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  • Moreover, whilst Schmidt and Lipson are able to pre-specify what the state variables of their systems are - they direct their software to look at positions, velocities and accelerations - in the case of cliodynamics, a central difficulty is identifying what the state variables actually are.

    Archive 2009-04-01 Gordon McCabe 2009

  • As an aside, if it is true that civilization is a non-linear classical physical system, then Schmidt and Lipson's algorithm could perhaps be applied to the data generated by human history, to discover the fundamental laws of cliodynamics.

    Archive 2009-04-01 Gordon McCabe 2009


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  • Peter Turchin: 'Cliodynamics (from Clio, the muse of history, and dynamics, the study of temporally varying processes) is the new transdisciplinary area of research at the intersection of historical macrosociology, economic history/cliometrics, mathematical modeling of long-term social processes, and the construction and analysis of historical databases. Mathematical approaches - modeling historical processes with differential equations or agent-based simulations; sophisticated statistical approaches to data analysis - are a key ingredient in the cliodynamic research program (see "Why do we need mathematical history?" in the side bar). But ultimately the aim is to discover general principles that explain the functioning and dynamics of actual historical societies.'

    April 8, 2009

  • I'd like to see the system of differential equations that maps the spread of syphilitic pustules on the complexion of history across space and time. Perhaps a two-dimensional Furry-Yule diffusion process? Problem is, if you tried solving the system using a neural network, the syphilis spirochetes might infect the neurons, leading to paralysis and possibly a major epileptic system seizure.

    See how easy it is to make up semi-plausible rubbish? I can produce gobs of this stuff at will. Shouldn't somebody be scrambling to hire me to do just that?

    April 9, 2009

  • Just stick with finishing the autobiog: 'My Wanderin' Life As A Purveyor of Demi-Pish'.

    April 9, 2009