February 17, 2007 12:05 PM PST

Google's Page urges scientists to market themselves

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SAN FRANCISCO--Google co-founder Larry Page has a theory: your DNA is about 600 megabytes compressed, making it smaller than any modern operating system like Linux or Windows.

Click for gallery The programming language of humans, if you will, would include the workings of your brain, said Page, who offered his hypothesis Friday night during a plenary lecture here at the annual American Association for the Advancement of Science conference. His guess, he said, was that the brain's algorithms weren't all that complicated and could be approximated, eventually, with a lot of computational power.

"We have some people at Google (who) are really trying to build artificial intelligence and to do it on a large scale," Page said to a packed Hilton ballroom of scientists. "It's not as far off as people think."

Page, the director of products at the 8-year-old search giant, described several of his areas of interest in science and technology during the hour-long talk, which was a rare engagement for the nerdy billionaire. But the common thread in the lecture seemed to be enthusiasm for what Page (and co-founder Sergey Brin) managed to do well with Google: good old-fashioned entrepreneurialism while solving a single problem.

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Video: Google's Larry Page talks science
Co-founder of Google at AAAS gathering

Page gave the example of Steven Chu, professor of physics and Nobel Prize winner. Chu was a failed grad student who decided to "get good at building lasers" and then he later won the Nobel Prize for his work with the technology. "When you have basic technology you find interesting things to do with them, and if you're lucky they'll turn into something big," he said.

And that was his main advice to the scientists in the room: take their scientific studies, market them better and make them readily accessible to the world. That way, the world might have a better chance at solving problems like energy consumption, poverty and global climate change.

"Virtually all economic growth (in the world) was due to technological progress. I think as a society we're not really paying attention to that," Page said. "Science has a real marketing problem. If all the growth in world is due to science and technology and no one pays attention to you, then you have a serious marketing problem."

To that end, Page urged the group to take on more leadership roles in society, i.e., politics, so that they could control more funding for research and development. He also said that scientists should get in the habit of investing part of their scientific grant money to marketing budgets, in order to get the word out to the media about their research.

Entrepreneurialism should also be more ingrained in university culture, Page said, much like it is at his alma mater Stanford University and Google's home base, Silicon Valley.

Finally, he called on the scientists to make more of their research available digitally. Even though Google Scholar tries to open access to scientific work, it still falls short.

"Most of the works you guys have done are not represented in those searches. We have to unlock the wealth of scientific knowledge and get it to everyone. I don't care what we do, but we need to do something," he said.

Page said he hopes Internet video, like Youtube and Google Video, will evolve to include scientific lectures. He said he would like to see a "box in the back of every classroom," where professors could push a button and "whatever you said would go on Net. It's important to get all that out there."

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38 comments

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Page is an rich idiot
His analogy vis-a-vis the size of DNA and the size of our modern OS products is surely all wrong. A more apt comparison with DNA would be the microcode that lives in the CPU and from which all other instructions and operations spring. And maybe that doesnt hold up either--it's foolish to assume we know enough about DNA to make this comparison at all.
Posted by esperanto_ (16 comments )
Reply Link Flag
DNA is nothing more than the human source code.
DNA is nothing more than the human source code. When compiled, the final product is, well, us. Bugs are present, and if compiled wrong, they give origin to genetic diseases. Compiling the DNA means using a compiler program (proteins) to fully assemble a final product in the form of cells, etc. The DNA is pretty modular, so you can build different types of cells and organs.

So there is no code embedded in CPU (not even in real computers). All the "instructions and operation springs" are given by the compiled program, usually residing in memory, or in the syngle cells themselves. This is the reason why you can't really put together a bunch of cells and expect them to form a living organism.
Posted by feranick (212 comments )
Link Flag
Before you call someone an idiot...
...you should make sure your statement is grammatically correct.

-Clint
Sarasota, FL
Posted by Hunterseeker1 (2 comments )
Link Flag
Page is an rich idiot
His analogy vis-a-vis the size of DNA and the size of our modern OS products is surely all wrong. A more apt comparison with DNA would be the microcode that lives in the CPU and from which all other instructions and operations spring. And maybe that doesnt hold up either--it's foolish to assume we know enough about DNA to make this comparison at all.
Posted by esperanto_ (16 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Before you call someone an idiot...
...you should make sure your statement is grammatically correct.

-Clint
Sarasota, FL
Posted by Hunterseeker1 (2 comments )
Link Flag
DNA is nothing more than the human source code.
DNA is nothing more than the human source code. When compiled, the final product is, well, us. Bugs are present, and if compiled wrong, they give origin to genetic diseases. Compiling the DNA means using a compiler program (proteins) to fully assemble a final product in the form of cells, etc. The DNA is pretty modular, so you can build different types of cells and organs.

