# Things we can describe with mathematics

1. Nov 8, 2004

### Math Is Hard

Staff Emeritus
From the little tiny bit about math that I have learned so far, it seems that there are three basic properties we can describe with mathematics: shape, magnitude, and direction. What else am I missing?

2. Nov 9, 2004

### TenaliRaman

One can describe almost anything and everything using mathematics, which includes shape,magnitude,direction,absolute/relative position,prediction(both in time and space),internal structures (e.g description of molecular structure using graphs, believe it or not concept of shortest path in a graph has been applied to chemical structures to determine its stability and all), relationship between objects (e.g father(john,mary) which says john is father of mary, this is first order logic , such representations can be used to describe almost any object and/or system) and some more .... etc etc ..

-- AI

3. Nov 9, 2004

### Math Is Hard

Staff Emeritus
Thanks, TR! These are great. In particular, I had not been thinking about sets, so this is very helpful. Maybe I should have asked, "What can we not describe with mathematics?" but then I might be branching over into philosphy slightly.

4. Nov 9, 2004

### TenaliRaman

LOL!! You bet

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A student to his teacher "Teacher, if i say i like u, and u definitely ofcourse like ur daughter, does it mean i like ur daughter?"
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-- AI

5. Nov 9, 2004

### tmwong

until now, (unless someone can prove to me anything that cannot described with mathematics)i still believe that mathematics can represent everything. mathematics is just like the tool that the God used it to built the world. however, sometimes we cannot get the absolute value in our calculations or measurements. e.g: if we want to find the length of the longest side of a 90 degree triangle by using Pythagoras Equation, and the other 2 sides of the triangle are same and equal to 2. we'll never ever get the absolute answer as the answer will be never ending. this case is just same as the values of π(pi) and exponent are never ending and cannot reach the finest or absolute value. however, we still can use simbols to represent the variables/values in order to derive equations to represent anything that we want to describe by mathematics.

Last edited: Nov 9, 2004
6. Nov 9, 2004

### TenaliRaman

tmwong,
describe pain in mathematics, describe GOD in mathematics one could go on and on abt such things ... these things are highly surreal and ofcourse debatable to the point till u lose the interest of being a pedantic and a masochist ( :tongue2: )... if it were easy to capture almost every event occurring in this world ... AI would have jumped leaps and bounds once the logic theory was formalised .... (it did jump leaps and bounds but not to the extent it was expected) ...

Infact i recall a neat little logic bug which proved that "it rained outside my lawn because my garden sprinkler was on" . ( man, i cannot recall how it was done! )

-- AI

7. Nov 12, 2004

### tmwong

TenaliRaman,
in my opinion, every event in our world must has its cause(s) and it's happening by following the rules. even if i throw a dice, the forces and direction of my throwing are the causes of that event. and the result that will be shown on the dice must follow the law of physic, e.g: projectile motion.... the only problem is how well we can calculate or measure all the values of unknowns needed in the formulae to help us to get the result. if we do this dice throwing through a simulation in computer, and i just need to input the value of force of my throwing and my throwing direction(with frictional forces excepted), the computer can get the result of the dice through calculation as well. that's why i fell like we are living in the world that is set in certain rules(physic rules) by God. e.g: Einstein's postulates in special relativity law are also the rules that are set by God. even Einstein himself also didn't explain why the speed of light is the limit of the universe. every shape, mass, motion, geometry,logic ect. can be described by mathematics. science help us to find out these rules, and technology is how well we make use of these rules. sometimes, i just could imagine that we are as if living in the world of "matrix" or "SimCity".
i believe AI still have a long way to go, but it doens't mean AI cannot be improved to acheive our expectation. that's why some people got nervous that we may build robot that can truely think like human in future. i think if we can build a robot that can learn from the environment, it would become the robot that can think like we do.