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# Azimuth 2.0

edited February 22 in Strategy

Hi, it feels like time to bring the home page up to date. Here is a draft version for a new home page.

Circumstances have changed, as well as our focuses. Yet I have tried to preserve the "Azimuth spirit" in this writing.

Open for discussion.

«13

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1.

Hi David, I like what you've written. I think it's clear and focused. I look forward to understanding what is meant by Green Math.

Personally, I am interested in category theory as it comes up in understanding the big picture in mathematics. In particular, I am working on a map of how math unfolds with its various branches, concepts, questions, conclusions... http://www.ms.lt/sodas/Book/Math I imagine that would be helpful for collaboration and for learning.

Comment Source:Hi David, I like what you've written. I think it's clear and focused. I look forward to understanding what is meant by Green Math. Personally, I am interested in category theory as it comes up in understanding the big picture in mathematics. In particular, I am working on a map of how math unfolds with its various branches, concepts, questions, conclusions... http://www.ms.lt/sodas/Book/Math I imagine that would be helpful for collaboration and for learning.
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2.
edited February 16

Thank you Andrius.

I just made a substantial edit. The new version is more succinct. Details about engaging with the forum will be offloaded to the wiki for the Azimuth Forum.

Comment Source:Thank you Andrius. I just made a substantial edit. The new version is more succinct. Details about engaging with the forum will be offloaded to the wiki for the Azimuth Forum.
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3.
edited February 16

As indicated in resources section, as part of this plan I propose to refactor the wiki into a few webs.

Each web of Instiki website is a separate namespace for articles. Yet the webs are housed together in the same database, and you can create interweb links.

Comment Source:As indicated in resources section, as part of this plan I propose to refactor the wiki into a few webs. Each web of Instiki website is a separate namespace for articles. Yet the webs are housed together in the same database, and you can create interweb links. 
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4.

Presently, the wiki is a "kitchen sink" mixture of heterogenous types: articles from the inactive Azimuth science library, drafts of blog articles, and, much more excitingly, a place where Joe Moeller is now actively adding math pages for his research.

Comment Source:Presently, the wiki is a "kitchen sink" mixture of heterogenous types: articles from the inactive Azimuth science library, drafts of blog articles, and, much more excitingly, a place where Joe Moeller is now actively adding math pages for his research. 
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5.
edited February 16

In principle, content can be differentiated by using the category:abc tags.

But that falls short of creating separate namespaces for things which really deserve to be separated, like old drafts of blog articles and key definitions in a research wiki.

In particular, searching the wiki will pull up all of these pages into the search results.

Having separate webs also makes it possible for different sub-communities to develop their own page naming conventions.

Clicking on "All Pages" becomes more useful when it doesn't pull up all kinds of things which appear random because they are out of context.

Comment Source:In principle, content can be differentiated by using the category:abc tags. But that falls short of creating separate namespaces for things which really deserve to be separated, like old drafts of blog articles and key definitions in a research wiki. In particular, searching the wiki will pull up all of these pages into the search results. Having separate webs also makes it possible for different sub-communities to develop their own page naming conventions. Clicking on "All Pages" becomes more useful when it doesn't pull up all kinds of things which appear random because they are out of context.
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6.
edited February 16

So my plan is to initially create three new webs, one for the blogging sandbox, one for the Azimuth science library, and one for the Azimuth Code Project (including experiments).

I'll use a database update to move those pages, along with their histories, to the new webs.

These webs will be linked on homepage, so there will be no loss of accessibility or visibility - in fact it will promote visibility, by giving each thing its own clear home.

Comment Source:So my plan is to initially create three new webs, one for the blogging sandbox, one for the Azimuth science library, and one for the Azimuth Code Project (including experiments). I'll use a database update to move those pages, along with their histories, to the new webs. These webs will be linked on homepage, so there will be no loss of accessibility or visibility - in fact it will promote visibility, by giving each thing its own clear home. 
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7.

What will remain, I believe, will be the pages that Joe is actively creating.

Won't this be nice, to have an active web on the front page!

Comment Source:What will remain, I believe, will be the pages that Joe is actively creating. Won't this be nice, to have an active web on the front page! 
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8.
edited February 16

This web can then be re-designated as the Azimuth applied category community wiki.

Comment Source:This web can then be re-designated as the Azimuth applied category community wiki.
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9.

As needs evolve, new webs can be created, and linked into the appropriate place on the Azimuth Project page, or on the wiki page for the Azimuth Forum.

For example, were there sufficient interest on the forum, a "side-web" could be created for writing up solutions to math exercises.

Comment Source:As needs evolve, new webs can be created, and linked into the appropriate place on the Azimuth Project page, or on the wiki page for the Azimuth Forum. For example, were there sufficient interest on the forum, a "side-web" could be created for writing up solutions to math exercises. 
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10.
edited February 16

In my new version of the draft, I wrote:

The Azimuth Project aims to promote research and education for the math and science that will be needed to survive the environmental crisis and thrive beyond it.

We could think of this as the "Azimuth principle."

Really, what it amounts to is a fundamental goal for humanistic science in the current age. So we can't claim any exclusive ownership here.

On the other hand, John does deserve credit for clearly grasping and articulating it, advocating for it, initiating the Azimuth Project, and leading fundamental research in this direction!

Comment Source:In my new version of the draft, I wrote: > The Azimuth Project aims to promote research and education for the math and science that will be needed to survive the environmental crisis and thrive beyond it. We could think of this as the "Azimuth principle." Really, what it amounts to is a fundamental goal for humanistic science in the current age. So we can't claim any exclusive ownership here. On the other hand, John does deserve credit for clearly grasping and articulating it, advocating for it, initiating the Azimuth Project, and leading fundamental research in this direction! 
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11.

1001 groups around the globe could be working on some aspect of the Azimuth/humanistic-science mission.

The Azimuth Project, as a particular organization, is now working in the sector of applied category theory.

Comment Source:1001 groups around the globe could be working on some aspect of the Azimuth/humanistic-science mission. The Azimuth Project, as a particular organization, is now working in the sector of applied category theory.
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12.

I also wrote in the draft:

We are open to the inclusion of new projects, provided they are closely connected with our aim stated above. Please join the Azimuth Forum to tell us about your ideas.

Comment Source:I also wrote in the draft: > We are open to the inclusion of new projects, provided they are closely connected with our aim stated above. Please join the Azimuth Forum to tell us about your ideas. 
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13.

