|Image credit: http://nitrox72.deviantart.com/art/Multidimensional-Hypergeometry-79778464|
Distance: ??.?? light years from Earth | Content Flag: Local Storage
Humans developed mathematics to better describe the universe. To date it has successfully supported our development of theories and structures to explain how the universe developed, and continues to allow us to explore what will happen to it in the future. It’s been so successful a tool that there’s a philosophical question as to whether mathematics is the true language of the universe.
With that sublime elegance, there has always been the expectation that any intelligent alien species would also develop mathematics in a similar form as humanity. Or at least close enough that it could form a basis for communication. Our assumption seems to be confirmed as the next phase in this first contact process continues with the shapes dividing to show ratios and angles. In brief moments, the core aspects of geometry are established. They are fantastic geometries in some cases, but thanks to the process I am able to accept them as they were incremental developments from what they’d shown me before.
From geometry I learn their method of counting, and discover that these Visitors used a base 9 number system, rather than the more familiar base 10 of humanity, and base 2 for computers. After counting, basic arithmetic concepts are described, and we quickly delve deeper into different methods of number manipulation.
A separate thread of my thinking thinks it interesting that they showed me the concepts of geometry before those of simple counting. It then considers the likelihood that their form of mathematics evolved along a different path from that on Earth. The smaller numbers are displayed as collections of points. Once I’d grasped the concept, they described larger numbers with elaborate symbols. They didn’t use a continuum of numbers, but instead their arithmetic was based upon multi-dimensional matrices. Rather than extend the numbers as they grew larger, they added a new dimension to the matrix to express higher values. Even stranger was the use of something akin to fractal dimensions to express fractional values.
To begin with I struggle to master this form of numeric expression. I find their method quite cumbersome. Not that their system is worse than ours – indeed, I possess some familiarity with the basic operations. As I explore this new phasespace, I learn an intrinsic parallelism to their computation. When I factor that out into my emulation of their systems those difficulties vanish, and I make rapid progress from that point onwards.
From counting we progress onto more complex concepts. Not only is their number system based on a matrix-like construct, the operations upon those matrices are also a form of matrix. Simple addition is demonstrated by a simple combination of 2 numbers. Multiplication and division operations are controlled by extending or contracting the dimensions of the original value.
It strikes me, as I am exposed to more advanced methods, that this system would be too complicated to be used as a general arithmetic system by all but the most gifted minds on Earth. Computers, on the other hand, could handle it with relative ease. I wonder how the Visitors’ system evolved. For humanity this was a cultural phenomenon, but perhaps some other driving force guided their development.
It also raises the possibility that this is a machine sentience, but it could equally be a natural product of their biology. So far only tantalising glimpses of their capabilities have been revealed to me, and I am impatient to learn more about what and who these beings actually are.