Monday, July 18, 2011


A quick note to promote the Fourth International Workshop on Guided Self-Organization (GSO 4):

The goal of Guided Self-Organization (GSO) is to leverage the strengths of self-organization while still being able to direct the outcome of the self-organizing process. The GSO-2011 workshop will bring together invited experts and researchers in self-organizing systems, with particular emphasis on the information- and graph-theoretic foundations of GSO and the information dynamics of cognitive systems.
The following topics are of special interest: information-theoretic measures of complexity, graph-theoretic metrics of networks, information-driven self-organization (IDSO), applications of GSO to systems biology, computational neuroscience, cooperative and modular robotics, sensor networks, and cognitive modeling.

Some good friends of mine have been behind this series (this year, Daniel Polani, Larry Yaeger, and my old supervisor Mikhail Prokopenko). The series started at our lab in Sydney 3 years ago, and it's pleasing to see that it has really got some momentum behind it now.

Unfortunately I have to miss it this year, but if this sounds like your field then I recommend that you go, as this will be an excellent meeting.

Abstracts are due by July 31, the workshop itself is on Sept 8-10 2011 in Hertfordshire, UK.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Carbon tax shenanigans

It's been a little strange watching all the debate at home about the incoming carbon tax. The commentators on the right are getting so frothy-mouthed and vicious about the whole thing. Hardly a surprise I suppose.

The weirdest thing is the loss of perspective. I think it's best summarised in this blog post (tip to Elliot):

It's a great shot of perspective there. And I have to agree - if you can't afford $10 a week out of your $100k+ income for something for your kids' futures like this, my heart bleeds. Really.

I also wanted to share something I saw on the BBC news this morning. After a story on the impending (real) Italian financial crisis, they reported that consumer confidence in Australia had reached a low point, noting with unhidden incredulity that this was despite (and I paraphrase) "near zero unemployment, strong growth and record standard of living" but seemed "related to fears about a carbon tax". It's difficult not to feel embarrassed about that.