan for Mount Ida, in which case, the word Mate = “mount”, such that the phrase actually spells out  “Ida mount(ain)” :

mount-ida-psiloritis

Since both of these decipherments make eminent sense, either could, at least theoretically, be correct.
 
But there is a third alternative, and it is far more controversial and compelling than either of the first two. 

3. It is even possible that the four syllabograms I DA MA & TE are in fact supersyllabograms, which is to say that each syllabogram is the first syllabogram, i.e. the first syllable of a word, presumably a Minoan word. But if these 4 supersyllabograms represent four consecutive Minoan words, what on earth could these words possibly signify, in light of the fact that we know next to nothing about the Minoan language. It appears we are caught in an irresolvable Catch-22.

Yet my own recent research has allowed me to tease potential decipherments out of 107 or about 21 % of all intact words in Prof. John G. Youngers Linear A lexicon of 510 terms by my own arbitrary count. Scanning this scanty glossary yielded me numerous variations on 3 terms which might conceivably make sense in at least one suppositious context. These terms (all of which I have tentatively deciphered) are:

1. For I: itaja = unit of liquid volume for olive oil (exact value unknown)

2. FOR DA: either:
daropa = stirrup jar = Linear B karawere (high certainty)
or
datara = (sacred) grove of olive trees
or
data2 (datai) = olive, pl. date = Linear B erawo
or
datu = olive oil
or
daweda = medium size amphora with two handles

3. For TE:
tereza = large unit of dry or liquid measurement
or
tesi = small unit of measurement

But I cannot find any equivalent for MA other than maru, which seemingly means “wool”, even in Minoan Linear A, this being the apparent equivalent of Mycenaean Linear B mari or mare.  The trouble is that this term (if that is what the third supersyllabogram in idamate stands in for) does not contextually mesh at all with any of the alternatives for the other three words symbolized by their respective supersyllabograms.

But does that mean the phrase is not Minoan? Far from it. There are at least 2 cogent reasons for exercising extreme caution in jumping to the conclusion that the phrase cannot be in Minoan. These are:    
1. that the decipherments of all of the alternative terms I have posited for the supersyllabograms I DA & TE above are all tentative, even if they are more than likely to be close to the mark and some of them probably bang on (for instance, daropa), which I believe they are;
2. that all 3 of the supersyllabograms I DA & TE may instead stand for entirely different Minoan words, none of which I have managed to decipher. And God knows there are plenty of them!  Since I have managed to decipher only 107 of 510 extant intact Minoan Linear A words by my arbitrary count, that leaves 403 or 79 % undeciphered!  That is far too great a figure to be blithely brushed aside. 

The > impact of combinations of a > number of Minoan Linear A words on their putative decipherment:

combinations-with-repetition-and-their-impact-on-the-decipherment-of-minoan-linear-a-terms

To give you a rough idea of the number of undeciphered Minoan words beginning with I DA & TE I have not been able to account for, here we have a cross-section of just a few of those words from Prof. John G. Younger’s Linear A Reverse Lexicon:
which are beyond my ken:

linear-a-reverse-lexicon

For I:
iininuni
ijadi
imetu
irima
itaki

For DA:
dadana
daini
daki
daku
daqaqa

For MA:
madadu
majasa
manuqa
masuri

For TE:
tedatiqa
tedekima
tenamipi
teneruda

But the situation is far more complex than it appears at first sight. To give you just a notion of the enormous impact of exponential mathematical permutations and combinations on the potential for gross errors in any one of a substantial number of credible decipherments of any given number of Minoan Linear A terms as listed even in the small cross-section of the 100s of Minoan Words in Prof. John G. Younger’s Reverse Linear A Lexicon, all we have to do is relate the mathematical implications of the  chart on permutations to any effort whatsoever at the decipherment of even a relatively small no. of Minoan Linear A words:

CLICK on the chart of permutations to link to the URL where the discussion of both permutations and combinations occurs:

permutations-and-the-decipherment-of-minoan-linear-a

to realize how blatantly obvious it is that any number of interpretations of any one of the selective cross-section of terms which I have listed here can be deemed the so-called actual term corresponding to the supersyllabogram which supposedly represents it. But, and I must emphatically stress my point, this is just a small cross-section of all of the terms in the Linear B Reverse Lexicon beginning with each of  the supersyllabograms I DA MA & TE in turn.

