Monday, February 20, 2006

thinking about kats

In what follows, I shall explain why I've been recently thinking about cats. It all started last night when my friend thought he saw a paper on my desk titled "Graph Partition by Swendsen-Wang Cats." Of course what he really saw was the paper called "Graph Partition by Swendsen-Wang Cuts." However, as he laughingly mentioned that he though I was reading on spectral graph partitioning using cats (those fuzzy cute animals), my mind rapidly explored the consequences of utilizing animals such as cats for solving difficult computational problems.

How can one use cats to solve computationally intractable problems?

Consider the problem of object recognition. The goal is to take an image, perform some low-level image manipulation and present the image to a cat. Then utilizing a system that tracks the cat's physical behavior, one needs to only map the cat's response of the visual stimulus presented into a new signal -- a solution to the more difficult problem. The hypothesis underlying the Swendsen-Want Cat Theory is that one can exploit the underlying high-level intelligence of primitive life forms to solve problems that are of interest to humans.

Thus I've been thinking about kats all of last night. I guess the word 'thinking' doesn't even do justice in this context. If anybody is interested in other (perhaps even more credible) applications of cats, I can tell them about dynamic obstacle-avoiding path planning via cats or about space exploration via colonies of ants.


  1. Anonymous12:13 PM

    venturing into comparative cognition, eh? it's where all the cool scientists are ;)


  2. Googling up 'comparative cognition' I found this Comparative Cognition link.

    I'm really really REALLY interested in the spatial congition and navigation questions that they pose.


    If one places a human in a box and gives him a computer terminal that allows him to interface with the outside world, won't the world think that the box is intelligent?

    If one places a human behind the wheel of a car and the car drives at fast speeds around perilous turns and avoids obstacles, won't the world think that there is intelligence inside the car?

    There are some deep problems involved with locking people up inside boxes. However, how about a colony of ants or bees? If 1000 bees can navigate a forest at high speeds without bumping into tree branches, then perhaps they can control a Hummer to navigate Manhattan.

    It would be interesting to see if the human visual world (things that humans generally see) can be mapped (without high-level processing) into a signal that is interpretable by bees and then map the actions of the bees into actions that make vehicles navigate the human world.