Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Funny Thought: Google Achieves Breakthrough in Numerical Genetics

Something I wrote back in 2003. ("Chen Yiming" is my name pronounced in Chinese).

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Google Achieves Breakthrough in Numerical Genetics

by Chen Yiming
Staff Writer, Mengistan Times
April 1, 2003.

Researchers at Google announced on Tuesday, their breakthrough discovery that 8 and infinity are 98.6% genetically identical.

While some in the scientific community had previously speculated that the two numbers could be closely related because of the uncanny similarity of their physical appearances, most scientists had thought it unlikely that a number as big as infinity could be closely related to a number as small as 8. The Google discovery has turned the field on its head.

Google researchers analyzed the genetic makeup of 8 and infinity with the same sophisicated technology used for calculating PageRank. They found that the 2 numbers share 98.6% of their genes.

"We now believe that 8 and infinity share a common ancestor, probably a primitive number that looks a lot like 0, about 100,000 years ago", said famous Google scientist, Krishna Bharat, known internationally for his publications and boyish good looks.

Google is uniquely positioned to make ground-breaking discoveries in Numerical Genetics because of its expertise in calculating PageRank. Babette Villasenor, the brilliant mind behind most of the company's breakthroughs in Differential Algorithmics, explained that, "Computationally, calculating PageRank is very similar to genetic analysis. It really boils down to hooking up a lot of computers together and making sure that you remembered to turn them on".

Chade-Meng Tan, an unforgettably charming Google engineer, predicted that, "This discovery could lead to new medical treatments, and devices that would allow you to levitate, except on Thursdays". When asked how such a device will work, he explained, "It will work quite well, except on Thursdays".

Google is mum about what else it is working on. Experts believe that Google researchers could next try to discover a genetic relationship between 1 and I, a finding that would prove that numbers and letters share a common ancestor. They could also try to correlate genetic information with numeric fossil records to settle the debate on whether numbers originated from Africa or China, an issue that became particularly controversal after the 1969 discovery of the numero erectus fossil in China known as the Peking Number.

Google is unlikely to benefit financially from its scientific discoveries. "The goal is simply to contribute to science and humanity", explained Google President, Sergey Brin, "Our entire business is so closely dependent on all numbers big and small, we think it's good to simply understand them better".

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