crabman's Shortform

post by crabman · 2019-09-14T12:30:37.482Z · score: 3 (1 votes) · LW · GW · 9 comments


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comment by crabman · 2019-09-14T12:30:37.731Z · score: 15 (4 votes) · LW · GW

A competition on solving math problems via AI is coming.

  • The problems are from the International math olympiad (IMO)
  • They want to formalize all the problems in Lean (theorem prover) language. They haven't figured out how to do that, e.g. how to formalize problems of form "determine the set of objects satisfying the given property", as can be seen in
  • A contestant must submit a computer program that will take a problem's description as input and output a solution and its proof in Lean.

I would guess that this is partly a way to promote Lean. I think it would be interesting to pose questions about this on metaculus.

comment by Matthew Barnett (matthew-barnett) · 2019-09-14T23:38:30.628Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Any guesses at the difficulty? My first impression was that this is not going to be solved any time soon. I just don't think current techniques are good enough to write flawless lean code given a difficult objective.

I think grand challenges in AI are are sometimes useful, but when they are at this level I am a bit pessimistic. I don't think this is necessarily AI-complete, but it's perhaps close.

comment by An1lam · 2019-09-15T04:33:54.704Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Can you quantify soon :) ? For example, I'd be willing to bet at 1/3 odds that this will be solved in the next 10 years conditional on a certain amount of effort being put in and more like 1/1 odds for the next 20 years. It's hard to quantify the conditional piece but I'd cash it out as something like if researchers put in the same amount of effort into this that they put into NLP/image recognition benchmarks. I don't think that'll happen, so this is purely a counterfactual claim, but maybe it will help ground any subsequent discussion with some sort of concrete claim?

comment by Matthew Barnett (matthew-barnett) · 2019-09-15T05:38:36.531Z · score: 5 (2 votes) · LW · GW

By soon I mean 5 years. Interestingly, I have a slightly higher probability that it will be solved within 20 years, which highlights the difficulty of saying ambiguous things like "soon."

comment by An1lam · 2019-09-15T14:08:21.734Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

That is interesting! I should be clear that my odds ratios are pretty tentative given the uncertainty around the challenge. For example, I literally woke up this morning and thought that my 1/3 odds might be too conservative given recent progress on 8th grade science tests and theorem proving.

I created three PredictionBook predictions to track this if anyone's interested (5 years, 10 years, 20 years).

comment by crabman · 2019-09-26T18:29:26.959Z · score: 10 (4 votes) · LW · GW

In my MSc courses the lecturer gives proofs of important theorems, while unimportant problems are given as homework. This is bad for me, because it makes me focus on actually figuring out not too important stuff. I think it works like this because the course instructors want to • make the student do at least something and • check whether the student has learned the course material.

Ideally I would like to study using interactive textbooks where everything is a problem to solve on my own. Such a textbook wouldn't show an important theorem's proof right away. Instead it would show me the theorem's statement and ask me to prove it. There should be hints available and, obviously, I should be able to see the author's proof when I want to see it.

Also, for textbooks about Turing machines, recursive functions, and stuff like that: having an interpreter of Turing machines would be very nice. (googling Turing machine interpreter and using whatever you find is a bad idea, because they all have different flavors)

comment by G Gordon Worley III (gworley) · 2019-09-28T20:28:30.479Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I found this to vary by field. When I studied topology and combinatorics we proved all the big important things as homework. When I studied automata theory and measure theory, we did what your teacher is doing.

comment by crabman · 2019-09-15T19:25:15.701Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Many biohacking guides suggest using melatonin. Does liquid melatonin spoil under high temperature if put in tea (95 degree Celcius)?

More general question: how do I even find answers to questions like this one?

comment by leggi · 2019-09-16T03:13:19.054Z · score: 5 (2 votes) · LW · GW

When I had a quick go-ogle search I started with:

"melatonin stability temperature"



A quick flick through a few abstracts I can't see anything involving temperatures higher than 37 C i.e. body temperature.

Melatonin is a protein, many proteins denature at temperatures above 41 C.

My (jumped to) conclusion:

No specific data found.

Melatonin may not be stable at high temperatures, so avoid putting it in hot tea.