©Fernando Caracena 31 August 2012

Pattern recognition and baud rates

A lot of thinking in science is a matter of pattern recognition and flow of information. Of the five senses, sight is the best connected to the brain, to the point that some precessing takes place in the optic nerve. The optic system in this sense is an extension of the brain. Further, the flow of information through the optic nerves beats that of the other four senses in speed and volume. It is the main bus of the human brain. So a visual presentation of physics and solutions to physical problems gives the quickest and best access to the mind. A good lecture should rely heavily on the appropriate visuals

Computer visualization


In the old days of computers, the results of computer processing were printed out in stacks of oversized paper sheets.  Scientists required time to put these results into a form that they could use as information. This process constituted a bottle-neck in generating scientific results. Later with the advent of teleprinter terminals, the burden of communicating this huge volume of data presented some serious obstacles to their use. This type of computer terminal consisted of an electronic typewriter that printed out both sides of a session (user's type and computer's result) on thermal paper that was fed from a small roll. The device had a cradle that accepted the old type of land-line phones, which were then standard. Because of the limited size of the roll of thermal paper, and the slow rate of communication through phone-line modems, it would be silly to try to printout the vast quantity of numbers generated by a computer program.  The problem was solved when some of the remote terminal users developed a means of plotting results directly on the thermal paper by using the tabbing and feeding capabilities of the terminal.

Cathode Ray Tube and PC Terminals

The first commercial television sets featured Cathode Ray Tubes (CRT)s, which were an adaptation of old physics experimental equipment that was used to study the properties of the electron. In the laboratory, CRTs became the preferred output device for computer terminals, but unfortunately, they were not portable. Instead, when the personal computer (PC) became available (still CRT-based), you could configure it to become a remote terminal by using the right software. When broadband communication became widely available, a whole host of possibilities surfaces. Finally through the double exponential increase in technology (discussed by Ray Kurzweil), the humble PC rapidly gained the capacity of what once had been that of the main frame. Using modern graphics processing units (GPU)s as networks of processors, PCs are now capable of performing like super computers.

Presently, we have excellent visualization tools in the modern desktop and laptop computers that are equipped with modern graphics cards and Light Emitting Diode (LED) or Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) monitors. To operate them, however, requires the right language. Language itself is a left-brain, sequential function; therefore, visualizations by means of a programming language are a odds to our right-brained visualization.


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