It is grossly obvious that, if we allow for the enormous number of permutations and combinations to which the supersyllabograms I DA MA & TE must categorically be  subjected mathematically, it is quite out of the question to attempt any decipherment of these 4 supersyllabograms, I DA MA & TE, without taking context absolutely into consideration. And even in that eventuality, there is no guarantee whatsoever that any putative decipherment of each of these supersyllabograms (I DA MA & TE) in turn in the so-called Minoan language will actually hold water, since after all, a smaller, but still significant subset of an extremely large number of permutation and combinations must still remain incontestably in effect.

The mathematics of the aforementioned equations simply stack up to a very substantial degree against any truly convincing decipherment of any single Minoan Linear A term, except for one small consideration (or as it turns out, not so small at all). As it so happens, and as we have posited in our first two alternative decipherments above, i.e.
1. that Idamate is Minoan for Mycenaean Damate, the probable equivalent of classical Greek Demeter, or
2. that Idamate actually means “Mount Ida”,

these two possible decipherments which do make sense can be extrapolated from the supersyllabograms I DA MA & TE, at least if we take into account the Minoan Linear A terms beginning with I DA & TE (excluding TE), which I have managed, albeit tentatively, to decipher.

However, far too many putative decipherments of the great majority of words in the Minoan language itself are at present conceivable, at least to my mind. Yet, this scenario is quite likely to change in the near future, given that I have already managed to tentatively decipher 107 or 21 % of 510 extant Minoan Linear A words, by my arbitrary count.  It is entirely conceivable that under these circumstances I shall be able to decipher even more Minoan language words in the near future. In point of fact, if Idamate actually does mean either Idamate (i.e. Demeter) or Ida Mate (i.e. Mount Ida), then:
(a) with only 2 possible interpretations for IDAMATE now taken into account, the number of combinations and permutations is greatly reduced to an almost insignificant amount &
(b) the actual number of Minoan Linear A words I have deciphered to date rises from 107 to 108 (in a Boolean OR configuration, whereby we can add either  “Demeter” or “Mount Ida” to our Lexicon, but not both).  A baby step this may be, but a step forward regardless. 


Check out my super nifty PINTEREST board, D-Wave and Quantum Computers!

pinterest-d-wave-and-quantum-computers


If quantum... a sonnet on quantum mechanics & computing and the mind

boson-god-particle

If quantumGod does not play dice with the universe.” 
- Albert Einstein, The Born-Einstein Letters, 1916-55 
... or does He?


If quantum is the boson of the mind,
if D-Wave is the wave the future rides,
if we are ready not to be purblind,
if we can take in bounds prodigious strides,
if God is in our molecules (or not),
if we are God Himself... or He is we,
with what is heaven’s promise fraught?
... or what’s unseen beyond we’ve yet to see?
If we’ve overshot the rim of space and time,
where were we likely sooner to arrive?
... and is the universe still as sublime
as ever? ... or are we now in overdrive?
     If you are reading this and feel confused,
     Well, join the club. I also am bemused.


Richard Vallance,


January 18, 2017



We are now following D-Wave Quantum Computers (Burnaby, B.C., Canada) on Twitter! You may want to also...

d-wave-systems

 

 


The staggering implications of the power of our unconscious mindset coupled with quantum computint in the endeavour to make great technological strides in linguistics! PART A:

all-in-your-mind



Or look at it this way! Quantum computers can tunnel through any complex quantum landscape, visiting all points simultaneously! This feat leaves conventional digital computers in the dust!

To illustrate again:


d-wave-quantum-computers-ability-to-handle-quantum-landscapes

quantum-landscape-energy-map

quantum-computing-landscape


optimization-landscapes-620

science-a



The partial decipherment of Minoan Linear A: what I started, quantum computing could polish off! PART B

figure-14-minoan-linear-a-ht-114-to-129

figure-16-linear-a-ht-132-qareto-lease-field

figure-18-kireza-unit-of-standard-measurment-for-figs-1-basket


The partial decipherment of Minoan Linear A: what I started, quantum computing could polish off! PART A

figure-9-ht-12-qatidate-olive-tree

figure-11-what-is-the-minoan-linear-a-word-for-figs

figure-12-minoan-linear-a-tablet-ht-94-kapa



NOTA BENE! Quantum computing is already here! ... in 2017!... far far sooner than anyone had ever speculated or had even dreamed it could come into being! And it has staggering implications for huge advances in all branches of technology and the sciences! 

