Foundations of Information Science

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By Matsuno's kickoff at 6 May 2002, the discussions are officially beginning

Dear FISers,

  Pedro Marijuan asked me to serve a chair in this FIS 2002 e-conference.
(The preamble of the FIS 2002 and all of the technical deails are found at  ) Although I don't know exactly what the
role should be, I took liberty of saying something on a couple of papers as
a kickoff, and would like to see what would follow, of course, from both
sides of the pros and the cons.

   I initially picked up three papers by John Collier, Andrei Igamberdiev
and Pedro Marijuan because of some familiarity of the subject matter to me.

   What I could get from John Collier's is in short "One step backwards to
be  followed, hopefully, by two steps forwards". I am pretty sure that many
of us would now feel sick and tired about the issue of information because
the language to be employed for elucidating what information is all about is
already information-laden. One attempt at coping with the inevitable
complication associated with information which John took up is to make an
appeal to an expression of information, instead of its literal representation.

   John took so-called the internalist stance for expressing information
with recourse to the contrast between the possible and the actual. If one
takes the externalist position claiming that there is nothing new under the
sun, the burden of specifying what information is should solely be upon the
shoulder of the innocent company who is destined to receive it. Instead, the
possible which John focused anticipates serious negotiation between the
concerned parties, each of which has a very good reason vindicating its
own local position. John's physical information is about a sort of enigma
that looks actual towards the past, but possible towards the future. The
actual part of information is about the negotiation already settled, and the
possible part is about the current agenda on the table yet to be negotiated.
The absence of the global arbiter might be a serious drawback to some
one, but the very absence can furnish us with an open-end opportunity for

   As sharing almost the similar view, Pedro Marijuan came up with
revitalizing the idea of the invisible hand. If one looks at the miraculous
accomplishment that all of the concerned parties have jointly achieved so
far, it would seem as if guided by the invisible hand even in the absence of
the external arbiter. This is of course an anthropocentric metaphor in the
best sense of the word. The point in focus is, however, that a simple
bookkeeping between supplier and consumer is the sole means for tailoring
such an exquisite and unbelievable invisible hand. Adam Smith must have
anticipated what the 21st century would be going to accomplish in the name
of information.

   Andrei Igamberdiev faced, in a head-on manner, the material underpinning
of the bookkeeping between supplier and consumer. Material transaction is
the business of quantum mechanics. Surprisingly enough, Andrei turned the
standard practice of quantum mechanics totally upside down. Andrei's
internal quantum state is the one that can remain stable or robust as
against measurements proceeding internally. Although the standard quantum
mechanics has told us that the quantum wavefunction is extremely fragile
against the operation called measurement (e.g., a Schroedinger's cat), it
must also be quantum mechanics which is responsible for securing the
stability of our every-day material world. If quantum mechanics cannot meet
this challenge, our life would simply turn out to be a bad joke. Andrei has
set the agenda that internal quantum state must be about a necessary
infrastructure upholding the material world informationally.

   Information at the turn of the 21st century seems to be a thread
connecting physics, chemistry, biology and even economics. A common
denominator is serious negotiation between supplier and consumer.


     Koichiro Matsuno
     Department of BioEngineering
     Nagaoka University of Technology
     Nagaoka 940-2188, Japan
     Voice & Fax: +81 258 47 9420

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