So there is no code embedded in CPU (not even in real computers). All the "instructions and operation springs" are given by the compiled program, usually residing in memory, or in the syngle cells themselves. This is the reason why you can't really put together a bunch of cells and expect them to form a living organism.
Posted by feranick (212 comments )
Link Flag
the scientists should use adwords also
...
Posted by aldracu (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
the scientists should use adwords also
...
Posted by aldracu (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Something to look forward to.
Having a company collect bright minds under a single roof, as Google does, and then making a statement like this ... it deserves a moment of thought.

Such a step would push the expectations of online services to a new level. We're approaching a type of intuitive internet by perfecting interactivity (e.g. Client side coding i.e. JavaScript) and accelerating online development (Ruby on Rails, PHP and competitive frameworks, MySQL). Yet none have taken the 'net to the 'next level'. Artificial Intelligence, DNA storing; they all seemed like science fiction in the early 90s. Today, they could only be the product of the online collaboration.

Such innovations would bring about change that we can only imagine. Personally, i look froward to the day when written text could be translated into any language.

(Proper spelling courtesy of Firefox 2.0)
Posted by dimadoo (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Something to look forward to.
Having a company collect bright minds under a single roof, as Google does, and then making a statement like this ... it deserves a moment of thought.

Such a step would push the expectations of online services to a new level. We're approaching a type of intuitive internet by perfecting interactivity (e.g. Client side coding i.e. JavaScript) and accelerating online development (Ruby on Rails, PHP and competitive frameworks, MySQL). Yet none have taken the 'net to the 'next level'. Artificial Intelligence, DNA storing; they all seemed like science fiction in the early 90s. Today, they could only be the product of the online collaboration.

Such innovations would bring about change that we can only imagine. Personally, i look froward to the day when written text could be translated into any language.

(Proper spelling courtesy of Firefox 2.0)
Posted by dimadoo (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
It will appear that "lesfilip"...
... may very well be on to something what he compares "Commander_Spock" to a "Program inter alia"; but, why he feels the "The Program" should be recompiled/integrated with DNA from that KOOL AID that he is integrated with is questionable. Trying to get infect the "The Program" with bugs... eh; or, is it a marketing campaign against Commander_Spock's Program!
Posted by Commander_Spock (3123 comments )
Reply Link Flag
It will appear that "lesfilip"...
... may very well be on to something what he compares "Commander_Spock" to a "Program inter alia"; but, why he feels the "The Program" should be recompiled/integrated with DNA from that KOOL AID that he is integrated with is questionable. Trying to get infect the "The Program" with bugs... eh; or, is it a marketing campaign against Commander_Spock's Program!
Posted by Commander_Spock (3123 comments )
Reply Link Flag
"Google co-founder Larry Page...
... has a theory: your DNA is about 600 megabytes compressed, making it smaller than any modern operating system like Linux or Windows has a theory: your DNA is about 600 megabytes compressed, making it smaller than any modern operating system like Linux or Windows...", so the, it appears that DNAs are incomplete when it comes to the complete computing actions as there appears to be no considerations given to the applications (Networking....) DNA to integrate with those of the Operating Systems' DNA!
Posted by Commander_Spock (3123 comments )
Reply Link Flag
So, in theorizing then...
... "600 megabytes compressed" to the Nth Power = one hell of a Super Computer. WOW!
Posted by Commander_Spock (3123 comments )
Reply Link Flag
So, in theorizing then...
... "600 megabytes compressed" to the Nth Power = one hell of a Super Computer. WOW!
Posted by Commander_Spock (3123 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Intelligence is in the connections not the bits
It is interesting that Page would get up to talk about the compressed size of the genetic information in an organism by way of it's DNA and then equate that to the potential intelligence of the expressed organism. This is an incorrect association, intelligence is more and more seen as an emergent property not of sheer number of computational bits or memory elements but of their interaction or connections. This is where leading research indicates intelligence lies, AI would need to simulate the interaction between these connections at the same/similar level as that done in the brain of an intelligent biological brain like our own in order to have a hope of achieving parity. (This is only one falacy in Pages argument, binary computation is not bit comparable to DNA since DNA is a 4bit (G,C,A,T) system in the genes that fans out to a much larger space of possibilities in the expressed proteome. This ensures the possibilities of expression in biological organisms are significantly beyond the capacity of the memory of all computers on earth in fact, because protein function is determined by shape and shape by the number and type of amino acids in the polypeptide chain..there is an infinite amount of possibilities of expression assuming no limit on protein length.)