For the longer term, we can be open to the possibility of offering resources, in particular wiki webs, to other projects that we may come to deem as part of the core Azimuth project -- or sufficiently simpatico to Azimuth.

Comment Source:For the longer term, we can be open to the possibility of offering resources, in particular wiki webs, to other projects that we may come to deem as part of the core Azimuth project -- or sufficiently simpatico to Azimuth. 
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14.
edited February 16

In any case, new wiki webs would only be granted to other groups provided that they first presented their case on the forum for inclusion into Azimuth, and provided that consensus was then reached on the forum to grant that web.

Comment Source:In any case, new wiki webs would only be granted to other groups provided that they first presented their case on the forum for inclusion into Azimuth, and provided that consensus was then reached on the forum to grant that web.
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15.
edited February 16

Open to discussion on any of these points. I'm looking to get started with these changes in early March.

Comment Source:Open to discussion on any of these points. I'm looking to get started with these changes in early March.
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16.

We are open to the inclusion of new projects, provided they are closely connected with our aim stated above, [in that t]he Azimuth Project aims to promote research and education for the math and science that will be needed to survive the environmental crisis and thrive beyond it.

I've recently reached a logical point to pause in my existing research programme, and I have made available on researchgate a short summary here. Some of the work is not very sensible and perhaps a little bit 'out there', but there are I think many pieces of interesting structure and insight therein that people might like to formalise.

Included in the summary are sketches as to how the ideas to date could be extended for the next phase of the programme, which I anticipate to be much more abstract that what has already been done, and potentially also more interesting.

In particular, I'm currently looking to hand over what I have already written in that respect, and sow the seeds for future work. A new wiki web could potentially be part of that.

In any case, new wiki webs would only be granted to other groups provided that they first presented their case on the forum for inclusion into Azimuth, and provided that consensus was then reached on the forum to grant that web.

Would it be reasonable for me to start a thread on this topic re: looking for some form of consensus?

Given that I am at present a group of one, I do not mind if the answer is a "not at present, but maybe in the future" one for the time being - or even a flat "no", as I do realise that adding pages to a subwiki could be a moderate amount of work and responsibility.

Comment Source:>We are open to the inclusion of new projects, provided they are closely connected with our aim stated above, [in that t]he Azimuth Project aims to promote research and education for the math and science that will be needed to survive the environmental crisis and thrive beyond it. I've recently reached a logical point to pause in my existing research programme, and I have made available on researchgate a short summary [here](https://www.researchgate.net/publication/338825550_A_map_of_a_research_programme_for_subtlety_theory). Some of the work is not very sensible and perhaps a little bit 'out there', but there are I think many pieces of interesting structure and insight therein that people might like to formalise. Included in the summary are sketches as to how the ideas to date could be extended for the next phase of the programme, which I anticipate to be much more abstract that what has already been done, and potentially also more interesting. In particular, I'm currently looking to hand over what I have already written in that respect, and sow the seeds for future work. A new wiki web could potentially be part of that. >In any case, new wiki webs would only be granted to other groups provided that they first presented their case on the forum for inclusion into Azimuth, and provided that consensus was then reached on the forum to grant that web. Would it be reasonable for me to start a thread on this topic re: looking for some form of consensus? Given that I am at present a group of one, I do not mind if the answer is a "not at present, but maybe in the future" one for the time being - or even a flat "no", as I do realise that adding pages to a subwiki could be a moderate amount of work and responsibility.
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17.
edited February 17

Hi Chris!

It would be great to start a thread describing what your project is about - including how you might see it fitting in with the goals of Azimuth, as you understand or would like them to be.

Regarding the web itself, I'd like to punt on it for the short term, as we're now in a clarification phase about the definition of Azimuth itself. Hopefully this will be settled in the near future.

Thanks!

Comment Source:Hi Chris! It would be great to start a thread describing what your project is about - including how you might see it fitting in with the goals of Azimuth, as you understand or would like them to be. Regarding the web itself, I'd like to punt on it for the short term, as we're now in a clarification phase about the definition of Azimuth itself. Hopefully this will be settled in the near future. Thanks! 
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18.
edited February 21

Hi Azimuthers, I've substantially rewritten my draft for a new home page. Though it's not done yet, the main idea is now clearly spelled out. I'm pasting it in the next comment, for consideration and discussion.

Comment Source:Hi Azimuthers, I've substantially rewritten my draft for a new home page. Though it's not done yet, the main idea is now clearly spelled out. I'm pasting it in the next comment, for consideration and discussion. 
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19.
edited February 21

Welcome to the Azimuth Project!

The Azimuth Project aims to promote the math and science that will be needed to survive the environmental crisis and prosper beyond it. As one piece of the jigsaw puzzle, we are looking into the potential of applied category theory, an emerging, interdisciplinary field which seeks to put the abstract relational framework of category theory to use. Diversity applications are cropping up, for instance in computer science, topology, linguistics and the study of complex networks, including electrical circuits, chemical reactions and species webs in ecology. We'd like to nudge things "greenwards."

In what could be called the "Azimuth Laboratory", an academic research group at UCR is probing for the foundations in category theory of a green mathematics to grasp biological complexity at an essential level. In a complementary effort, the Azimuth Forum is an open association for public study of applied category theory and the many fields of math and science to which it may extend, with a special interest in following the ongoing work in green mathematics.

Due to the contemporary relevance and scope of these ideas, our project goals may appeal to a heterogeneous group of audiences, such as researchers, computer programmers, college students and teachers. To accommodate a range of mathematical backgrounds, we aim to create review sections to help everyone find a comfortable zone to start working in.

Comment Source:Welcome to the **Azimuth Project**! The Azimuth Project aims to promote the math and science that will be needed to survive the environmental crisis and prosper beyond it. As one piece of the jigsaw puzzle, we are looking into the potential of _applied category theory_, an emerging, interdisciplinary field which seeks to put the abstract relational framework of category theory to use. Diversity applications are cropping up, for instance in computer science, topology, linguistics and the study of complex networks, including electrical circuits, chemical reactions and species webs in ecology. We'd like to nudge things "greenwards." In what could be called the "Azimuth Laboratory", an academic research group at UCR is probing for the foundations in category theory of a _green mathematics_ to grasp biological complexity at an essential level. In a complementary effort, the Azimuth Forum is an open association for public study of applied category theory and the many fields of math and science to which it may extend, with a special interest in following the ongoing work in green mathematics. Due to the contemporary relevance and scope of these ideas, our project goals may appeal to a heterogeneous group of audiences, such as researchers, computer programmers, college students and teachers. To accommodate a range of mathematical backgrounds, we aim to create review sections to help everyone find a comfortable zone to start working in.
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20.
edited February 21

The rest of it will give an overview of how this can be implemented.

