In the life of a master student – I wish I had more than 24 hours
These are three things that has grabbed my attention lately. Unfortunately – as long as the days keeps insisting on 24 hours, and I'm occupied completing my master – I have to delay the gratification of learning more about these fascinating subjects.
Programming with Go
When doing your first quantum-mechanical simulation, you will pretty quickly figure out that high level languages such as MatLab is not an optimal solution. Sure it works, and it is quick to reach the end goal when you are short on time. But in the long run it will not be a good solution for those heavy computations.
C (or C++) is a popular solution for reaching closer to the metal and speeding up the computation. But honestly, it is probably not for me. While I was taking a course in C, I reluctantly realized that when you are used to high level languages, an old (dare I say archaic) language like C feels quite counter-intuitive and clunky. Okay, scratch C/C++.
What about Julia? It seems to be popular in the scientific community, and built for computations. Unfortunately I am used to object oriented programming, and I would prefer to continue in that direction. So, not Julia either.
But I recently came across Go (aka Golang). It is an open source project developed by a team at Google and many contributors from the open source community. Basically it is a low level programming language with a modern and object oriented feel. Well suited for parallel computing, and commonly used by Google in their server architectures. From what I have seen it seems like a very interesting language, and I wish I had time to learn all about it.
How do you feel about replacing the current foundations of mathematics? Set theory is a quite old idea by now, and with time perhaps another idea is bound to replace it. The idea I am thinking about is called Type Theory. The main benefit with this idea is a close conceptual link to computation, which enables mathematicians to do computer assisted proofs. Unfortunately I am lacking any deep understanding in this subject, but I wish I had time to learn all about it.
Relational Quantum Mechanics
Even Steven Weinberg has begun to worry about the foundations of Quantum Mechanics. This worry is due to difficulties with finding a sound interpretation to aspects of the mathematics in quantum mechanics – in particular the quantum mechanical measurement – and at the moment there are lots of ideas, but no consensus. A proposal that initially appeals to me is Relational Quantum Mechanics which treats the state of a quantum system as being the relation between the observer and the system. So in this view it makes no sense to talk about the state of the system independently of any other system, and as I understand it you are forced to specify the state in relation to something else.
If this idea has the strength to ease any of the worries I can not really say, but I wish I had the time to find out.