Dwave: the Quantum Computing Company (Click here): 

dwave-welcomoe-to-the-future

right here in Canada, no less, has just invented the first truly functional quantum computer. And the implications for the near, let alone the more distant, future of every branch of technology and for all of the sciences mankind is cognizant of are nothing short of staggering, indeed, dare I say, earth-shattering.

What is a quantum computer?

ALL ITALICS MINE

To quote verbatim the D-Wave company's definition of quantum computing:

A quantum computer taps directly into the fundamental fabric of reality — the strange and counter-intuitive world of quantum mechanics — to speed computation.

Quantum Computation:

Rather than store information as 0s or 1s as conventional computers do, a quantum computer uses qubits – which can be a 1 or a 0 or both at the same time. This “quantum superposition”, along with the quantum effects of entanglement and quantum tunnelling, enable quantum computers to consider and manipulate all combinations of bits simultaneously, making quantum computation powerful and fast.

How D-Wave Systems Work:

Quantum computing uses an entirely different approach than (sic: i.e. from) classical computing. A useful analogy is to think of a landscape with mountains and valleys. Solving optimization problems can be thought of as trying to find the lowest point on this landscape. (In quantum computers), every possible solution is mapped to coordinates on the landscape (all at the same time) , and the altitude of the landscape is the “energy’” or “cost” of the solution at that point. The aim is to find the lowest point on the map and read the coordinates, as this gives the lowest energy, or optimal solution to the problem.

Classical computers running classical algorithms can only “walk over this landscape”. Quantum computers can tunnel through the landscape making it faster to find the lowest point. The D-Wave processor considers all the possibilities simultaneously to determine the lowest energy required to form those relationships. The computer returns many very good answers in a short amount of time - 10,000 answers in one second. This gives the user not only the optimal solution or a single answer, but also other alternatives to choose from.

D-Wave systems use “quantum annealing” to solve problems. Quantum annealing “tunes” qubits from their superposition state to a classical state to return the set of answers scored to show the best solution.

Programming D-Wave:

To program the system a user maps their problem into this search for the lowest point. A user interfaces with the quantum computer by connecting to it over a network, as you would with a traditional computer (Comment by myself: This is one of the vital factors in the practical usefulness of the quantum computer). The user’s problems are sent to a server interface, which turns the optimization program into machine code to be programmed onto the chip. The system then executes a “quantum machine instruction” and the results are returned to the user.

D-Wave systems are designed to be used in conjunction with classical computers, as a “quantum co-processor”.

D-Wave’s flagship product, the 1000-qubit D-Wave 2X quantum computer, is the most advanced quantum computer in the world. It is based on a novel type of superconducting processor that uses quantum mechanics to massively accelerate computation. It is best suited to tackling complex optimization problems that exist across many domains such as:

Optimization 
Machine Learning 
Pattern Recognition and Anomaly Detection 
Financial Analysis 
Software/Hardware Verification and Validation

For the massive capabilities and the astounding specs of the D-Wave computer, Click on this link:

d-wave-2x-systewm

273-degress-celsius-near-absolute-zero

Comment by myself: Apparently, the severest limitation of the quantum computer (at least the first generation represented by D-Wave) is that it can only function at the temperature of – 273 celsius, i.e. a mere 0.015 degrees celsius above absolute zero, 180 X colder than the coldest temperature in the universe. But this limitation is merely apparent. Some will have it that this severe restriction makes the machine impractical, since, as they believe, it cannot be networkeed. But nothing could be further from the truth. It can be networked, and it is networked. All that is required is an external link from the near-absolute zero internal configuration of a quantum computer to the external wiring or wireless communication at room temperature at its peripheral to connect it directly to one or more digital computer consoles, thereby allowing the user(s) to connect the quantum computer indirectly to, you got it, the world wide web.

The implications of this real-world connectivity are simply staggering. Since the quantum computer, which is millions of times faster than the faster supercomputer in the world, it can directly feed its answers to any technological or scientific problem it can tackle at super-lightning speed to even personal computers, let alone the fastest supercomputers in existence! It instantly feeds its super-lightning calculations to the “terminal” computer and network (i.e. the Internet), thereby effectively making the latter (digital) system(s) virtually much more rapid than they actually are in reality, if you can wrap that one around your head.
    
