Artificial Intelligence - Who Is J. Doyne Farmer?


J. Doyne Farmer (1952–) is a leading expert in artificial life, artificial evolution, and artificial intelligence in the United States.

He is most known for being the head of a group of young people who utilized a wearable computer to get an edge while playing on the roulette wheel at various Nevada casinos.

Farmer founded Eudaemonic Enterprises with boyhood buddy Norman Packard and others in graduate school in order to conquer the game of roulette in Las Vegas.

Farmer felt that by understanding the mechanics of a roulette ball in motion, they could design a computer to anticipate which numbered pocket it would end up in.

After releasing the ball on the spinning roulette wheel, the group identified and exploited the fact that it takes around 10 seconds for a croupier to settle bets.

The findings of their research were finally encoded into a little computer buried within a shoe's sole.

The shoe's user entered the ball's location and velocity information with his big toe, and a second person placed the bets when the signal was given.

The gang did not win big quantities of money while gambling due to frequent hardware issues, and they left after approximately a dozen excursions to different casinos.

According to the gang, they had a 20 percent edge over the house.

Several breakthroughs in chaos theory and complexity systems research are ascribed to the Eudaemonic Enterprises group.

Farmer's metadynamics AI algorithms have been used to model the beginning of life and the human immune system's operation.

While at the Santa Fe Institute, Farmer became regarded as a pioneer of complexity economics, or "econophysics." Farmer demonstrated how, similar to a natural food chain, enterprises and groupings of firms build a market ecology of species.

The growth and earnings of individual enterprises, as well as the groups to which they belong, are influenced by this web and the trading methods used by the firms.

Trading businesses, like natural predators, take advantage of these patterns of influence and diversity.

He observed that trading businesses might use both stabilizing and destabilizing techniques to help or hurt the whole market ecology.

  • Farmer cofounded the Prediction Company in order to create advanced statistical financial trading methods and automated quantitative trading in the hopes of outperforming the stock market and making quick money. UBS ultimately bought the firm.
  • He is now working on a book on the rational expectations approach to behavioral economics, and he proposes that complexity economics, which is made up of common "rules of thumb" or heuristics discovered in psychological tests and sociological studies of humans, is the way ahead. In chess, for example, "a queen is better than a rook" is an example heuristic.

Farmer is presently Oxford University's Baillie Gifford Professor of Mathematics.

  • He earned his bachelor's degree in physics from Stanford University and his master's degree in physics from the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he studied under George Blumenthal.
  • He is a cofounder of the journal Quantitative Finance and an Oppenheimer Fellow.
  • Farmer grew up in Silver City, New Mexico, where he was motivated by his Scoutmaster, scientist Tom Ingerson, who had the lads looking for abandoned Spanish gold mines and plotting a journey to Mars.
  • He credits such early events with instilling in him a lifelong passion for scientific research.

Jai Krishna Ponnappan

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See also: 

Newell, Allen.

Further Reading:

Bass, Thomas A. 1985. The Eudaemonic Pie. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Bass, Thomas A. 1998. The Predictors: How a Band of Maverick Physicists Used Chaos Theory to Trade Their Way to a Fortune on Wall Street. New York: Henry Holt.

Brockman, John, ed. 2005. Curious Minds: How a Child Becomes a Scientist. New York: Vintage Books.

Freedman, David H. 1994. Brainmakers: How Scientists Are Moving Beyond Computers to Create a Rival to the Human Brain. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Waldrop, M. Mitchell. 1992. Complexity: The Emerging Science at the Edge of Order and Chaos. New York: Simon & Schuster.

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