Re: answers I'd like from an SI

From: Wei Dai (
Date: Sat Nov 10 2007 - 21:13:51 MST

Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> When contemplating these questions yourself, you have some criterion
> for deciding what is a satisfactory answer, even if it is something
> vague like aesthetic considerations or gut feeling. In what sense is
> this not an optimization process?

If contemplating these questions is an optimization process, it's an
optimization process with an unknown objective function, and the objective
function seems to change over time (i.e., what we consider satisfactory
answers change as we learn new things and come up with new insights). But
then any process can be described as an optimization process for an unknown
objective function that changes over time, so the concept would have no
explanatory or practical value. I think when we talk about optimization
processes, we usually mean those with known and fixed objective functions.

To put it another way, if we knew what the right criteria is for deciding
what is a satisfactory answer to one of these questions, we would be at
least halfway done answering it.

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