Wolfram Computation Meets Knowledge

Wolfram Summer School


Morgan Silver-Greenberg

Summer School

Class of 2007


Morgan Silver-Greenberg will graduate summa cum laude from New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study in the fall. He studies complex systems from a broad and interdisciplinary perspective. Concerned with understanding the relationship between structure, system principles, and system dynamics, he explores these issues from multiple disciplines including sociology, linguistics, culture and communications, philosophy, pure discrete mathematics, architecture, and design. Morgan was born in Manhattan but grew up in Los Angeles, where his interest in the effect of environment, both physical and social, on culture and society developed. After last year’s program, Morgan began a creative platform called Programnature with his adviser and senior Wolfram Research associate Kovas Boguta. The central mission of Programnature is to explore the principle formation, movement, and architecture of information with an underlying belief that our biological, social, and cultural systems can be understood through this framework. Their goal is to advance new mathematical abstract systems capable of articulating the dynamic formation of complex behavior as well as research the direct manifestation of these concepts as they occur in our natural world. Through both programming and social analysis, Programnature has made meaningful progress in advancing a new paradigm through which the engine of creativity and emergent growth can be utilized. In the past few months, Morgan has given four well-recieved lectures regarding his research at institutions including the Pratt Academic Initiatives Council, New York University, the International Linguistics Association, and Lecture Series. Besides working with Programnature, professionally Morgan consults for a creative agency in Manhattan that deals with sophisticated urban counter cultures and branding, mentors children in Brooklyn, and DJs around New York City. He believes that an interaction with complex nuanced information (like culture) is paramount to the furthering of the science of complex systems and understanding the ecology of communication.

Morgan’s other interests currently include exploring, music, art, and his friends…often at the same time.

Project: Social Computation

Development of methodologies to account for the movement, propagation, and life of ideas and cultural assemblages through communication networks using NKS principles.

The tentative idea behind my project is that socio-cultural order is the product of a complex dynamic system which can be explored using NKS principles. The growth, movement, and life span of a cultural artifact as well as the social computation responsible for the artifact can be explored and analyzed. Understanding the role of communication and social networks in this process as well as assigning classes of behavior to social computation will be developed to formalize the computational properties of social computation. This will allow a user to mine the computational system for specific behavior and find interesting growth.

Despite the lack of truly adequate data streams, analysis can be preformed on both stagnant cultural data as well as dynamic communities such as Digg. Further social network analysis can be harvested through MySpace user communities in order to understand how computational integrity is upheld and identity and social context is represented.

The goal of the project is to develop a methodology to gather, classify, and analyze social computation as well as to develop possible applications for such analysis. The idea is to look for that which is active or living rather than that which is stagnant (i.e., current search engine and cultural aggregation methodology) and to identify epicenters of social computation.

Favorite Outer Totalistic Three-Color Rule

Rule chosen: 6688131

After exploring a large portion of the 3-color outer totalistic cellular automata space with a one black cell initial condition, I discovered that many of the rules produced interesting behavior. I found rule number 6688131 particularly interesting because of its complex yet localized aggregation structures produced throughout the rule. These assemblages have a fascinating interplay with the cyclic class 2 behavior structures that tend to follow. The relationship between these seeming disparate behaviors combined with the clear assemblage structures creates an interesting rule behavior worth further exploration and analysis.