Developments in various areas of present day computer design, physics and neurobiology point to this assertion. Eg. Computers are capable of crunching massive amounts of numbers, yet many classes of problems are exceedingly difficult for computers to process because of the sheer amount of computation required to solve them. Quantum Computation looks to the "connections" between storage elements to solve these types of problems in the form of massive arrays of atoms, collectively tuned to be fed problems and then read out to extract solutions to those problems. At least that is the dream, currently the simplest quantum computers are only capable of processing low bit and therefor simple problems relative to even todays computers but the technology will scale. I think that biological intelligence is more like a quantum computer and less like a binary computer, though it may be possible in theory to through computation at the AI problem , it is possible that all the computers in all the world could not working together achieve the connectedness needed to span the problem space spanned by an intelligent brain and emerge a similar "intelligence".

As an engineer my guess is AI will emerge not from current traditional silicon computers but instead from a combination of quantum computers and silicon computers once commercial quantum computers are available. So I guess not for another 15 - 20 years.
Posted by sent2null (25 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Missing Information
I agree, also Page is ignoring the constraints and information inherent within the physical environment that DNA works within E.g. the chemical bonds between the molecules and such. What he's talking about is like recording a snapshot of a game of soccer
at a single instant (the coordinates of each player on the pitch etc) with a concise representation of bits that
takes up 600Mb. Now what use would these bits be if you had no understanding of what soccer was or how it
was played?
DNA can take this for granted but if you trying to simulate living organisms on a silicon computer
you don't have that luxury.
Posted by fiacc (2 comments )
Link Flag
Intelligence is in the connections not the bits
It is interesting that Page would get up to talk about the compressed size of the genetic information in an organism by way of it's DNA and then equate that to the potential intelligence of the expressed organism. This is an incorrect association, intelligence is more and more seen as an emergent property not of sheer number of computational bits or memory elements but of their interaction or connections. This is where leading research indicates intelligence lies, AI would need to simulate the interaction between these connections at the same/similar level as that done in the brain of an intelligent biological brain like our own in order to have a hope of achieving parity. (This is only one falacy in Pages argument, binary computation is not bit comparable to DNA since DNA is a 4bit (G,C,A,T) system in the genes that fans out to a much larger space of possibilities in the expressed proteome. This ensures the possibilities of expression in biological organisms are significantly beyond the capacity of the memory of all computers on earth in fact, because protein function is determined by shape and shape by the number and type of amino acids in the polypeptide chain..there is an infinite amount of possibilities of expression assuming no limit on protein length.)

Developments in various areas of present day computer design, physics and neurobiology point to this assertion. Eg. Computers are capable of crunching massive amounts of numbers, yet many classes of problems are exceedingly difficult for computers to process because of the sheer amount of computation required to solve them. Quantum Computation looks to the "connections" between storage elements to solve these types of problems in the form of massive arrays of atoms, collectively tuned to be fed problems and then read out to extract solutions to those problems. At least that is the dream, currently the simplest quantum computers are only capable of processing low bit and therefor simple problems relative to even todays computers but the technology will scale. I think that biological intelligence is more like a quantum computer and less like a binary computer, though it may be possible in theory to through computation at the AI problem , it is possible that all the computers in all the world could not working together achieve the connectedness needed to span the problem space spanned by an intelligent brain and emerge a similar "intelligence".

As an engineer my guess is AI will emerge not from current traditional silicon computers but instead from a combination of quantum computers and silicon computers once commercial quantum computers are available. So I guess not for another 15 - 20 years.
Posted by sent2null (25 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Missing Information
I agree, also Page is ignoring the constraints and information inherent within the physical environment that DNA works within E.g. the chemical bonds between the molecules and such. What he's talking about is like recording a snapshot of a game of soccer
at a single instant (the coordinates of each player on the pitch etc) with a concise representation of bits that
takes up 600Mb. Now what use would these bits be if you had no understanding of what soccer was or how it
was played?
DNA can take this for granted but if you trying to simulate living organisms on a silicon computer
you don't have that luxury.
Posted by fiacc (2 comments )
Link Flag
Economic growth due to scientific progress or marketing?
"Virtually all economic growth (in the world) was due to technological progress."

I must disagree...I posit that (nearly) all economic growth is due to market conditions, not technological conditions. Please disabuse me of my skeptisism, but I ask someone to show me one instance of a technological breakthrough that survived on it's own. Us sheep only buy what is actively marketed to us, not what is actually good for us.

Case-in-point...the Pet Rock. I rest my case.
Posted by Ted_In_AK (28 comments )
Reply Link Flag
"show me one instance...
... of a technological breakthrough that survived on it's own. Us sheep only buy what is actively marketed to us, not what is actually good for us.".: Here is one - THE "WHEEL". Yet, another is the "MICROPROCESSOR" So, there you have two!
Posted by Commander_Spock (3123 comments )
Link Flag
This guy is SO WRONG!!!
Is this guy an idiot??? The amount of information contained in one's DNA has absolutely NOTHING to do with the amount of information contained in a human brain. Brain "information" or "intelligence" is related to the number of neural connections which is approximately 10^50. That is way, way more than 600 Megabytes (10^6). Inorder to duplicate the processing capability of the human brain, you would need a million, million petabytes. Although not impossible to simulate, I think that we are a few hundred years away.
Posted by unc_tarheels (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You've misunderstood.
He wasn't comparing the amount of information in one's DNA to the amount of information in the human brain.

