## A seemingly intractable problem

Discussions concerned with knowledge of measurement, properties, and relations quantities, theoretical or applied.

### Re: A seemingly intractable problem

NoShips » December 24th, 2016, 12:30 pm wrote:Because Neuro is exactly right. We don't need computers. We want people who can think laterally.

Humans are just searching the possibility space like a computer program. "Lateral thinking" is nothing more than searching a relatively expansive possibility space.

It's this sort of misunderstanding that I find so toxic. It's crass mysticism applied to perceptions of human cognition.
Natural ChemE
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### Re: A seemingly intractable problem

Hi NoShips,

I started by putting the problem on my screen, grabbed a bottle of Windex, a paper Tower and a fine point Magic Marker. I started on problem 5 since is has nothing special about it except must =18.
I used a range from -100 to +100 for each of the 3 variables, all combinations of addition.
I realized there were a lot of solutions. How many I wondered?

So I used my computer to count possible solutions and it came out to 10100 solutions just for =18.

So I tried -50 to 50 for all. Got 2550 possible solutions.
So I tried -10 to 10 for all. Got 110 possible solutions.
So I decided to try only positive Integers.
So I tried 0 to 100 for all. Got 55 solutions.
If I disallow duplicate values. Got 44 solutions.
If I disallow any value as zero: Got 20 solutions.
So then dropped the range until I lost candidates. So 1 to 12 had valid solutions.

But am I making invalid assumptions? Like no negatives, no zeros, no duplicates?
So far, my program only uses a few seconds to make these determinations.
Now I still have to do =29, and =23 but that needs me to define a function for Triangle.
Does the size of a Triangle infer different functions?
Is a function a single action or a compound function? Ie. (X times X) or Abs(X times -2).
If I allow compound functions and allow 8 different simple ones.. that's 256 variations per function.

What if they are not simple functions? like X=X times (-1)?

Time to let my Computer try all variations and cross my fingers.. could take days to run.
You can see from my above posts where I went from there.

Of the handful of final solutions.. I hand picked the most simple, which I revealed in my last post. The problem is insanely complicated. But as Natural ChemE pointed out.. If you get to define your own functions.. almost anything is reasonable.

A good puzzle should have only 1 solution.. so this was NOT a good puzzle.

NoShips.. were you able to see my solution posted above in the blank space?
I didn't want to post an easy to read spoiler.

A Computer is to the Mind as a Car is to Legs.
What's your threshold for walking if you can drive?

Happy Holidays,
Dave :^)

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### Re: A seemingly intractable problem

Natural ChemE » December 25th, 2016, 6:34 am wrote:
NoShips » December 24th, 2016, 12:30 pm wrote:Because Neuro is exactly right. We don't need computers. We want people who can think laterally.

Humans are just searching the possibility space like a computer program. "Lateral thinking" is nothing more than searching a relatively expansive possibility space.

It's this sort of misunderstanding that I find so toxic. It's crass mysticism applied to perceptions of human cognition.

All I know is, I awoke with vague memories of making four cutting edge posts in one night, wondering if this might be my annus mirabilis. If not, merry Xmas, beautiful people.

NoShips
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### Re: A seemingly intractable problem

Yes, Dave. I saw your solution, but I feel computer programs should be banned. After all, what are we gonna do if we get locked in a broom closet -- a la MacGyver -- and the bad guys say (as they always do) "We'll be back in an hour to finish you off. Don't try any funny stuff!"

You're a wonderfully creative, clever, resourceful, self-effacing, kind, beautiful, homo erectus, Dave. Merry Xmas to you, sir.

Colin

(before they come back :-) )

NoShips
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### Re: A seemingly intractable problem

Hi NoShips,

Yea.. but a computer is not a cheat.. it doesn't think for you.. it doesn't just give solutions out of the Blue like some sort of Guru. You need to apply your thinking processes to the Creation of the Program.. then all you get is SPEED... Yea.. lol. (let the car do the work while you just drive)

Best wishes for a great Holiday to you too Sir.
Dave :^)

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### Re: A seemingly intractable problem

Dave_Oblad » December 25th, 2016, 8:02 am wrote:Hi NoShips,

Yea.. but a computer is not a cheat.. it doesn't think for you.. it doesn't just give solutions out of the Blue like some sort of Guru. You need to apply your thinking processes to the Creation of the Program.. then all you get is SPEED... Yea.. lol. (let the car do the work while you just drive)

Best wishes for a great Holiday to you too Sir.
Dave :^)

I can think for myself, I think. Have you got one that cleans up pigstys?

:-)

NoShips
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### Re: A seemingly intractable problem

What you just said, Dave, reminds me of a John Searle line. It goes something like this...

Searle: "Semantics won't get your car started"

World famous physicist: "Yes it will. I can set up a transducer that will start my engine on command".

Searle: "Erm, that wouldn't be semantics. Might as well program it to react to coo-coo-ka-chew".

(I embellished a little)

NoShips
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### Re: A seemingly intractable problem

Hi NoShips,

Probably could design a robot (mobile computer with arms) to do that for you.. is it worth a few thousand dollars to you?

Just kidding.. I'm getting out of the technology game.. getting too old.

Best to ya,
Dave :^)

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### Re: A seemingly intractable problem

Would you settle for 6 billion Vietnamese dong and a Fibbonaci series that I never use?

