Enter the (random) matrix

New Scientist in its April 10 issue publishes a cover story called Enter the matrix: the deep law that shapes our reality, by Mark Buchanan, that provides a relatively simple introduction in the Random Matrix theory, a somewhat mind-boggling framework initially coined to explain phenomena of nuclear physics but later expanded to a vast variety of applications areas, from pure mathematics to signal processing, and up to economics. The article is brilliantly written, it’s simple and understandable even for not so math savvy a reader; and yet it does outline the approach without much of a distortion.

Quite obviously, I am most interested in applying this approach to the business of ‘future studies’; the closest thinking I came across so far was the paper by Minh Ha-Duong, from CIRED, called Scenarios, probability and possible futures [PDF]. There is another interesting book, by Russian philosopher Alexander Karpenko, called Fatalism and randomness of the future: A logical analysis (it’s in Russian), although it goes deep into philosophical and logical problems of the very idea of the future, and the freedom, and deals less with the ‘randomness’ per se.

There is also a company called Cognitive Edge, headed by David Snowden, that applies a complexity theory to the analysis of the possible futures. All these instances are very interesting, but still are not quite yet there in terms of RMT. I am on a verge of writing my own paper, even if to simply summarize available points of view and the cases.

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