Here's the basic idea. Structurally, Azimuth is divided into "content zones," each based around a theme. Each content zone is based on a project idea, like GreenMath @ UCR, the classic Azimuth climate science project, the ACT study group, a specialized study group / journal club on green mathematics, or a curriculum area for undergraduate math review.

Each content zone may have resources associated with it: (1) a wiki web or a section with a larger wiki web, (2) a discussion forum zone, based upon forum categories and a schema of tags for the project, and possibly a "blog channel."

Comment Source:The rest of it will give an overview of how this can be implemented. Here's the basic idea. Structurally, Azimuth is divided into "content zones," each based around a theme. Each content zone is based on a project idea, like GreenMath @ UCR, the classic Azimuth climate science project, the ACT study group, a specialized study group / journal club on green mathematics, or a curriculum area for undergraduate math review. Each content zone may have resources associated with it: (1) a wiki web or a section with a larger wiki web, (2) a discussion forum zone, based upon forum categories and a schema of tags for the project, and possibly a "blog channel." 
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21.
edited February 21

I don't want to get bogged down in too much technical discussion now - or have to spend a lot of time looking for nicer software, when what is most needed now are ideas, content and communications - everything in its due time. So I'd like to squeeze as much juice as possible out what we have now.

For this we can make use of "side categories" which don't publish to recent discussions - for any project that is likely to produce too much detail for the main screen.

Eventually there will be a way to choose in your profile which categories you want to be included in recent discussions (and, ideally, which categories + tags), so it will then be a non-issue. They have that in the commercial version of Vanilla, which costs a ton (they call it sub-communities). So some hacking would have to be done, to make a plugin for our version that supports this.

And it's not that bad to have a side category. You can always subscribe to notifications for posts to it. And for prominent side categories, we can place readily visible links to make it easier to navigate to. There are also browser bookmarks :)

Each forum category also has "announcement" discussions as a resource. For any journal club or study group content zone, it makes sense to have the syllabus as an announcement.

Comment Source:I don't want to get bogged down in too much technical discussion now - or have to spend a lot of time looking for nicer software, when what is most needed now are ideas, content and communications - everything in its due time. So I'd like to squeeze as much juice as possible out what we have now. For this we can make use of "side categories" which don't publish to recent discussions - for any project that is likely to produce too much detail for the main screen. _Eventually_ there will be a way to choose in your profile which categories you want to be included in recent discussions (and, ideally, which categories + tags), so it will then be a non-issue. They have that in the commercial version of Vanilla, which costs a ton (they call it sub-communities). So some hacking would have to be done, to make a plugin for our version that supports this. And it's not *that* bad to have a side category. You can always subscribe to notifications for posts to it. And for prominent side categories, we can place readily visible links to make it easier to navigate to. There are also browser bookmarks :) Each forum category also has "announcement" discussions as a resource. For any journal club or study group content zone, it makes sense to have the syllabus as an announcement. 
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22.
edited February 21

For a prototype of a content zone, click on the link "Math Review" on the top bar (or the category Math Review).

Let's face it, nobody is born knowing how to compute the determinant of a matrix. So if a research posts something which assumes this understanding, people who haven't had math in college will likely be lost. That includes a lot of intelligent software developers - and we have a lot of them here. If only they had a review section on the forum to turn to, to talk about the determinant with fellow Azimuthers, without bogging down the research level discussion. Without this, they may lose interest and abandon the forum.

We have over 1200 members, at least 30% of which I would guess are developers. By and large, they are gone.

Well, a side category solves this; it is appropriate to ask about what the determinant means, in a section for college level math review. And it's a good question!

Comment Source:For a prototype of a content zone, click on the link "Math Review" on the top bar (or the category Math Review). Let's face it, nobody is born knowing how to compute the determinant of a matrix. So if a research posts something which assumes this understanding, people who haven't had math in college will likely be lost. That includes a lot of intelligent software developers - and we have a lot of them here. If only they had a review section on the forum to turn to, to talk about the determinant with fellow Azimuthers, without bogging down the research level discussion. Without this, they may lose interest and abandon the forum. We have over 1200 members, _at least_ 30% of which I would guess are developers. By and large, they are gone. Well, a side category solves this; it _is_ appropriate to ask about what the determinant means, in a section for college level math review. And it's a good question! 
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23.
edited February 21

I was picturing the following sections for math review:

• Section 1 = approximately undergraduate
• Section 2 = approximately graduate
• Category theory
• Applied math (which could include climate science)
• Computer science (which could include programming)

Here category theory would be the pure math stuff, e.g., definition of monads. That's different than in the ACT study zone, which would talk about Haskell, and monads in Haskell, and could refer to the mathy stuff in math review.

Comment Source:I was picturing the following sections for math review: * Section 1 = approximately undergraduate * Section 2 = approximately graduate * Category theory * Applied math (which could include climate science) * Computer science (which could include programming) Here category theory would be the pure math stuff, e.g., definition of monads. That's different than in the ACT study zone, which would talk about Haskell, and monads in Haskell, and could refer to the mathy stuff in math review. 
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24.

The math review sections would be like bullpens.

At our leading edge would be the content zone for journal club on green math.

Suppose that zone A is more advanced then zone B. Then B could follow and learn from the work in A. And people from B who like to teach could answer questions and lead discussions in A

And A could be a "feeder" into B, in the sense that people who really work hard in A may get ramped up enough to then contribute to B.

Comment Source:The math review sections would be like bullpens. At our leading edge would be the content zone for journal club on green math. Suppose that zone A is more advanced then zone B. Then B could follow and learn from the work in A. And people from B who like to teach could answer questions and lead discussions in A And A could be a "feeder" into B, in the sense that people who really work hard in A may get ramped up enough to then contribute to B. 
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25.
edited February 21

We can separate out the general modular structure that I am proposing, from the specific set of projects, tags, etc. that I am proposing.

Stepping back, I ask people to consider first the mission statement that I proposed in comment #19, then second the content zone concept, then only third the ontology of projects that I suggested (which I will collect into a single statement to be posted later).

