Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Re: [Yasmin_discussions] simulation vs emulation vs representation

thank you all for these inspiring thoughts, and thanks for the
distinction between emulation, simulation and representation. .
I thought there was something missing in this discussion and I think
the last interventions provided a key to understanding the subject
more thoroughly. the discussion addressed simulation in general
through conceptual definitions and discourses that explain its
mechanisms. I am glad we are now moving to more specific cases and to
a "taxonomy" of simulated objects (sorry if I keep using the word
simulation, but in this discussion we had a tendency to use it as an
umbrella term, rather than a specific one, which brings me to my points)

1) general definitions tend to gloss over the distinctions between
various types of simulations or simulated phenomena (there is a great
difference between a "simulation" used to communicate or to understand
a specific phenomenon (e.g. a microscopic organism, a coded piece of
information) and "simulation" that acts as a metonymic, or metaphoric
device (a brand, or a virtual world)
2) we tend to focus on the product, and not in the processes that lead
to such product (e.g. the process that leads to a --or different types
of-- visualization products as opposed to the process that leads to
simulation in everyday life or in film)
3) we tend to define simulation a linear progression and an ubiquitous
phenomenon (that is, as an avoidable process that involves the entire
sphere of knowledge)

I think that the above points (and probably more, but these are the
one that immediately come to mind) benefit our understanding of
simulation but also hinder cross-disciplinary understanding and
promote secrecy and some sort of suspicion (or misunderstanding)
towards the producers of and the processes behind the production of
simulated objects. for instance, the distinction between emulation,
simulation and representation are indeed very useful, but how do you
transmit these distinction to someone who keeps thinking that they are
all and the same thing?

as a person deeply invested in cross-disciplinary communication,
science communication and in collaborative processes I am interested
in these issues and how they could be (ever) circumvented.


On Feb 2, 2010, at 1:15 AM, Avi Rosen wrote:

> The gene
> contained a Morse- encoded verse from the biblical Book of Genesis.
> The
> verse reads: "Let man have dominion over the fish of the sea, and
> over the
> fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the
> earth."
> This verse implies humanity's domination over nature. Morse code
> represents
> the dawn of the information age - the genesis of global time and space
> compression. The Genesis gene was incorporated into bacteria, which
> were
> shown in the gallery. Web surfers could control ultraviolet
> illumination in
> the gallery, causing biological mutations in the bacteria containing
> the
> Genesis verse.
> [mailto:yasmin_discussions-bounces@estia.media.uoa.gr] On Behalf Of
> ramon
> guardans
> Sent: ב 01 פברואר 2010 16:57
> Subject: Re: [Yasmin_discussions] simulation vs emulation vs
> representation
> i would say that in these terms its representation or emulation,
> clearly not
> simulation, the pixels in the image are placed by some kind of graphic
> routine directed by a program but none of this is simulating any
> biological
> processes. like a graphic of a blooming flower which can be very
> detailed
> but is never based on cellular behaviour integrated to the flower
> level, the
> graphic on dna does not consider the interaction between pixels or
> nuclear
> acids.

> --- On Mon, 2/1/10, roger malina <rmalina@alum.mit.edu> wrote:
>> thanks for the example of molecular dynamics-
>> i guess i would distinguish three sub categories
>> - representation/ eg a walt dysney cartoon that elicits
>> human response like
>> the physical phenomenon but the animation does not encode
>> any physics
>> - emulation- where the representation behaves like the
>> physical phenomenon
>> but does not encode the same physical assumptions ( eg a
>> computer can
>> emulate old software but runs on new computer chips and
>> emulates the way the
>> old chips behaved)
>> - simulation- where the software system encodes the best
>> scientific laws
>> available to enable a system to behave like the real
>> phenomenon= many
>> artificial life systems try to do this

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