Saturday, September 8, 2012

(Literary) Ramblings about the Universe

   While sipping away at my alcoholic drink, I had, as men usually have, philosophical matters spring to my mind. Wrought body and soul in the shadow of the night, my first instinct was to share my thoughts with the world.

   In Siddhartha, by Hermann Hesse, a young prodigy of his tribe leaves his home and undertakes a long journey to gain spiritual enlightenment. In the process of knowing himself and the world, he loses himself. He goes against all the teachings of the elders of his tribe and everything he has always known. However, in the end, while not returning to his home, he returns in a state resembling his old state, but with hard-gained knowledge and wisdom. 

   This very idea of movie through space and time but coming back to a similar place, the notion of the cycles in life, of the cycles in Nature, is interesting to me. For a reason I can't explain, this is appealing to me. The idea that, through human history, through the succession of generations, I get to live forever. "At the still point of the turning world", through the center that must hold, where everyone is one and nothing, where the lonely streams become a river, the river of life, I can identify with everything. My "soul is the whole world". 

   This is indeed very hard to explain. Even T.S. Eliot had problems expressing this idea:
         That was a way of putting it - not very satisfactory:
A periphrastic study in a worn-out poetical fashion,
Leaving one still with the intolerable wrestle
With words and meanings. The poetry does not matter.
although the idea is, verily, quite simple. In a place, where there exists no time and no space, we are one. But not really.

    This still point, being defined by the Universe, must be of the Universe. Imagine a rolling wheel. Its center does not move, being the center, but it must rotate as to accompany the wheel. We do not see it turning, but it must. We can relate this analogy to the conclusion of Siddhartha. Carpe Diem. Everything that is the world is beautiful; it must be appreciated and loved and such. Everything has sin and virtue in it.

   But this isn't true. It is true only at the still point. What shall we do? Locally, then, an ethics system must be enforced. This ethical system, built by the people inhabiting the region of space and time by the means of logic and reason, must fulfill the requirements and principles of the people. 

   Globally, this is my interpretation of this. Although I do not think the world completely deterministic, I believe that the entirety of possibilities is contained in the world. At the still point, then, the singularity of the Big Bang, every possible outcome exists and is as one; the future of the Universe is written as the wavefunction fo the Universe. At that time, the river breaks into a million pieces.

   What did I just say? I am confused.  The poetry does not matter, but its equivocacy a way to expose without explaining, a way to confuse and inform. 

   This is it for now, but I shall return. 

Bessel functions of complex argument

   Our research group, Dynamica, has openly published a shared object C++ library to compute Bessel functions of complex argument. It is available ready to compile as a tar archive or, for the initiated, as C++ and Fortran source code on Google Code.

   The Fortran code comes from D.E. Amos and his 1986 article. The article clearly details the limits, accuracy and speed of the subroutines. Being tested and proven against the test of time, we use them without modification. A C++ wrapper is defined in a header.

   More documentation is available on the Google Code repository. To thank you for reading this, here's a pretty picture!

"Proof" that the algorithms work.