Comment Source:We can separate out the general modular structure that I am proposing, from the specific set of projects, tags, etc. that I am proposing. Stepping back, I ask people to consider first the mission statement that I proposed in comment #19, then second the content zone concept, then only third the ontology of projects that I suggested (which I will collect into a single statement to be posted later). 
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26.

At a high level, what does this amount to?

It is a shift of emphasis. Whereas before we were a gaggle of concerned professionals who wanted to help save the planet, only organized when John was directly leading us, and virtually disbanded when he was working on other things. The goal was not realistic, and apart from our moments in the sun back in the heyday with John, the organization was not productive.

Now the expectations are scaled down to things which are Earth-sized and attainable. John is pursuing green math research, which he is good at and loves to do.

We are pivoting to an educational mandate. This has been happening in actual fact, in that the real group activity that we have seen in recent years has been as part of courses in applied category theory.

My proposal just takes things a step further, by making activities like this the point of Azimuth 2.0.

Comment Source:At a high level, what does this amount to? It is a shift of emphasis. Whereas before we were a gaggle of concerned professionals who wanted to help save the planet, only organized when John was directly leading us, and virtually disbanded when he was working on other things. The goal was not realistic, and apart from our moments in the sun back in the heyday with John, the _organization_ was not productive. Now the expectations are scaled down to things which are Earth-sized and attainable. John is pursuing green math research, which he is good at and loves to do. We are pivoting to an _educational_ mandate. This has been happening in actual fact, in that the real group activity that we have seen in recent years has been as part of _courses_ in applied category theory. My proposal just takes things a step further, by making activities like this the _point_ of Azimuth 2.0. 
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27.

Note that Azimuth 2 is a fully backward compatible extension of Azimuth 1. Azimuth 1 will can now be viewed as a content zone.

And the main panel will be available for free-roaming discussions, just as it ever was.

And Paul et. al can keep on keeping on with their research work on the forum. I think that's great.

Comment Source:Note that Azimuth 2 is a fully backward compatible extension of Azimuth 1. Azimuth 1 will can now be viewed as a content zone. And the main panel will be available for free-roaming discussions, just as it ever was. And Paul et. al can keep on keeping on with their research work on the forum. I think that's great. 
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28.

But as a team we need more.

All of us were drawn to Azimuth for one reason or another, in general some combination of wanting to do good for the world, learn new things, and collaborate with colleagues.

To my mind, although a lot of people have been involved in Azimuth 1 at one point or another, for various and understandable reasons, it hasn't delivered on these counts.

It could be depressing, given all the hopes that we came to Azimuth with. But rather than getting demoralized, we can...reform!

Comment Source:But as a _team_ we need more. All of us were drawn to Azimuth for one reason or another, in general some combination of wanting to do good for the world, learn new things, and collaborate with colleagues. To my mind, although a lot of people have been involved in Azimuth 1 at one point or another, for various and understandable reasons, it hasn't delivered on these counts. It could be depressing, given all the hopes that we came to Azimuth with. But rather than getting demoralized, we can...reform! 
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29.
edited February 21

We can do good, by learning and teaching things that matter.

To my mind, the prospects for green mathematics is way up there on that list!

By doing so, we are contributing to the very needed culture of science. There's an intellectual war going on against science. Against the value of truth.

By doing so we keep the torch burning, through the dark windy night.

Comment Source:We _can_ do good, by learning and teaching things that matter. To my mind, the prospects for green mathematics is way up there on that list! By doing so, we are contributing to the very needed _culture_ of science. There's an intellectual war going on against science. Against the value of truth. By doing so we keep the torch burning, through the dark windy night. 
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30.

By popularizing the ideas of green math, categories, etc., we can promote a culture of science that may originate in universities but which extends far beyond them, into society at large.

By and large, every great scientist had a mother and a father - and their culture could have a vital effect on the progress of science.

Comment Source:By popularizing the ideas of green math, categories, etc., we can promote a culture of science that may originate in universities but which extends far beyond them, into society at large. By and large, every great scientist had a mother and a father - and _their_ culture could have a vital effect on the progress of science.
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31.
edited February 21

Colleagues, let us begin to work together in earnest.

Who's in? (At some level, even if just to strategize.)

Please message me with your email, if you are interested in being part of an offline discussion. Sure we can do a lot through the forum, but some things are handled better by email. Note that sending me your email doesn't mean a commitment of your time. Thanks!

Comment Source:Colleagues, let us begin to work together in earnest. Who's in? (At some level, even if just to strategize.) Please message me with your email, if you are interested in being part of an offline discussion. Sure we can do a lot through the forum, but some things are handled better by email. Note that sending me your email doesn't mean a commitment of your time. Thanks! 
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32.
edited February 21

John Baez wrote (in 2015):

My original dream was that the Azimuth Project would take off and fly on its own: that people would use the wiki and forum as a meeting-point to pursue various projects even without me getting involved in all those projects. I'm disappointed at how little this has happened. It's certainly happened to some extent: for example, most recently, Paul Pukite has been using the forum here as a place to talk about his research. And of course when I push, people jump in and help out, accomplishing things I could never accomplish myself: we saw that during the initial setup of the wiki, and the busy phase of the El Nino Project, and various other times.

I agree.

But that was Azimuth 1. We've seen the dawning of Azimuth 2 with the advent of the courses at MIT.

Comment Source:John Baez wrote (in 2015): > My original dream was that the Azimuth Project would take off and fly on its own: that people would use the wiki and forum as a meeting-point to pursue various projects even without me getting involved in all those projects. I'm disappointed at how little this has happened. It's certainly happened to _some_ extent: for example, most recently, Paul Pukite has been using the forum here as a place to talk about his research. And of course _when_ I push, people jump in and help out, accomplishing things I could never accomplish myself: we saw that during the initial setup of the wiki, and the busy phase of the El Nino Project, and various other times. I agree. But that was Azimuth 1. We've seen the dawning of Azimuth 2 with the advent of the courses at MIT. 
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33.
edited February 22

John Baez wrote (in 2015):

But I think I miscalculated some things, making mistakes that are hard to fix. One was publicizing the Azimuth Project before accumulating a team of people committed to working on it. This made the project look very "Baez-centric".

Perhaps, but I would not overgeneralize from that scenario in the past.

