When Thermodynamics Goes Meta

While running a simulated annealing program, lowering the simulated temperature too slowly will make the CPU temperature rise too much. That’s thermodynamics.

Law of computer thermodynamics

The other lesson in here, particularly for systems engineers, is: “The system always kicks back”. (Paraphrased from John Gall’s satirical takedown of systems-thinking in his three Systemantics books, which are a little over the top but nevertheless recommended).

GreatBong on the Kolkata Knight Riders

From this heartfelt writeup from GreatBong on the Kolkata Knight Riders:

Then on days where we were playing among ourselves on the streets and there were not enough players to make teams, we would play by what was known as “lottery”. In this form of “gully cricket” every player essentially forms a “team of one” and all that was left to be determined was in which order we would bat (this would be the reverse order in which we would bowl). Everyone would field and he who made the most runs won.

So how was this order decided? Someone (let us call him A) would stand and the second person (let us call him person B) would hold his hand behind the first person in a way that A would not be able to see. B would then show a random number of fingers and A would call out a name from among those assembled. And the number represented by those fingers would then become the called out person’s batting position.

Thanks to the Knight Riders, I am once again in touch with my past in a way I never thought would be possible.

Leaving aside the zinger about KKR deciding their batting order using a random permutation algorithm, not only is the algorithm to obtain a secure permutation of the team’s batting order remarkable in its simplicity, the childlike political compromises that made such a permutation algorithm necessary in the first place are truly endearing. Those kids would bring a tear to Bruce Schneier’s eye.