Either way, let's leave the mess till Boxing Day.

NoShips
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### Re: A seemingly intractable problem

NoShips » December 25th, 2016, 12:07 am wrote:What you just said, Dave, reminds me of a John Searle line. It goes something like this...

Searle: "Semantics won't get your car started"

World famous physicist: "Yes it will. I can set up a transducer that will start my engine on command".

Searle: "Erm, that wouldn't be semantics. Might as well program it to react to coo-coo-ka-chew".

(I embellished a little)

And it's lost on Searle that coo-coo-ka-chew would thereby acquire a new meaning?

I think Dave is probably homo sapiens, by the way. Otherwise he wins the Lomax-NoShips award for most intelligent extinct hominid.

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### Re: A seemingly intractable problem

Lomax » December 26th, 2016, 10:47 pm wrote:And it's lost on Searle that coo-coo-ka-chew would thereby acquire a new meaning?

Hmm, not sure if you're pulling my wooden leg, Lomax, but how would that be any more meaningful than Captain Flint's currency observations or a whistling kettle?

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### Re: A seemingly intractable problem

Natural ChemE » December 24th, 2016, 10:34 pm wrote:Humans are just searching the possibility space like a computer program. "Lateral thinking" is nothing more than searching a relatively expansive possibility space.

It's this sort of misunderstanding that I find so toxic. It's crass mysticism applied to perceptions of human cognition.

I would pretty much appreciate if you were not so authoritative, some once in a while.

What is it that entitles you to teach us about human cognition?

Humans are not searching the possibility space, and they are not doing it like a computer program (though, in principle, a computer program may be designed to try and look for consistency the way the human mind does): this is a pretty naive idea!

Humans tend to give a lot of premises and rules for granted, in facing any problem, as if they were implicit even though nobody stated them. So, they tend to look for consistency with such premises and rules. Lateral thinking mostly is a cognitive "defect", in that it disregards such commonly accepted framework.

neuro
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### Re: A seemingly intractable problem

Humans tend to give a lot of premises and rules for granted, in facing any problem, as if they were implicit even though nobody stated them. So, they tend to look for consistency with such premises and rules. Lateral thinking mostly is a cognitive "defect", in that it disregards such commonly accepted framework.

That seems especially true when I try to solve problems like the OP. I assumed that there was a "best" answer, i.e. one that would be neat and elegant and use small single integers for the small shape values and rely on simple functions for the enclosing shapes. Once I had established those implicit premises, I found the answer in 20 minutes, using only pencil and paper. Some of my assumptions were based on the idea that most brain puzzler type problems do not require you to know advanced mathematics or program computers or employ large numbers. For my solution, a bit of algebra and 3 basic functions was sufficient. I assumed this approach was consistent with the problem designers intentions. That's what humans are good at - developing a theory about the intentions of other humans!

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### Re: A seemingly intractable problem

Hmm, lateral thinking is out. Supine and prostrate thinking are back in. Finally!!

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### Re: A seemingly intractable problem

neuro » December 27th, 2016, 10:41 am wrote:Humans are not searching the possibility space

Yeah, they are. Posters here considered a lot of possibilities, including for what shapes could mean and what values they might have, and slowly put them together. This is a search through a possibility space, plain 'n simple.

The mysticism that I object to is this silly notion that the human mind just divines solutions. It's too easy to think that this happens because, in the simplest of cases, our brains solve a problem so quickly that we never consciously observe the problem-solving process; we just see the solution, so it seems reasonable to assume that the solution just magically appeared. But larger problems like this show that this isn't the case; it's a process, even when it's a quick process.

I study AI, so in general I dislike cognitive mysticism about as much as evolutionary biologists dislike creationism. It'll come off as a dismissive tone; certainly some folks won't like it anymore than religious fundamentalists like their own pet theory being dismissed, though it'd seem dishonest to treat mysticism as respectable.
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### Re: A seemingly intractable problem

lomax your such a piece of shit. You condescendingly talk down every response you get, why are you wasting so much time talking something as insignificant as an "online IQ test" which may be difficult. but many of the questions can be solved using known mathematical techniques. you're a real ass. Use your time better and deflate your ego.
georgefreshbusch
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### Re: A seemingly intractable problem

georgefreshbusch » February 4th, 2017, 5:48 am wrote:lomax your such a piece of shit. You condescendingly talk down every response you get, why are you wasting so much time talking something as insignificant as an "online IQ test" which may be difficult. but many of the questions can be solved using known mathematical techniques. you're a real ass. Use your time better and deflate your ego.

Welcome to the forum. You're probably right about my ego, and definitely right about me wasting my time. (But I enjoy playing games, so perhaps it's not a waste). Who do you feel I spoke down to? NoShips and Searle?

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### Re: A seemingly intractable problem

Clearly the younger George Bus(c)h.

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### Re: A seemingly intractable problem

georgefreshbusch » Fri Feb 03, 2017 10:48 pm wrote:lomax your such a piece of shit. You condescendingly talk down every response you get, why are you wasting so much time talking something as insignificant as an "online IQ test" which may be difficult. but many of the questions can be solved using known mathematical techniques. you're a real ass. Use your time better and deflate your ego.

George, once you get to know him better, you will find that he is actually a pretty decent guy, and always fair to all concerned. Yes, he is unfortunately a "liberal", but no one is perfect right?
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