The biggest problem that I see with the Azimuth 1 structure is that, for a newcomer to the forum, there is was no visible path to engagement. In order to figure out how to contribute, an involved research initiative was called for on the part of each participant. And such a research initiative was hardly guaranteed to succeed!

Having full-time leaders present would be one good way to address this - but not necessarily the only way.

It may also possible to create structure that is visible, along with clear documentation and networking opportunities, which could reduce the need for full time leaders. I think this is worth exploring.

Comment Source:John Baez wrote (in 2015): > But I think I miscalculated some things, making mistakes that are hard to fix. One was publicizing the Azimuth Project _before_ accumulating a team of people committed to working on it. This made the project look very "Baez-centric". Perhaps, but I would not overgeneralize from that scenario in the past. The biggest problem that I see with the Azimuth 1 structure is that, for a newcomer to the forum, there is was no _visible path_ to engagement. In order to figure out how to contribute, an involved research initiative was called for on the part of each participant. And such a research initiative was hardly guaranteed to succeed! Having full-time leaders present would be one good way to address this - but not necessarily the only way. It may also possible to create structure that is visible, along with clear documentation and networking opportunities, which could reduce the need for full time leaders. I think this is worth exploring. 
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34.
edited February 22

On the other hand, despite these limitations, Azimuth 1 was a significant project, and was not in vain! First there were the accomplishments when John was engaged. Second Paul is using it as a medium for independent research. (And Jan and Chris to publicize their work.)

Moreover I think we've built up a real culture here, with a lot of people with interesting ideas and good values. It's changed the whole course of my thinking, and opened up entirely new areas of intellectual interest. Were it not for Azimuth, I might still be stuck in a corner working on some overly ambitious computer science ideas. Sidenote: Thanks John!!

And this culture positions us well as a launching ground for an exciting Azimuth 2 project.

Comment Source:On the other hand, despite these limitations, Azimuth 1 was a significant project, and was not in vain! First there were the accomplishments when John was engaged. Second Paul is using it as a medium for independent research. (And Jan and Chris to publicize their work.) Moreover I think we've built up a real _culture_ here, with a lot of people with interesting ideas and good values. It's changed the whole course of my thinking, and opened up entirely new areas of intellectual interest. Were it not for Azimuth, I might still be stuck in a corner working on some overly ambitious computer science ideas. Sidenote: Thanks John!! And this culture positions us well as a launching ground for an exciting Azimuth 2 project. 
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35.

@DavidTanzer Thanks for your stalwart efforts developing and maintaining the website over the years. And also your very helpful exercise comments and tutorial materials. Just my 2c worth but what do you think is wrong with the current Azimuth home page? I find it clear. comprehensive and concise. If anything I'd like it to broaden the appeal to the non-programmer engineers needed to implement green engineering solutions to climate and biosphere threats rather than further restrict it to mathematicians and IT professionals. For the Azimuth project to help apply category theory it needs to expand people's knowledge of the application domains. :)

Comment Source:@DavidTanzer Thanks for your stalwart efforts developing and maintaining the website over the years. And also your very helpful exercise comments and tutorial materials. Just my 2c worth but what do you think is wrong with the current Azimuth home page? I find it clear. comprehensive and concise. If anything I'd like it to broaden the appeal to the non-programmer engineers needed to implement green engineering solutions to climate and biosphere threats rather than further restrict it to mathematicians and IT professionals. For the Azimuth project to help apply category theory it needs to expand people's knowledge of the application domains. :) 
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36.
edited February 21

Hi Jim, thanks for your comments. Taking them into consideration has led me to an idea for a new draft that I believe will take into account the substance of the concerns you raised, while still working to broaden the appeal to include the vast majority of people who now coming to the forum with the express intention of learning about applied category theory.

Comment Source:Hi Jim, thanks for your comments. Taking them into consideration has led me to an idea for a new draft that I believe will take into account the substance of the concerns you raised, while still working to _broaden_ the appeal to include the vast majority of people who now coming to the forum with the express intention of learning about applied category theory. 
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37.
edited February 21

Now the expectations are scaled down to things which are Earth-sized and attainable. John is pursuing green math research, which he is good at and loves to do.

We are pivoting to an educational mandate. This has been happening in actual fact, in that the real group activity that we have seen in recent years has been as part of courses in applied category theory.

My proposal just takes things a step further, by making activities like this the point of Azimuth 2.0.

I think it is a good thing to focus more on education, as the comparative advantage of many of the founding members is from that perspective. Sometimes it is good to start from a place of strength before broadening one's mission (in my view). Of course, there are people on the forum who have decades of experience working in industry, so obviously it would be good to have a way for such individuals to continue to contribute to Azimuth 1.0. Then later on these two "branches" could be merged maybe into an "Azimuth 2.1".

Per the broader picture (beyond the educational mandate), and on "saving the planet" / steering the ship of civilisation through the next century (while ensuring prosperity for future generations):

Knowledge in general is a good thing. Of course, some knowledge can be misapplied, and there are "progress trap" type situations. In particular, it would be interesting to understand how to equip people with the toolkit required to plan and build for a better future. We are currently living in a strange and interesting time, wherein the problems are no longer so much "how should we solve this?" as "what should we solve for first?" or "is it even a good idea to solve for this problem?". Also "what are the problems that we need to solve for in which order of priority?"

Bearing these observations in mind, there are a few soft, and a few hard time limits involved (eg (for natural risks only) methane release from permafrost, the east antarctic ice sheet melting, potential shutdown of the gulf stream, etc etc). We also do not have complete knowledge as to what these time limits are, nor the threshold / tipping points that will cause these things to inevitably happen, and at what speed. The consequences of not meeting one are certainly not a show-stopper, but to put things in a detached way, at the very least they will end up reducing economic growth for future generations by a few percentage points, say.

Knowing what to solve for and in what sequence requires an understanding of risk (as well as opportunity). It requires an understanding of what it is possible to research, build, implement and deploy in particular periods of time. It also requires an understanding of people, and the social systems that they are part of. Perhaps Azimuth's educational mandate could evolve to equipping people with an understanding of, from a systems / cybernetic focus, as to how to "steer the ship" through such malleable waters? Just a thought!

### Back on topic / footnote

I'm a big fan of the recent shift in emphasis. It is good to see concrete courses on category theory being shared on the forum. Perhaps in the future we will see more educational materials and also perhaps from other areas of mathematics!

