Sunday, April 30, 2006

Selection Functions

After a brief brush with matrimonial exerscises six months back, my parents gave me back the baton to proceed as I see fit and let them know of my choice. I havent done anything on that front till the last week and my folks were slowly thinking about wresting back the control knobs for accelerating this process, which brings me to this musing.

In an effort to see what can be done via online communuties, I did the usual thingy of putting up my profile and stuff. It also happens that you can search for people based on certain search criteria. I have seen profiles that were straitjacketed into the standard a/s/l, hobbies,demographic data, etc. almost like I am analysing census data for this year. These are profiles that never moved me despite the desi tradition of micromanaging the details .The only part of this standardized user interface o, where personas can be expressed happened in the section where people write about themselves, the free form text field where you write something (with the assumption that the person willing to be married is writing it as opposed to someone else in the family or friends). This is the only bit where someone's taste shows up. Sadly, most folks put in 2 liners like "I am a [adjective], [adjective] and [adjective] person. To know more, write to me." Some of the stuff is written by parents in ALL CAPS thus making it seem like they are akin to a towncrier advertising for the latest news or what have you. Then there are folks who spout inanities like "I am a fun-loving person". (who isnt? ) or some blanket statement like "I am a broad minded person" whereas in their partner preferences you see a contradiction that contracts the sample space for that person's search is almost zero within the same online matrimonial site (or their competitor). If you dont believe me, you should try this just for the heck of it. In essence, it is very confusing for me. I know I should proceed it the way I do and use the online thing just as a selection criteria for further distillation but somehow something in me tells I am missing out on something of a protocol that is very well understood by these folks.

I understand the Darwinian theory attributes that selection of mates is not based on how intelligent/rational/elegant the mating partner is, but more for survival and reproducability. That is, if I have an Einstein, a Farmer and a Woman who can bear 10 children, the darwinian selection algorithm would choose the woman which means the genius of einstein would be lost for the next generation.

One of the first projects I was involved was, in a genetic algorithm for a game called "Reversi" where it was upto our group to decide what we wanted to code into our so called utiility function that would be used as a criteria by another selection function to make the best move in a given situation. We just coded it to do one thing alone (which was dont care for the opponents' score but aim for getting the diagnoal squares) and it worked well enough that it beat one of the best humans to play the game. Thrice. That was our professor.But then that was a simple term project.

I recollect there was an experiment done by neurosurgeons who removed the part of brain responsible for emotions,etc so that they have this cold calculating human who will always be rational and make the best move. Guess What? The fellow couldnt get out of his hospital bed as his brain was thrown into a loop about calculating should he get up or not. The point here being that emotions feed the rationality of the brain. Each half cannot survive without the other.

So all in all, I need to have a particular selection criteria so that I can set my partner preferences in those (just maligned) online matrimony sites. I think it can be put in one statement : "I should choose someone for no reason at all". That is, I shouldnt be able to express why I like a certain person. If I can say I like so and so because of these xyz reasons, then the lack of xyz in future would cause some issues.( not really a bright logic here but serves the justification) . So the best selection algorithm available for me is that I should like someone but for no reason whatsoever that making sure that I have no reason to dislike her too. Strangely this starts to sound like a Caffeine Deficiency Syndrome posts by gvenum. That means I have to stop now :-)

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The God Abandons Anthony

"When suddenly there is heard at midnight

A company passing invincible

With wonderful music, with voices, -Your fortune giving way now,

your works, Which have failed, the plans of a lifetime

All turned illusions, do not mourn uselessly.

As one prepared long since, courageously,

Say farewell to her, to Alexandria who is leaving.

Above all do not be tricked, never say it was All a dream,

and that your hearing was deceived;

Do not stop to such vain hopes as these.

As one prepared long since, courageously,

As becomes one worthy as you were of such a city,

Firmly draw near the window,

And listen with emotion but not with the complainings and entreaties of cowards,

Listen, your last enjoyment, to the sounds,

The wonderful instruments of the mystic company,

And say farewell, farewell to Alexandria you are losing.


--> by Constantinos P. Cavafy

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Another Season

Its been a while since I was here. Occasionally a hiatus from anything you do can only be good. It teaches you a lot of things. For the last 90 days I havent been in touch with my folks or did things over weekends that I normally was used to. It taught me how far could I go without breaking down and what more important to me in life from the perspective of values.

I didnt write because I didnt feel like it. When I have started writing here, I was frequent because words conveyed more than silence. I stop when I feel that words cannot outperform silence. Its amazing how my brain makes connections to work even though I do other things.( For example the earlier spent make me think that on the internet we compress things like text files only because the time spent in compression/decompression more than compensates for the propogation time of the same content over a network). Of late, I have also discovered a special joy of programming in python. While I am complete novice to it, I highly recommend the experience of solving a problem using this language. The reason it was joy was because the language lends itself to expressing your exact one thought into one idion as opposed to being strewn into multiple idioms which spoil the integrity of your intent.

Now that I seem to find enough time for myself over the weekends, I was lost for things to do over the weekend. Then I realised that listening to old music, driving aimlessly and devouring some books are things that really balance my personal life(the same old ones but rediscovered after a gap). I have to mention that reading about mythology is always fun because I subscribe to the theory that myths have far more potency than the plain reality of current affairs.

And its been an year since I relocated to the Bay Area from the East Coast. Gosh! It feels like I have been here for more than that (if you are really counting in Dog Years, yeah!) . It was sunny and felt like I was in Mexico when I first came here. Now, We have been under continous onslaught of heavy rains till today and it is supposed to be spring. Here's wishing for the best of this spring.Time to really turn a new leaf green...

Saturday, April 01, 2006

April Fool

April Fool,
Go to School
Tell your teacher that you are a bloody fool.

I learnt that at my elementary school 20 years back and this was a day when you were at you were cautious best and the best day to be paranoid. It served its purpose well and one of the best jokes was that it was a holiday. (Call up a fellow student and say its a holiday because its April 1 and engage him in a serious discussion of how the old nordic/celtic/druid/whatever started their new year today and the romans screwed it up by adding extra months and we have January instead of April, till his head spins in a dizzy and tell him that the school is intent on setting the record straight and hence a holiday just like January 1)

Happy April Fool's Day!