In November 2016 I felt something in the air…my gut told me it was time for the blockchain sector to finally have its moment. After playing around with cryptocurrencies for years it was the Ethereum launch that seemed to catapult this sector from a small network of crypto geeks into a larger pool of technology enthusiasts and investors looking to be part of web 3.0 – the *decentralized internet*. Continue reading

## Archive for the Video / Theatre Category

## The birth of a market

Posted in Video / Theatre on August 30, 2017 by Brit Cruise## Markov Chains: The link between Plato, Bernoulli, Markov & Claude Shannon

Posted in Research and Projects, Video / Theatre with tags bernoulli, central limit theorem, claude shannon, law of large numbers, markov, markov chains, Shannon, theory of forms, weak law of large numbers on June 27, 2013 by Brit CruiseWhy did Bernoulli mention Plato’s Theory of Forms in Ars Conjectandi? What does this have to do with free will?

This video is a broad introduction to the Weak Law of Large Numbers, the Central Limit Theorem and how it all led to Markov Chains…

Next, play around with this interactive, graphical Markov simulator!

3 decades later, Claude Shannon famously applied this idea to generate “english looking” messages in his *Mathematical Theory of Communication*:

## Logarithmic Measure of Information (Entropy Primer)

Posted in Video / Theatre with tags Entropy, hartley, logarithm, nyquist on June 1, 2013 by Brit CruiseIt wasn’t until 1920 that the question “how do we quantify information” was well articulated. This video introduces a key idea of Nyquist and Hartley, who laid the groundwork for Claude Shannon’s historic equation (Information Entropy) two decades later. In these early papers, the idea of using a logarithmic function appears, something which isn’t immediately obvious to most students fresh to this subject. If one ‘takes this for granted’ they will forever miss the deeper insights which come later. So, the goal of this video is to provide intuition behind why the logarithm was the ‘natural’ choice…

## Electricity, Magnetism, Morse & The Information Age.

Posted in Video / Theatre with tags alessandro volta, battery, benjamin franklin, electromagnetism, history of telegraphs, information age, information theory, morse code, static electricity, telegraph, voltaic pile, western union on March 2, 2013 by Brit CruiseThe follow three video mini-series is a bit of an Engineering detour in the story of information theory. In order to easily grasp the ideas of Hartley and Shannon, I felt it would be beneficial to lay some groundwork. It began with my own selfish interest in wanting to relive some famous experiments & technologies from the 19th Century. Specifically, why did the Information Age arise? When and how did electricity play a role in communication? Why was magnetism involved? Why did Morse code become so popular compared to the European designs? How was information understood before words (and concepts) such as “bit” existed? What’s the difference between static electricity and current?

All of these questions are answered as we slowly uncover a more modern approach to sending **differences over a distance…**

The History of Electricity

The Battery and Electromagnetism

Morse Code and the Information Age

Click below to practice Morse Code!

## Conditional Probability (Bayes Theorem) Visualized

Posted in Research and Projects, Video / Theatre with tags bayes theorem, coins, conditional probability, probability on January 24, 2013 by Brit CruiseIt’s powerful to understand how conditional probability can be visualized using decision trees. I wanted to create an alternative to most explanations which often start with many abstractions. I was drawn to the idea of looking at the back pages of a choose-your-own-adventure book, and deciding how you could have arrived there. Here I present a visual method using a story involving coins… allowing you to decide how to formalize. Once we grow tired of growing trees, we may ask the key questions: how can we speed up this process?:

This is followed by a game I designed (built by Peter Collingridge) which introduces how branches can be *weighted* instead of counted.

Thanks to Kalid Azad for reviewing this lesson.

## Information Theory, a practical approach

Posted in Research and Projects, Video / Theatre with tags claude shannon, decision tree, hartley, history of telegraph, information theory, probability tree on January 15, 2013 by Brit CruiseIn order to understand the subtle conceptual shifts leading to the insights behind Information Theory, I felt a historical foundation was needed. First I decided to present the viewer with a practical problem which future mathematical concepts will be applied to. Ideally this will allow the viewer to independently develop key intuitions, and most importantly, begin asking the right *kind* of questions:

I noticed the viewer ideas for how to compress information (reduce plucks) fell into two general camps. The first are ways of using differentials in time to reduce the number of plucks. The second are ways of making different kind of plucks to increase the expressive capability of a single pluck. Also, hiding in the background is the problem of what to do about character spaces. Next I thought it would be beneficial to pause and follow a historical narrative (case study) exploring this problem. My goal here is two congratulate the viewer for independently realizing a previously ‘revolutionary’ idea, and at the same time, reinforcing some conceptual mechanics we will need later. It was also important to connect this video to previous lessons on the origins of our alphabet (a key technology in our story), providing a bridge from proto-aphabets we previously explored….