Comment Source:>Now the expectations are scaled down to things which are Earth-sized and attainable. John is pursuing green math research, which he is good at and loves to do. > >We are pivoting to an educational mandate. This has been happening in actual fact, in that the real group activity that we have seen in recent years has been as part of courses in applied category theory. > >My proposal just takes things a step further, by making activities like this the point of Azimuth 2.0. I think it is a good thing to focus more on education, as the comparative advantage of many of the founding members is from that perspective. Sometimes it is good to start from a place of strength before broadening one's mission (in my view). Of course, there are people on the forum who have decades of experience working in industry, so obviously it would be good to have a way for such individuals to continue to contribute to Azimuth 1.0. Then later on these two "branches" could be merged maybe into an "Azimuth 2.1". ### The broader picture Per the broader picture (beyond the educational mandate), and on "saving the planet" / steering the ship of civilisation through the next century (while ensuring prosperity for future generations): Knowledge in general is a good thing. Of course, some knowledge can be misapplied, and there are "progress trap" type situations. In particular, it would be interesting to understand how to equip people with the toolkit required to plan and build for a better future. We are currently living in a strange and interesting time, wherein the problems are no longer so much "how should we solve this?" as "what should we solve for first?" or "is it even a good idea to solve for this problem?". Also "what are the problems that we need to solve for in which order of priority?" Bearing these observations in mind, there are a few soft, and a few hard time limits involved (eg (for natural risks only) methane release from permafrost, the east antarctic ice sheet melting, potential shutdown of the gulf stream, etc etc). We also do not have complete knowledge as to what these time limits are, nor the threshold / tipping points that will cause these things to inevitably happen, and at what speed. The consequences of not meeting one are certainly not a show-stopper, but to put things in a detached way, at the very least they will end up reducing economic growth for future generations by a few percentage points, say. Knowing what to solve for and in what sequence requires an understanding of risk (as well as opportunity). It requires an understanding of what it is possible to research, build, implement and deploy in particular periods of time. It also requires an understanding of people, and the social systems that they are part of. Perhaps Azimuth's educational mandate could evolve to equipping people with an understanding of, from a systems / cybernetic focus, as to how to "steer the ship" through such malleable waters? Just a thought! ### Back on topic / footnote I'm a big fan of the recent shift in emphasis. It is good to see concrete courses on category theory being shared on the forum. Perhaps in the future we will see more educational materials and also perhaps from other areas of mathematics!
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38.
edited February 22

Jim wrote:

Just my 2c worth but what do you think is wrong with the current Azimuth home page? I find it clear. comprehensive and concise.

It is indeed a nice piece of literature, but it is dated and far from comprehensive. In particular by saying that it is for "scientists and engineers interested in saving the planet" it completely sidelines the majority of people who have been active on the forum in the past couple of years, who come here expressly as students of mathematics.

Furthermore, there is a severe disconnect between the very grand goal of "Saving the planet" -- which is stated three times on the home page, once as a major section heading -- and any actual accomplishments of the Azimuth project. Judged by the unrealistic standards set on the homepage, of 'superman' scientists joining together to save the planet, the Azimuth project has been a disappointment.

We're not doing the world any good at all by talking big and tilting at windmills. In fact, we are leaving ourselves exposed to professional ridicule and providing fodder for cynics who don't believe in social progress.

Comment Source:Jim wrote: > Just my 2c worth but what do you think is wrong with the current Azimuth home page? I find it clear. comprehensive and concise. It is indeed a nice piece of literature, but it is dated and far from comprehensive. In particular by saying that it is for "scientists and engineers interested in saving the planet" it completely sidelines the majority of people who have been active on the forum in the past couple of years, who come here expressly as students of mathematics. Furthermore, there is a severe disconnect between the very grand goal of "Saving the planet" -- which is stated three times on the home page, once as a major section heading -- and any actual accomplishments of the Azimuth project. Judged by the unrealistic standards set on the homepage, of 'superman' scientists joining together to save the planet, the Azimuth project has been a disappointment. We're not doing the world any good at all by talking big and tilting at windmills. In fact, we are leaving ourselves exposed to professional ridicule and providing fodder for cynics who don't believe in social progress. 
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39.
edited February 22

John wrote about these problems in December 2013:

I think we should be open to redefining Azimuth so that its definition more closely matches what we're actually doing.

For one thing, this may help people who are considering joining. Don't you think potential members will be disappointed if they see rather grand goals on the main page of the Azimuth website and then discover that we are doing something rather different? Don't you think we might be missing some of the people we should be getting, if we don't emphasize what we're actually doing now?

All I know for sure is that I'm disappointed by how the stated goals differ from what we're actually doing. This issue has been torturing me.

The homepage was never intended to be an eternal constitution:

By the way, I would love for you to rewrite the Azimuth homepage. I wasn't trying to say it's unnecessary. I just don't have the right kind of energy right now for that particular task.

Comment Source:John wrote about these problems in December 2013: > I think we should be open to redefining Azimuth so that its definition more closely matches what we're actually doing. > For one thing, this may help people who are considering joining. Don't you think potential members will be disappointed if they see rather grand goals on the main page of the Azimuth website and then discover that we are doing something rather different? Don't you think we might be missing some of the people we _should_ be getting, if we don't emphasize what we're actually doing now? > All I know for sure is that _I'm_ disappointed by how the stated goals differ from what we're actually doing. This issue has been torturing me. The homepage was never intended to be an eternal constitution: > By the way, I would _love_ for you to rewrite the Azimuth homepage. I wasn't trying to say it's unnecessary. I just don't have the right kind of energy right now for that particular task. 
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40.
edited February 22

The issue can be fixed pretty easily though, just by ratcheting down of the expectations to bring them in line with things we can actually do, and either are actually doing or know how to go forward with them.

A small shift in logic should suffice. Face it, as individual scientists, none of us can save the world. And chatting on a forum isn't going to change that. We're individuals, not global forces.

But there will need to be new forms of math and science needed in order to save the planet. And we're here to help that along!

If this were the mandate, then I would say, we've done some good practice with toy climate models, or what have you, but now we're just getting started! The wave of ACT is here, and we hope to push for its education, and seek green applications in science.