MORE ON THE NATURE OF QUANTUM COMPUTING:

From this site:

quantum-computing-ions-sealed-in-a-vacuum

I quote, again verbatim:

Whereas classical computers encode information as bits that can be in one of two states, 0 or 1, the ‘qubits’ that comprise quantum computers can be in ‘superpositions’ of both at once. This, together with qubits’ ability to share a quantum state called entanglement, should enable the computers to essentially perform many calculations at once (i.e. simultaneously). And the number of such calculations should, in principle, double for each additional qubit, leading to an exponential speed-up.

This rapidity should allow quantum computers to perform certain tasks, such as searching large databases or factoring large numbers, which would be unfeasible for slower, classical computers. The machines could also be transformational as a research tool, performing quantum simulations that would enable chemists to understand reactions in unprecedented detail, or physicists to design materials that superconduct at room temperature.

The team plans to achieve this using a ‘chaotic’ quantum algorithm that produces what looks like a random output. If the algorithm is run on a quantum computer made of relatively few qubits, a classical machine can predict its output. But once the quantum machine gets close to about 50 qubits, even the largest classical supercomputers will fail to keep pace, the team predicts.  

And yet again, from another major site:

wauntum-computing-to-overtrun-cybersecuritySpooky action at a distance” is how Albert Einstein described one of the key principles of quantum mechanics: entanglement. Entanglement occurs when two particles become related such that they can coordinate their properties instantly even across a galaxy. Think of wormholes in space or Star Trek transporters that beam atoms to distant locations. Quantum mechanics posits other spooky things too: particles with a mysterious property called superposition, which allows them to have a value of one and zero at the same time; and particles’ ability to tunnel through barriers as if they were walking through a wall.

All of this seems crazy, but it is how things operate at the atomic level: the laws of physics are different. Einstein was so skeptical about quantum entanglement that he wrote a paper in 1935 titled “Can quantum-mechanical description of physical reality be considered complete?” He argued that it was not possible.
In this, Einstein has been proven wrong. Researchers recently accessed entangled information over a distance of 15 miles. They are making substantial progress in harnessing the power of quantum mechanics.

Einstein was right, though, about the spookiness of all this.

D-Wave says it has created the first scalable quantum computer. (D-Wave): 

Quantum mechanics is now being used to construct a new generation of computers that can solve the most complex scientific problems—and unlock every digital vault in the world. These will perform in seconds computations that would have taken conventional computers millions of years. They will enable better weather forecasting, financial analysis, logistical planning, search for Earth-like planets, and drug discovery. And they will compromise every bank record, private communication, and password on every computer in the world — because modern cryptography is based on encoding data in large combinations of numbers, and quantum computers can guess these numbers almost instantaneously.

There is a race to build quantum computers, and (as far as we know) it isn’t the NSA that is in the lead. Competing are big tech companies such as IBM, Google, and Microsoft; start-ups; defence contractors; and universities. One Canadian start-up says that it has already developed a first version of a quantum computer. A physicist at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, Ronald Hanson, told Scientific American that he will be able to make the building blocks of a universal quantum computer in just five years, and a fully-functional demonstration machine in a little more than a decade.

These will change the balance of power in business and cyber-warfare. They have profound national security implications, because they are the technology equivalent of a nuclear weapon.

Let me first explain what a quantum computer is and where we are.

In a classical computer, information is represented in bits, binary digits, each of which can be a 0 or 1. Because they only have only two values, long sequences of 0s and 1s are necessary to form a number or to do a calculation. A quantum bit (called a qubit), however, can hold a value of 0 or 1 or both values at the same time — a superposition denoted as “0+1.”

The power of a quantum computer increases exponentially with the number of qubits. Rather than doing computations sequentially as classical computers do, quantum computers can solve problems by laying out all of the possibilities simultaneously and measuring the results.

Imagine being able to open a combination lock by trying every possible number and sequence at the same time. Though the analogy isn’t perfect — because of the complexities in measuring the results of a quantum calculation — it gives you an idea of what is possible.

Most researchers I have spoken to say that it is a matter of when — not whether — quantum computing will be practical. Some believe that this will be as soon as five years; others say 20 years. (ADDDENDUM by myself. WRONG! Not in 20 years, but right now. We have already invented the first functional quantum computer, the D-Wave (see above)). 

