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  • “盘算迷信之父”图灵怎样用数学破译天然界
  • 日期:2018-05-12   点击:次   字体:[ ]

Many have heard of Alan Turing, the mathematician and logician who invented modern computing in 1935. They know Turing, the cryptologist who cracked the Nazi Enigma code, helped win World War II. And they remember Turing as a martyr for gay rights who, after being prosecuted and sentenced to chemical castration, committed suicide by eating an apple laced with cyanide in 1954. 许多人都听说过艾伦·图灵(Alan Turing),晓得他是一位数学家和名学家,在1935年创造了古代盘算。他们晓得图灵是一位暗码学家,破译了纳粹的Enigma暗码,协助同友邦博得了第二次天下大战。他们还晓得,图灵是异性恋权益的殉难者,在被告状并被判处化学阉割后,他于1954年吃了一个涂有氰化物的苹果,他杀身亡。 But few have heard of Turing, the naturalist who explained patterns in nature with math. Nearly half a century after publishing his final paper in 1952, chemists and biological mathematicians came to appreciate the power of his late work to explain problems they were solving, like how zebrafish get their stripes or cheetahs get spots. And even now, scientists are finding new insights from Turing’s legacy. 但很少有人晓得图灵是一位博物学家,他用数学来表明天然界的图案。在他1952年宣布最初一篇论文后的近半个世纪里,化学家和生物数学家们开端认识到,他前期的任务可以用来表明他们正在处理的题目,比方,斑马鱼的条纹或猎豹的雀斑是怎样构成的。乃至到如今,迷信家们还在从图灵的遗产中找到新的洞见。 Most recently, in a paper published Thursday in Science, chemical engineers in China used pattern generation described by Turing to explain a more efficient process for water desalination, which is increasingly being used to provide freshwater for drinking and irrigation in arid places. 近来一次,在周四宣布在《迷信》杂志(Science)上的一篇论文中,中国的化学工程师应用图灵描绘的斑图天生实际阐释了一种更无效的海水淡化处置办法。海水淡化正越来越多地被用于干旱地域的饮用水和灌溉用水供应。 Turing’s 1952 paper did not explicitly address the filtering of saltwater through membranes to produce freshwater. Instead, he used chemistry to explain how undifferentiated balls of cells generated form in organisms. 图灵那篇1952年的论文没有明白提到,可以经过薄膜过滤盐水来发生海水。他是用化学表明了没有分明差异的细胞球是怎样在生物体中发生外形的。 It’s unclear why this interested the early computer scientist, but Turing had told a friend that he wanted to defeat Argument From Design, the idea that for complex patterns to exist in nature, something supernatural, like God, had to create them. 尚不清晰这为什么惹起了这位晚期盘算机迷信家的兴味,但图灵曾对一位冤家说他想颠覆目标论证,即天然界中存在的庞大图案肯定是某种超天然的工具发明出来的,比方天主。 A keen natural observer since childhood, Turing noticed that many plants contained clues that math might be involved. Some plant traits emerged as Fibonacci numbers. These were part of a series: Each number equals the sum of the two preceding numbers. Daisies, for example, had 34, 55 or 89 petals. 图灵从小便是敏锐的天然察看者,他留意到很多动物包括着能够与数学相干的线索。有些动物的性状中存在斐波那契数列。这个数列的一个特性是:每个数字即是后面两个数字的和。比方,雏菊有34、55或89个花瓣。 “He certainly was no militant atheist,” said Jonathan Swinton, a computational biologist and visiting professor at the University of Oxford who has researched Turing’s later work and life. “He just thought mathematics was very powerful, and you could use it to explain lots and lots of things — and you should try.” “他固然不是一位保守的无神论者,”牛津大学(University of Oxford)的客座传授、盘算生物学家乔纳森·斯温顿(Jonathan Swinton)说。他研讨了图灵的前期任务和生存。“他只是以为数学十分弱小,你可以用它来表明许多工具——你应该试一试。” And try, Turing did. 图灵确实实验了。 “He came up with a mathematical representation that allows form to emerge from blankness,” said Dr. Swinton. “他提出了一种数学表达式,可以从无到有地天生外形,”斯温顿说。 In Turing’s model, two chemicals he called morphogens interacted on a blank arena. “Suppose you’ve got two of these, and one will make the skin of an animal go black and the skin of the animal go white,” explained Dr. Swinton. “If you just mix these things in an arena, what you get is a gray animal.” 在图灵的模子中,两种被他称作成形素(morphogen)的化学物质在一个空缺地区互相作用。“假定你有两种成形素,一种会让植物的皮肤变黑,另一种会让植物的皮肤变白,”斯温顿博士。“假如把它们混淆在一同,植物的皮肤就会酿成灰色。” But if something caused one chemical to diffuse, or spread, faster than the other, then each chemical could concentrate in evenly spaced localized spots, together forming black and white spots or stripes. 但假如某种缘由招致一种化学物质分散得比另一种快,它们就汇集中在距离平均的部分地区,构成玄色和白色的雀斑或条纹。

This is known as a “Turing instability,” and, the Chinese researchers who published the new paper determined that it could explain the way shapes emerged in salt-filtering membranes. 这被称作“图灵不波动性”。宣布这篇新论文的中国研讨职员判定,它可以表明盐过滤膜中呈现的构造。 By creating three-dimensional Turing patterns like bubbles and tubes in membranes, the researchers increased their permeability, creating filters that could better separate salt from water than traditional ones. 经过在膜上制造气泡和管道等三维图灵构造,研讨职员添加了它们的浸透性。这种过滤器可以比传统过滤器更好地别离盐和水。 “We can use one membrane to finish the work of two or three,” said Zhe Tan, a graduate student at Zheijang University in China and first author of the paper, which means less energy and lower cost if used for large-scale desalination operations in the future. “我们可以用一张膜完成两到三张膜的任务,”浙江大学的研讨生谭喆说。他是该论文的第一作者。这意味着假如未来用于大范围的脱盐作业,耗费的动力和本钱都市低落。


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