Comment Source:The issue can be fixed pretty easily though, just by ratcheting down of the expectations to bring them in line with things we can actually do, and either are actually doing or know how to go forward with them. A small shift in logic should suffice. Face it, as individual scientists, none of us can save the world. And chatting on a forum isn't going to change that. We're individuals, not global forces. But there will need to be new forms of math and science needed in order to save the planet. And we're here to help that along! If this were the mandate, then I would say, we've done some good practice with toy climate models, or what have you, but now we're just getting started! The wave of ACT is here, and we hope to push for its education, and seek green applications in science. 
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41.
edited February 22

Jim wrote:

If anything I'd like it to broaden the appeal to the non-programmer engineers needed to implement green engineering solutions to climate and biosphere threats rather than further restrict it to mathematicians and IT professionals.

I wasn't intending to negate the importance of engineering/science, or to restrict Azimuth to just math. Quite the contrary, I wrote above:

In a complementary effort, the Azimuth Forum is an open association for public study of applied category theory and the many fields of math and science to which it may extend, with a special interest in following the ongoing work in green mathematics.

The "many fields" of math and science certainly includes climate!

For the Azimuth project to help apply category theory it needs to expand people's knowledge of the application domains.

Ok, but how are we going to do that? Who is going to teach it, who is going the write the articles? I'm not qualified for this. The only possible people active on the forum who could now do this that I see now, are you, Paul, Chris, and Jan. Yet Paul seems pretty busy with his independent work, Chris I gather wants to focus on applied category theory now... Whereas for some of the math curriculum, I'm ready to have go at it, Matthew Doty has expressed possible interest, and I'm ready to reach out to teachers, students and professors.

I'm fine with leaving space for Azimuth 1 stuff on the homepage, but our tone needs to be calibrated to what we've actually accomplished and/or expect to start doing now. For example, the home page says that the Azimuth Library is a "growing" set of articles on relevant science and technology. But how active is it really?

For the sake of credibility, we need to either pony up on our promises or tone them down.

Comment Source:Jim wrote: > If anything I'd like it to broaden the appeal to the non-programmer engineers needed to implement green engineering solutions to climate and biosphere threats rather than further restrict it to mathematicians and IT professionals. I wasn't intending to negate the importance of engineering/science, or to restrict Azimuth to just math. Quite the contrary, I wrote above: > In a complementary effort, the Azimuth Forum is an open association for public study of applied category theory and the many fields of math and science to which it may extend, with a special interest in following the ongoing work in green mathematics. The "many fields" of math and science certainly includes climate! > For the Azimuth project to help apply category theory it needs to expand people's knowledge of the application domains. Ok, but how are we going to do that? Who is going to teach it, who is going the write the articles? I'm not qualified for this. The only possible people active on the forum who could now do this that I see now, are you, Paul, Chris, and Jan. Yet Paul seems pretty busy with his independent work, Chris I gather wants to focus on applied category theory now... Whereas for some of the math curriculum, I'm ready to have go at it, Matthew Doty has expressed possible interest, and I'm ready to reach out to teachers, students and professors. I'm fine with leaving space for Azimuth 1 stuff on the homepage, but our tone needs to be calibrated to what we've actually accomplished and/or expect to start _doing_ now. For example, the home page says that the Azimuth Library is a "growing" set of articles on relevant science and technology. But how active is it really? For the sake of credibility, we need to either pony up on our promises or tone them down. 
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42.
edited February 22

Moreover, we should be engaging the interests of the people who have been drawn lately to the forum by the hundreds.

They came very eager to learn about ACT, a few of them posted, and then they were gone.

I consider it to be a significant failing of our current web pages, that -- due to the fact that 10 years old and written under very different circumstance -- they offer no engagement or acknowledgement of a role for these folks in the Azimuth project. They offer no links to follow, no indications of how people's current skills could be made use of, no interest in the subject matter or their intellectual development. We missed an opportunity to connect with a lot of good people.

"Come chat at the forum, one and all" doesn't really cut it. It leads to exactly the level of disengagement that we now see, from those once eager applicants.

Comment Source:Moreover, we should be engaging the interests of the people who have been drawn lately to the forum by the hundreds. They came very eager to _learn_ about ACT, a few of them posted, and then they were gone. I consider it to be a significant failing of our current web pages, that -- due to the fact that 10 years old and written under very different circumstance -- they offer _no_ engagement or acknowledgement of a role for these folks in the Azimuth project. They offer no links to follow, no indications of how people's current skills could be made use of, no _interest_ in the subject matter or their intellectual development. We missed an opportunity to connect with a lot of good people. "Come chat at the forum, one and all" doesn't really cut it. It leads to exactly the level of disengagement that we now see, from those once eager applicants.
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43.
edited February 22

It will take work to build up an lively environment to engage the next wave of applicants. Let's aim for this.

We can do better than what we've got now, which is about six old timers each doing their own thing. Right now we six are carrying the torch - which is important - but Azimuth was always about developing a community. Since that community is evolving, it behooves us as community leaders to evolve our perspective as well.

Which is not to negate our more "classic interests." But we really need to consider how much community interest and movement there is around these topics. Without that assessment, we could just end up continuing to make empty announcements.

Comment Source:It will take _work_ to build up an lively environment to engage the next wave of applicants. Let's aim for this. We can do better than what we've got now, which is about six old timers each doing their own thing. Right now we six are carrying the torch - which is important - but Azimuth was always about developing a _community_. Since that community is evolving, it behooves us as community leaders to evolve our perspective as well. Which is not to negate our more "classic interests." But we really need to consider how much community interest and movement there is around these topics. Without that assessment, we could just end up continuing to make empty announcements.
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44.
edited February 22

My suggestion now is to give it a brief rest. I'll come up with a new draft, which takes into account everything that has been said so far, and retains some of the "fiesty" aspects of John's writing. I'll include some role for both for math for the planet and science for the planet, with appropriately calibrated emphases.

Comment Source:My suggestion now is to give it a brief rest. I'll come up with a new draft, which takes into account everything that has been said so far, and retains some of the "fiesty" aspects of John's writing. I'll include some role for both for math for the planet and science for the planet, with appropriately calibrated emphases. 
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45.

David, I don't have any answers to how to sustain an audience in the face of declining activity on blogs and forums.

Comment Source:David, I don't have any answers to how to sustain an audience in the face of declining activity on blogs and forums.
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46.
edited February 22

Ok, no problem.

It's a tough challenge, but I don't think an insurmountable one - assuming that one has something to offer which is really of interest to others. Then it a challenge in communications - which involves a lot of non-mathematical considerations, like understanding the psychology of why people might be ignoring something important, or how to explain a complex idea in the simplest terms possible. I wish it didn't take some much time and concentration, but there it is.