One Canada-based startup, D-Wave, says it has already has done it. Its chief executive, Vern Brownell, said to me in an e-mail that D-Wave Systems has created the first scalable quantum computer, with proven entanglement, and is now working on producing the best results possible for increasingly complex problems. He qualified this claim by stressing that their approach, called “adiabatic computing,” may not be able to solve every problem but has a broad variety of uses in optimizing computations; sampling; machine learning; and constraint satisfaction for commerce, national defence, and science. He says that the D-Wave is complementary to digital computers; a special-purpose computing resource designed for certain classes of problems.

The D-Wave Two computer has 512 qubits and can, in theory, perform 2 raised to 512 operations simultaneously. That’s more calculations than there are atoms in the universe — by many orders of magnitude. Brownell says the company will soon be releasing a quantum processor with more than 1,000 qubits. He says that his computer won’t run Shor’s algorithm, an algorithm necessary for cryptography, but it has potential uses in image detection, logistics, protein mapping and folding, Monte Carlo simulations and financial modeling, oil exploration, and finding exoplanets (and allow me to add, in breaking the entire genome!)

So quantum computers are already here in a limited form, and fully functional versions are on the way. They will be as transformative for mankind as were the mainframe computers, personal computers, and smartphones that we all use. As do all advancing technologies, they will also create new nightmares. The most worrisome development will be in cryptography. Developing new standards for protecting data won’t be easy. The RSA standards that are in common use each took five years to develop. Ralph Merkle, a pioneer of public-key cryptography, points out that the technology of public-key systems, because it is less well-known, will take longer to update than these — optimistically, ten years. And then there is a matter of implementation so that computer systems worldwide are protected. Without a particular sense of urgency or shortcuts, Merkle says, it could easily be 20 years before we’ve replaced all of the Internet’s present security-critical infrastructure.

(ADDENDUM: I think not! It will happen far, far sooner than that! I predict possibly as early as 2020.)  It is past time we began preparing for the spooky technology future we are rapidly heading into. Quantum computing represents the most staggering and the swiftest advancement of human hyperintelligence in the history of humankind, with the potential for unlocking some of the most arcane secrets of the universe itself. It signifies, not just a giant, but literally a quantum leap in human intelligence way, way beyond the pale. If we thought the Singularity was near before the advent of the quantum computer, what about now? Think about this, even for the merest split second, and you will blow your own mind!   It certainly blew mine!  Think of this too. What if one were to directly tap the human mind into a room temperature digital peripheral of a quantum computer? What then? I pretty much have a very good idea of what then!  

The staggering implications of quantum computing for the potential total decipherment of, not only Minoan Linear A, but of every other as yet undeciphered, unknown ancient language:
 
In the next post, I shall expostulate the profound implications the advent of the quantum computer is bound to have on the decipherment of not only Minoan Linear A, but of every other as-yet unknown, and undeciphered, ancient language. I strongly suspect that we will now soon be able to crack Minoan Linear A, and several other unknown ancient languages to boot.

And, trust me, I shall be one of the first historical linguists at the forefront of this now potentially attainable goal, which is now tantalizingly within our reach. 


Bahai’ = the latest Dispensation from God = Progressive Revelation

Imagine my astonishment when I happened across the teachings of the Bahai’ Faith, which came into being in the latter part of the nineteenth century. Its teachings are revolutionary. It allows one to keep the faith of one’s birth, in my case, Christian, but it opens up so many avenues to a faith greater than all religions, including itself. The Bahais firmly believe that theirs is not the last revelation, that more are to come. This sets them apart from all past religions.  Unlike all previous religions of the past, the Bahai’ faith firmly counsels universal education, the education of women and the equal rights of women and men, the promotion and teaching of technology and science, and the list goes on and on. This sort of religion truly appeals to an intellectual such as myself. I shall be posting the tenets of the Bahai’ faith on a regular basis here on Minoan Linear A, Linear B, Knossos & Mycenae.

Here are the first three observations from the faith:

one-country

science-a

education-of-women

They are real eye-openers!