This is followed by a simulation which nails down the point that each state is really a decision path

## The History of the Alphabet

Posted in Video / Theatre with tags cuneiform, demotic, egypt, harold innis, hieratic, history of alphabet, mesopotamia, papyrus on November 23, 2012 by Brit Cruise

Before jumping into Information Theory proper I decided to go back and explore the history of the Alphabet. This reminds us that communication, no matter how fluid it seems, is really just a series of selections. I’m using both Shannon and Harold Innis as inspiration for this series which is why I’m clarifying medium vs. message as well as information transmission over space vs. time – ideas which are popularized by Marshall McLuhan years later. By starting this way I’m able to carefully move away from the semantic issues of information and towards what Shannon called the “engineering problem”. This analogy will carry through the rest of the series so it’s important to lay the groundwork early on.

We are now ready for the problem…

## Prime Number Theorem: logarithmic density

Posted in Video / Theatre with tags gauss, golden spiral, logarithmic spiral, prime density, prime number theorem on November 2, 2012 by Brit Cruise

This video is an attempt to explain the Prime Number Theorem in a way that gives you a tactile intuition regarding the density of primes. It’s an idea Gauss is famous for having at the age of 16 while studying tables of prime numbers < size (x). The idea for this video came to me while walking in the forest and noting the gradual shift in leaf density as I moved away from the trees. I thought it could be a nice way to introduce density gradient.

More importantly, check out the amazing visualization that Khan Academy user Peter Collingridge made to follow up the video:

http://www.khanacademy.org/cs/spiral-sieve-of-eratosthenes/1125572884

## The Origins of Written Language

Posted in Video / Theatre with tags alphabet, cuneiform, egypt, history of alphabet, ideogram, language, origin of language, pictogram, rebus, written language on October 15, 2012 by Brit CruiseIn order to understand the origin of an **alphabet** we must first forget everything we know.

What would happen if we traveled back 50,000 years to meet our ancestors? How would we communicate with them?

This video reintroduces us to cave art, pictograms, ideograms and the rebus principle:

## Information Theory: The Language of Coins

Posted in Video / Theatre with tags claude shannon, Entropy, information theory on September 15, 2012 by Brit CruiseI’ll never forget the first time I was introduced to Information Theory. My TA Mike Burrel began a lecture by writing a string of 0’s and 1’s on the board and asked us to think about what it meant. It was followed by a trance-like state of excitement…how did I not hear of this before? Three years later I’m thrilled to be launching an entire episode on the topic. It was a true joy to go back to square one and relearn the topic with a childlike curiosity…My goal is to create a Myst inspired adventure which includes various puzzles along the way.

Episode #2: The Language of Coins

## RSA Encryption Algorithm: Complimentary Colors & Trapdoors

Posted in Video / Theatre with tags euler's theorem, eulers phi function, prime factorization, public key cryptography, rsa algorithm, rsa encryption on July 30, 2012 by Brit CruiseFiguring out a brief way to explain how & why the RSA encryption algorithm works was a daunting task. My goal was to find a balance between a rigorous 2+ hour technical explanation (for this I’d suggest Dan Boneh’s crypto course) and a simplified intuitive example. I came up… Continue reading

## Perfect Secrecy & Pseudorandomness

Posted in Video / Theatre with tags cryptography, john von neumann, middle squares method, pseudorandom, pseudorandom number generators, stream cipher on May 4, 2012 by Brit Cruise

Check out my interactive exploration of random walks on khanacademy labs.

When someone rolls dice, or selects a card from a shuffled deck the best possible strategy for predicting the outcome can’t beat a blind guess. This is because each outcome is equally likely. When we apply random shifts to our messages it results in a ciphertext which is indistinguishable from any other message – it contains no information. The problem with this method of encryption (one-time pad) is that we must share all the random shifts in advance. What happens when we apply pseudorandom shifts instead? We can relax our definition of perfect secrecy and achieve *practical security*…

## WW2 Encryption Machines – Key Spaces

Posted in Video / Theatre with tags cipher machines, cryptography, encryption machines, enigma machine, rotor machines, turing, war, ww2 on March 13, 2012 by Brit Cruise

Over the past few weeks was editing a video which Continue reading

## Public Key Cryptography: Diffie-Hellman Key Exchange

Posted in Video / Theatre with tags diffie-hellman key exchange, discrete logarithm, modular arithmetic, public key cryptography, simon singh on February 26, 2012 by Brit Cruise## 2000 years of Cryptography in 8.5 minutes

Posted in Video / Theatre with tags caesar cipher, codebreaking, Cryptanalysis, cryptography, one-time pad, polyalphabetic, randomness, randomness in cryptography on February 14, 2012 by Brit CruiseThis video covers this history of Cryptography through the lens of Cryptanalysis. It takes us from the Caesar Cipher to the one-time pad…a daunting task in 8 minutes. My strategy for this was based on much reflection after completing a course in Cryptography last year…I was seeking out the kernel of what is required to understand the big picture. This brought me to analogies which connect the idea of a fingerprint to *unique frequency distribution*, and information leak to *differentials in the distribution*. Hopefully this lends some intuitive weight when I explain the strength of the one-time pad…which is a lovely concept.