Once the "message" can be well articulated, then it may not suffice to just post it and hope people will show up. A more active approach may be needed, which involves contacting people in an outreach effort.

Comment Source:Ok, no problem. It's a tough challenge, but I don't think an insurmountable one - assuming that one has something to offer which is really of interest to others. Then it a challenge in communications - which involves a lot of non-mathematical considerations, like understanding the psychology of why people might be ignoring something important, or how to explain a complex idea in the simplest terms possible. I wish it didn't take some much time and concentration, but there it is. Once the "message" can be well articulated, then it may not suffice to just post it and hope people will show up. A more active approach may be needed, which involves contacting people in an outreach effort.
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47.
edited February 23

Are there any people here who feel sufficiently exposed to climate science, or engineering, or other natual sciences, to organize and lead a project within Azimuth? That would be great and welcome. If so, could give some brief indication here, and then start a separate discussion to start putting forward your ideas and begin the process of coming up with a plan of action.

No doubt, this will involve a real commitment of time, thought and effort.

It was through this kind of leadership that the Azimuth Library and the Azimuth Code Project made the kind of progress that they did in the past.

On the other hand, if nobody is up for it now, that's totally fine!

I'm not hinting this towards any particular individuals, and there's no need to answer if you're not up for it.

Neither am I trying to make judgements about what we should or should not be doing.

Rather, I'm just trying to objectively gauge where we're at, to take an inventory and assess in what directions we can actually start making some progress on the ground, engaging people on the forum.

Thanks, David

p.s. You can also take this as an open invitation to start such a discussion in the future, if and when you feel ready to make such a proposal.

Comment Source:Are there any people here who feel sufficiently exposed to climate science, or engineering, or other natual sciences, to organize and lead a project within Azimuth? That would be great and welcome. If so, could give some brief indication here, and then start a separate discussion to start putting forward your ideas and begin the process of coming up with a plan of action. No doubt, this will involve a real commitment of time, thought and effort. It was through this kind of leadership that the Azimuth Library and the Azimuth Code Project made the kind of progress that they did in the past. On the other hand, if nobody is up for it now, that's totally fine! I'm not hinting this towards any particular individuals, and there's no need to answer if you're not up for it. Neither am I trying to make judgements about what we should or should not be doing. Rather, I'm just trying to objectively gauge where we're at, to take an inventory and assess in what directions we can actually start making some progress on the ground, engaging people on the forum. Thanks, David p.s. You can also take this as an open invitation to start such a discussion in the future, if and when you feel ready to make such a proposal. 
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48.
edited February 23

Note: again without judgement, let's not conflate individual research streams like Paul's with group-level projects, which by definition involve organization and outreach to others on the forum.

I think it's totally fine and good for people to share their research this way. It's just a different thing than what I am asking about above.

Comment Source:Note: again without judgement, let's not conflate individual research streams like Paul's with group-level projects, which by definition involve organization and outreach to others on the forum. I think it's totally fine and good for people to share their research this way. It's just a different thing than what I am asking about above. 
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49.
edited February 23

This question was motivated by the project inventory that I am taking for the updating of the main project page.

Within applied category theory I am able to identify two areas of interest for projects: green mathematics and functional programming.

There is huge interest among our recent membership for the latter - and the bulk of recent forum activity has been devoted to it.

There are already some indications of interest in green mathematics, and I believe that there is much more potential interest, as green math gets to one of the core values of the Azimuth community.

Note that the idea of green math is one of applied mathematics, specifically to the science of biology. In fact it's only in its early stages, and the actual applications so far of this mathematical approach have been to engineering things like circuits, and chemistry things like networks of chemical reactions. I gather that John is aiming and hoping to continue this to more and more complex systems, eventually approaching biological complexity. Which does sound plausible to me. If the tools of category theory can be applied to simpler reaction networks, then it would hardly be surprising to learn that they could be eventually be applied to complex enzyme reaction networks, or what have you.

So when we look at it in a bit more detail, it becomes clear that green mathematics, although currently being couched in rather abstract mathematical terms, is fundamentally in harmony with the aims of Azimuth 1.0.

Also note this shows an underlying continuity between John's work at Azimuth and with green math at UCR.

Comment Source:This question was motivated by the project inventory that I am taking for the updating of the main project page. Within applied category theory I am able to identify two areas of interest for projects: green mathematics and functional programming. There is *huge* interest among our recent membership for the latter - and the bulk of recent forum activity has been devoted to it. There are already some indications of interest in green mathematics, and I believe that there is much more potential interest, as green math gets to one of the core values of the Azimuth community. Note that the idea of green math is one of _applied mathematics_, specifically to the science of biology. In fact it's only in its early stages, and the actual applications so far of this mathematical approach have been to engineering things like circuits, and chemistry things like networks of chemical reactions. I gather that John is _aiming and hoping_ to continue this to more and more complex systems, eventually approaching biological complexity. Which does sound plausible to me. If the tools of category theory can be applied to simpler reaction networks, then it would hardly be surprising to learn that they could be eventually be applied to complex enzyme reaction networks, or what have you. So when we look at it in a bit more detail, it becomes clear that green mathematics, although currently being couched in rather abstract mathematical terms, is fundamentally in harmony with the aims of Azimuth 1.0. Also note this shows an underlying continuity between John's work at Azimuth and with green math at UCR. 
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50.
edited February 23

Here's a taxonomy for projects/modules within Azimuth:

ACT
Green math
Functional programming

Math review / training
Section: category theory, basic training
Section: computer science, subsection programming
Section: applied mathematics

Research projects
Paul Pukite - QBO and ENSO?
Chris Goddard - Subtlety theory?
Jan Galkowski - ?
El Nino prediction - inactive

Azimuth science library - inactive

Azimuth code project - inactive
Climate modeling - inactive

Comment Source:Here's a taxonomy for projects/modules within Azimuth: ~~~ ACT Green math Functional programming Math review / training Section: category theory, basic training Section: computer science, subsection programming Section: applied mathematics General review sections: undergraduate, graduate (motto: inclusivity) Research projects Paul Pukite - QBO and ENSO? Chris Goddard - Subtlety theory? Jan Galkowski - ? El Nino prediction - inactive Azimuth science library - inactive Azimuth code project - inactive Climate modeling - inactive ~~~