Comparison of the Merits/Demerits of the Linear B, Greek & Latin Numeric Systems:

Linear B:

As can be readily discerned from the Mycenaean Linear B Numeric System, it was quite nicely suited for accounting purposes, which was the whole idea in the first place. We can see at once that it was a simple matter to count as far as 99,999. Click to ENLARGE:

Mycenaean Linear B Numeric System and Alpha

In the ancient world, such a number would have been considered enormous.  When you are counting sheep, you surely don't need to run into the millions (neither, I wager, would the sheep, or it would have been an all-out stampede off a cliff!)  It worked well for addition (a requisite accounting function), but not for subtraction, multiplication, division or any other mathematical formulae. Why not subtraction, you ask?  Subtraction is used in modern credit/deficit accounting,  but the Minoans and Mycenaeans took no account (pardon the pun) of deficit spending, as the notion was utterly unknown to them. Since Mycenaean accounting ran for the current fiscal year only, or as they called it, “weto” or “the running year”, and all tablets were erased once the “fiscal” year was over, then re-used all over for reasons of practicality and economy, this was just one more reason why credit/deficit accounting held no practical interest to them. Other than that, the Linear B numeric accounting system served its purpose very well indeed, being perhaps one of the most transparent and quite possibly the simplest, ancient numerical systems.

Of course, the Linear B numerical accounting system never survived antiquity, since its entire syllabary was literally buried and forgotten with the wholesale destruction of Mycenaean civilization around 1200 BCE (out of sight, out of mind) for some 3,100 years before Sir Arthur Evans excavated Knossos starting in early 1900, and successfully deciphered Linear B numerics shortly thereafter. This “inconvenient truth” does not mean, however, that it was all that deficient, especially for purposes of accounting, for which it was specifically designed in the first place. 

Greek:

Greek alpha-numeric
On the other hand, the Greek numeric system was purely alphabetic, as illustrated above. It was of course possible to count into the tens of thousands, using additional alphabetic symbols, as in the Mycenaean Linear B system, except that the Greeks were not anywhere near as obsessive over the picayune details of accounting, counting every single commodity, every bloody animal and every last person employed in any industry whatsoever.  The Minoan-Mycenaean economy was hierarchical, excruciatingly centralized and obsessive down to the very last minutiae. Not surprisingly, they shared this zealous, blinkered approach to accounting with their contemporaries, the Egyptians, with whom the Minoan-Mycenaean trade routes and economy were inextricably bound on a vast scale... much more  on this later in 2014 and 2015, when we come to translating a large number of Linear B transactional economic and trade records.

However, we must never forget that the Greek alphabetic system of numeric notation was the only one to survive antiquity, married as it is to the universal Arabic numeric system in use today, in the fields of geometry, theoretical and applied algebra, advanced calculus and physics applications. Click to ENLARGE:

geometry with Greek and English algebraic annotation 
It would have been impossible for us to have made such enormous technological strides ever since the Renaissance, were it not for the felicitous marriage of alphabetic Greek and Arabic numerics (0-10), which are universally applied to all fields, both theoretical and practical, of mathematics, physics and technology today. Never forget that the Arabians took the concept of nul or zero (0) to the limit, and that theirs is the decimal system applied the world over right on through to computer science and the Internet.

Latin (Click to ENLARGE):

Latin 1-1000

When we come to the Roman/Latin numeric system, we are at once faced with a byzantine complexity, which takes the alphabetic Greek numeric system to its most extreme. Even the ancient Greeks and Romans were well aware of the convolutions of the Latin numeric system, which made the Greek pale in comparison. And Roman numerics are notoriously clumsy for denoting very large figures into the hundreds of thousands. Beside the Roman system, the Linear B approach to numerics looks positively like child's play. Thus, while major elements of the alphabetic Greek numeric system are still in wide use today, the Roman system has practically fallen into obscurity, its applications being almost entirely esoteric, such as on clock faces or in dating books etc. And even here, while it was still common bibliographic practice to denote the year of publication in Roman numerals right on through most of the twentieth century, this practice has pretty much fallen into disuse, since scarcely anyone can be bothered to read Roman numerals anymore. How much easier it is to give the copyright year as @ 1998 than MCMXCVIII. Even I, who read Latin fluently, find the Arabic numeric notation simpler by far than the Latin. As for hard-nosed devotees of Latin notation, I fear that they are in a tiny minority, and that within a few decades, any practical application of Latin numeric notation will have faded to a historical memory.

Richard
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