Monday, May 30, 2011

The Secret Word Is Predictability

This month’s entry into the La Stupido Hall of Fame is the control of traffic lights. When I drive on
China Lake Blvd
or Downs or Norma, I can see the traffic lights well ahead of me. I have no idea when they are going to change. If I did I could adjust my speed and go through them. Even if I had to stop, if I knew how long, it would make my trip a lot easier.
The secret word is predictability. If you can predict it you can use it. It is really La Stupido for traffic lights to change in the unpredictable way they do. Engineers now use computers to decide, based on cross traffic, when to change the lights. Engineers do this because computers allow them to do it. It is not because it is more efficient. The National Search Labs (NSLs) proposes the more efficient Harmonic Traffic Control (HTC).
Scientists all know the importance of entropy in everything technical. None, however, understand intuitively what entropy is and how to use it in their lives. Entropy is a measure of un-predictability. This is so negative that our brains cannot handle the double negative thinking required to put entropy to work for us. The lack of understanding of entropy is causing a glut everywhere in our society; especially in the computer world. Everyone thinks that “user friendly” programs like Windows are giving them more capability. You are wrong, all you hackers. You are cheating yourself and everyone you deal with. If you use Windows, you are lost in “Silicon Alley” and wasting all your capability on unnecessary moves.
You will find that entropy measures the number of moves required for running a program. But no one even counts them because all the moves, such as mouse manipulations, take zero energy and usually an infinitesimal amount of time. But it costs you dearly. You better start counting them. Everyone has a limited amount of moves. If you use your precious moves to run a big computer program you will not have them for achieving other goals. You must use them wisely.
So what about traffic lights? Traffic lights to be useful must be predictable by you, the driver. If all the lights in a city are green for east bound traffic for only 15 seconds and then green for the other directions for only 15 seconds each, the changes will be predictable. You still may have to stop, but you will know when and for how long and you will find it to be much easier and relaxing to navigate through the city. This is Harmonic Traffic Control (HTC). Goodbye road rage!
The National Search Labs (NSLs) has conducted an engineering analysis of HTC and has determined its hardware and software requirements. Pedestrian traffic has been considered as well as other potential problems. We believe the system could be nationwide and automobiles could even have factory installed dashboard indicators for greater predictability. Crazy! It would bring harmony into the whole country. The whole country would become more harmonic. 
We propose that the city of Ridgecrest, California study the possibility of Harmonic Traffic Control in their area. It will be cheaper, easier, and more efficient than the present system, and will illustrate an important idea to the ignorant masses; especially those who call themselves “rocket scientists.” 

No comments:

Post a Comment