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Re: [hdm] notes from last wednesday's phone conversation

From: Ben Loftin
Subject: Re: [hdm] notes from last wednesday's phone conversation
Date: Tue, 28 Mar 2006 09:18:35 -0800
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Woah! That's a lot of info to digest and discuss.  Would it be easier to hold
another phone gathering to discuss the various topics.  Note that this week is
good for me since it is spring break!  Later


Quoting Joe Corneli <address@hidden>:

> I'm going to continue to copy the mailing list, since establishing a
> google footprint (and in general, a public repository of knowledge)
> for HDM can only be a good thing.  I'd encourage ya'll to do the same
> thing.
> I'm thinking about next steps for HDM.  For the last 90 days or so
> (http://planetx.cc.vt.edu/AsteroidMeta/?action=rc;days=90;all=0;showedit=0)
> we seem to have mainly been concerned with organizational matters.
> Besides these, there was discussion in January between me & Ray that
> elucidated some of his thinking on theoretical matters related to
> proofs, and after that, I did more work on Arxana, and things are
> somewhat better grounded there.  Aaron got interested in comingling
> Arxana and Noosphere, and this is motivating.  Ben got interested in
> working on HDM stuff (and just recently posted his notes about MCREEM,
> which look to be a promising beginning to some fun things).
> However, largely due to the organizational, PM-related, work, I think
> HDM has been somewhat stuck in a rut the last two months.  I am
> certainly finding it somewhat challenging to get unstuck.  One of the
> only solutions that comes to mind would be for me to take a "retreat"
> and focus only on Arxana; ideally I'd like to do this before my
> meeting with Aaron which will begin on the 2nd.  However, I continue
> to find it hard to switch my focus to this work, which perhaps
> indicates that there is other unfinished business which needs to get
> resolved first.
> One item that comes to mind is the fact that the HDM project has been
> an almost entirely anarchic and individualistic collaboration.  I
> think more communication about what's coming up with the project would
> help us come up with more of a sense of teamwork; that is, I think
> some setting of doable goals and reasonable timelines would be
> desirable.  This would help to facilitate a richer collaboration.  I
> seem to find it much more motivating when other people are involved
> directly with the things I am working on than when I am stuck working
> on those things alone.
> On this note, one specific point is that it would be nice to get some
> more info from Ray on what we can expect from him and when.  I'm not
> saying this to be pressureful or to unfairly single Ray out; rather,
> I'd just to get some realistic picture of what's coming up.  I think
> it would be nice if all of us could say something about what's coming
> up HDM-wise.
> My sense is that Ray has done more advance planning than me, and that
> it may be somewhat easy for him to make a statement along these lines.
> A statement of him seems particularly desirable given that further
> work on a number of our projects is fairly clearly contingent on a
> version of his work being made available.  I think the MCREEM project
> seems like an interesting alternative task for Ben to work on, and
> Arxana/Noosphere are likely to be enough to keep Aaron & myself busy
> in the mean time; but nevertheless, hcode and the associated provers
> and parsers are fairly central items, and ideally we'd all be somewhat
> involved with their development.  Indeed, per the above, it would be
> great if we could all be interacting as much as possible with all of
> the various aspects of the project, since the social energy would help
> us move forward.
> When considering the organizational aspects of PM, I advanced the idea
> of PM as an e-institute; and I consider HDM to be one of several core
> projects or themes for this institute, and further, I think the four
> of us are well-qualified to be leaders in developing the idea of the
> institute, both through organizational work and research work.
> These are just general reflections, in part a reiteration to the idea
> of the PM strategic plan I was working on, but for HDM.  I.e., I think
> it would be advantageous if we could draft an HDM strategic plan, too.
> One specific point that occured to me today, as an organizational
> principle for HDM, is that rather than (or in parallel with)
> concerning ourselves with reproducing theorems and proofs from a
> resource like Schuam's, we might consider working through proofs from
> works like Polya-Szego, or other problem books.  One book that I
> encountered in San Antonio entitled "Write Your Own Proofs (in Set
> Theory and Discrete Mathematics)" might be another even better place
> to start.  Such books will emphasize proof technique, sometimes
> explicitly (instruction in proof technique), sometimes implicitly
> (asking the reader to provide a solution independently, providing
> hints in the back of the book).
> An additional reason I thought it might be nice to work on these sorts
> of books is that they seem interesting to me!  In addition, the
> reflective mood that problem-solving puts one into may be the closest
> thing to an extended "retreat" (per above) that I could reasonably
> hope to introduce into my already quite retreat-ful life outside of
> academia.
> I look forward to hearing your reflections on these matters.

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