A premise of his talk was that the information in one's DNA was essentially the "programming" for the brain.

Of course the brain will continue to take in new data through the senses, and also generate new information on its own.

But when the sperm meets the egg - DNA is all you really have information-wise, and that is the programming code.
Posted by dustball23 (2 comments )
Link Flag
This guy is SO WRONG!!!
Is this guy an idiot??? The amount of information contained in one's DNA has absolutely NOTHING to do with the amount of information contained in a human brain. Brain "information" or "intelligence" is related to the number of neural connections which is approximately 10^50. That is way, way more than 600 Megabytes (10^6). Inorder to duplicate the processing capability of the human brain, you would need a million, million petabytes. Although not impossible to simulate, I think that we are a few hundred years away.
Posted by unc_tarheels (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You've misunderstood.
He wasn't comparing the amount of information in one's DNA to the amount of information in the human brain.

A premise of his talk was that the information in one's DNA was essentially the "programming" for the brain.

Of course the brain will continue to take in new data through the senses, and also generate new information on its own.

But when the sperm meets the egg - DNA is all you really have information-wise, and that is the programming code.
Posted by dustball23 (2 comments )
Link Flag
Cognitive research: Online genetic 'games'
Using the Internet to supplement or deconstruct genetic-based components of brain function is not far away. For example, games that can help individuals improve cognitive function while at the same time flagging possible anomalies. Research in this area is now being published (Stanford,etc) and is already available in some products:
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?db=pubmed&#38;cmd=Retrieve&#38;dopt=AbstractPlus&#38;list_uids=17250852&#38;query_hl=1&#38;itool=pubmed_docsum" target="_newWindow">http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?db=pubmed&#38;cmd=Retrieve&#38;dopt=AbstractPlus&#38;list_uids=17250852&#38;query_hl=1&#38;itool=pubmed_docsum</a>
check yourself: <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://cognitivelabs.com/mydna_speedtestno.htm" target="_newWindow">http://cognitivelabs.com/mydna_speedtestno.htm</a>
Posted by azareus (31 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Cognitive research: Online genetic 'games'
Using the Internet to supplement or deconstruct genetic-based components of brain function is not far away. For example, games that can help individuals improve cognitive function while at the same time flagging possible anomalies. Research in this area is now being published (Stanford,etc) and is already available in some products:
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?db=pubmed&#38;cmd=Retrieve&#38;dopt=AbstractPlus&#38;list_uids=17250852&#38;query_hl=1&#38;itool=pubmed_docsum" target="_newWindow">http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?db=pubmed&#38;cmd=Retrieve&#38;dopt=AbstractPlus&#38;list_uids=17250852&#38;query_hl=1&#38;itool=pubmed_docsum</a>
check yourself: <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://cognitivelabs.com/mydna_speedtestno.htm" target="_newWindow">http://cognitivelabs.com/mydna_speedtestno.htm</a>
Posted by azareus (31 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Any discount ???
Any special discount for scientists from Google ?
Posted by petermpham2003 (20 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Any discount ???
Any special discount for scientists from Google ?
Posted by petermpham2003 (20 comments )
Reply Link Flag
"Google co-founder Larry Page...
... has a theory: your DNA is about 600 megabytes compressed, making it smaller than any modern operating system like Linux or Windows has a theory: your DNA is about 600 megabytes compressed, making it smaller than any modern operating system like Linux or Windows...", so the, it appears that DNAs are incomplete when it comes to the complete computing actions as there appears to be no considerations given to the applications (Networking....) DNA to integrate with those of the Operating Systems' DNA!
Posted by Commander_Spock (3123 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Economic growth due to scientific progress or marketing?
"Virtually all economic growth (in the world) was due to technological progress."

I must disagree...I posit that (nearly) all economic growth is due to market conditions, not technological conditions. Please disabuse me of my skeptisism, but I ask someone to show me one instance of a technological breakthrough that survived on it's own. Us sheep only buy what is actively marketed to us, not what is actually good for us.

Case-in-point...the Pet Rock. I rest my case.
Posted by Ted_In_AK (28 comments )
Reply Link Flag
"show me one instance...
... of a technological breakthrough that survived on it's own. Us sheep only buy what is actively marketed to us, not what is actually good for us.".: Here is one - THE "WHEEL". Yet, another is the "MICROPROCESSOR" So, there you have two!
Posted by Commander_Spock (3123 comments )
Link Flag
 

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