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08/03/2004

Six Degrees of Computation

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  This idea would require a simple computer program that displayed a screen asking 3 questions -
  1. What equation/formula are you interested in?
  2. What constant do you want replaced?
  3. How many degrees of separation do you want?
  After you answer the questions the program would search a database that had been pre-loaded with as many standard equations / formulae as possible (engineering books are full of them) looking for ones that said the chosen constant equaled something else. The first equation it found would then be used as a replacement value in the formula you chose. This is the first degree of separation. Next, each constant in the replacement value would be substituted with equivalent equations found for them. The second degree of separation. The process would continue until you got the number of degrees of separation you asked for and then the result would be displayed. Some new and surprising connections will be sure to come up because the program will be acting like a divergent thinker (someone who can take two ideas from seemingly unconnected disciplines to form a new idea).
  The following two rules would have to be enforced in order to make this program work -
  1. Each constant must always mean the same thing: m=mass, c=speed of light, etc.
  2. No replacement formula could have a constant that was used in a previous formula (to prevent recursive logic).
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