[Fis] whether this useful simulation is information, data or something else?

Gordana Dodig-Crnkovic gordana.dodig-crnkovic at mdh.se
Tue Mar 31 12:46:12 CEST 2020

Dear Mark,
There are many people in this list much more capable of answering your questions.
I try it, in my simple-minded way. Here is my attempt, and my last post for this week.
All the best

From: Fis <fis-bounces en listas.unizar.es> on behalf of Mark Johnson <johnsonmwj1 en gmail.com>
Date: Monday, 30 March 2020 at 22:34
To: fis <fis en listas.unizar.es>
Subject: Re: [Fis] whether this useful simulation is information, data or something else?

Hi Gordana and Krassimir,

This was the essence of my earlier question.

If simulation is a "tool", where do we separate the tool from the information?

  *   Tool is also information. How do we know which is the information produced by the tool, and which is the tool itself?

I would say the output of the program/the tool may be a set of data, or information or a piece of knowledge (for us, we are always as cognitive agents a part of the process). We are also made of atoms and we study atoms. We are made of cells and we study cells. It is usually possible to make distinction between our tools, our objects and ourselves.

Language, for example, can be considered as a tool for communication. Is the information in the words, or are the words part of the tool?

  *   Both, and here as well an agent (typically living being) is using language as communication tool to generate information (for an itself, an agent!).

When we look at language as implemented in the physical world (in sounds, signs etc.) it presents source of information for us. We say we get information when someone tells us something new. Or even if someone repeats what we know, even then we generate information. Such as: this person is repeating this sentence.

We may, like Maturana, reach the conclusion that there is no information. There is a process involving "structural coupling" between living systems which he calls "languaging". But no "information stuff".

But Maturana only seems to have half the story too. Because within the "consensual domain" there must be a coordination of expectations, and that must depend on anticipation. So time is absolutely tied up in the process. What do we think time is? Is it real or imaginary?

  *   Some think ”time is memory” https://www.nwo.nl/en/research-and-results/research-projects/i/80/12180.html

and it sounds like an interesting thought.

Can one talk of information without time? No. Can one talk of time without information? I doubt it.

  *   I agree

This is what fascinates me about agent-based simulations. You say that it's empirical. What do we mean when we say that? That its discarding of information about the world conforms to ways in which we are comfortable to discard information about our realities? This would be another way of reading Hume's basic thesis on empiricism concerning regular successions of events. Empirical regularities coordinate expectations by discarding information, don't they?

  *   Yes and I think even here we must close the loop in a cognizing agent. Simulations make sense for us. As we have a memory, and capacity to reason, compare patterns, anticipate, etc. We are active in relation to simulation.

Best wishes


On Mon, 30 Mar 2020, 20:39 Gordana Dodig-Crnkovic, <gordana.dodig-crnkovic en mdh.se<mailto:gordana.dodig-crnkovic en mdh.se>> wrote:
Dear Krassimir,
I apologize for missing your mail. It is quite chaotic these days.
Not sure if I understand the question.
Is it whether simulation is information, data or something else (I assume knowledge)?
Simulation is a tool that can be used to produce data, information and knowledge.
Simulation among can be seen as replacement for/equivalent to experiment.
In the same way as you can use experiment to generate data, information or knowledge, you can use simulation*.
Best wishes,

*See for example:
F. Guala, “Models, simulations, and experiments,” in Model-Based Reasoning: Science, Technology, Values, L. Magnani and
M. Morgan and M. Morrison, “Models as mediating instruments,” in Models as Mediating. Perspectives on Natural and Social Sciences, M. Morgan, M. Morrison,
M. Morgan, “Experiments without material intervention,” in The philosophy of scientific experimentation, H.Radder,Ed. University of Pittsburgh Press, 2003.
——, “Experiments versus models: New phenomena, inference and surprise.” Journal of Economic Methodology, vol. 12: 2, pp. 317–329, 2005.
M. Morrison, “Models, measurement and computer simulation: the changing face of experimentation,” Philosophical Studies, vol. 143,pp. 33–47, 2009.

From: Fis <fis-bounces en listas.unizar.es<mailto:fis-bounces en listas.unizar.es>> on behalf of Krassimir Markov <markov en foibg.com<mailto:markov en foibg.com>>
Organisation: ITHEA
Reply to: Krassimir Markov <markov en foibg.com<mailto:markov en foibg.com>>
Date: Monday, 30 March 2020 at 14:11
To: "annette.grathoff en is4si.org<mailto:annette.grathoff en is4si.org>" <annette.grathoff en is4si.org<mailto:annette.grathoff en is4si.org>>, "fis en listas.unizar.es<mailto:fis en listas.unizar.es>" <fis en listas.unizar.es<mailto:fis en listas.unizar.es>>
Subject: [Fis] whether this useful simulation is information, data or something else?

Dear Annette and FIS Colleagues,

The following question I had sent to Gordana offline due to the FIS limit of number of posts per week.
I see it is still actual, so I resend it now.

In line with the FIS discussion, I would kindly ask you to tell, in your view, whether this useful simulation is information, data or something else?

Be healthy and in good spirit!
Friendly greetings

From: annette.grathoff en is4si.org<mailto:annette.grathoff en is4si.org>
Sent: Monday, March 30, 2020 12:46 PM
To: gordana.dodig-crnkovic en mdh.se<mailto:gordana.dodig-crnkovic en mdh.se> ; fis en listas.unizar.es<mailto:fis en listas.unizar.es>
Subject: Re: [Fis] Excellent simulation

Dear colleagues,

Grant Sanderson (3blue1brown) did it again. Please do not tell me you never heard of him and his excellent YouTube science-knowledge visualization videos! He changed the interest of thousands of people for abstract mathematical ideas, making them concrete and more tangible by his excellent simulation videos. He originally came from the Khan Academy team as you can read here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3Blue1Brown<https://eur01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fen.wikipedia.org%2Fwiki%2F3Blue1Brown&data=02%7C01%7Cgordana.dodig-crnkovic%40mdh.se%7C11f4e96f9e204dca41c608d7d4e9bd29%7Ca1795b64dabd4758b988b309292316cf%7C0%7C0%7C637211972677574775&sdata=S44XvtCZtSKRU%2BlwOeADCJi3Ht9cAbi9EeWru%2BUTcX4%3D&reserved=0>.

This I say as Annette Grathoff, not as the General secretary: My personal opinion is that every scientist interested in informing curious people and raising interest in scientific knowledge should know his videos. This is how information about important concepts is enabled to spread many times faster than when relying solely on the classical ways. It does science well to spread channels like his, after you (not only) scientifically approved of the content.

Best wishes and stay healthy,


Gordana Dodig-Crnkovic wrote on 29.03.2020 12:17 (GMT +02:00):
Dear colleagues,

Please have a look at this excellent simulation:

which makes me think about how powerful thinking tools
that computation and information/data really offer.

Stay safe and take care,

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