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Douglas Moreman

Today, my research is mainly in
Dolphin Inspired Sonar where I seem to have discovered a partial explanation of how dolphins can "see" in the dark.
Aposyndesis is my biological approach to some aspects of social behaviors, including war.
From time to time, I think about my earlier Research (mathematics, AI, ...).
I compulsively think of questions about the world that A) seem to lack public answers, B) seem like I ought to be able to solve them quickly:
Hypotheses and Guesses:

Before immitating the sonar of dolphins, I had worked at creating a new science and a new technology wherein "animal behavior" and robotics would cross pollinate. I called my work and intensions "ethorobotics" (PDF, 1993), combining "etho" in honor of the European name, "ethology," for the science of the behavior of animals with "robotics."
Before ethorobotics, I studied animal behavior in Austin at the University of Texas, mostly in the Psychology department. After which, accidentally, by studying with the excellent teachers in the "Third Floor" (PDF) mathematics department, I earned enough hours to declare in my last undergraduate semester, that my "major" was Mathematics. Dropping Psychology for want of time, I continued taking the two graduate-level courses in Mathematics I had already begun, thinking they would improve my chances of contributing something of value to theories of Behavior. But Mathematics crowded Behavior out of my mind -- for some time.

In 1969, I was induced by circumstances to move to the graduate mathematics program of Auburn University in Alabama where former students of the Third Floor encouraged me (notably
Ben Fitzpatrick, Jr., Three Hundred Pounds of Integrity (PDF), Richard Calder, William Coleman, and later and of the second generation of "Texas mathematicians," Ralph Ford).
I created Convex Topology by joining general topology with abstract convexity. I learned that my invention generalized the notion of what was, at the time, called the "weak topology" of a normed linear space, and that this special case had been studied by John von Neumann -- who would postumously preempt me again after another 20 years.

Distressed at a long period of failing to make anything useful of Convex Topology, I gave in to the oblique influence of Third Floor graduate John Neuberger (PDF) and took up computing -- and this eventually allowed me to return to, and find use for, theories of animal-behavior.

Circumstances in 1983 took me to Baton Rouge where the Computer Science department of Southern University, SU, accepted me onto its faculty to teach courses heavy in mathematics. Their need must have been great: they overlooked my deficiencies in their science. I went there to learn-while-teaching, intending to stay just two years. After 31 years, I retired to invent sonar methods inspired by dolphins.

At SU, the head-of-department, Leroy Roquemore, and his successors, gave me experience working on grants. On a NASA project related to the economics of an early idea for The Space Station, I was on a team with Charlie Plott of Cal Tech. In 1985, I invented a computer-simulations, my first, for an auction-idea of economist Vernon Smith.

Circa 1991, I invented the Orthodrop method by which I was able to solve huge, sparse systems of linear equations on my little PC. Then, Alan Hindmarsh informed me that he had recently learned of the method and that John von Neumann had distributed memeographed notes on the main idea of Orthodrop back in the 1930's.

In 1992, I began distributing by mail and later put onto a website, " Ethorobotics of Microsubmarines" subtitled "Dolphinoids for Ridgetrek." The word "ethorobotics" appeared in an article, "Day of the Dolphinoid" (PDF), excerpted from that larger work into a trade publication in 1993. Google now returns hits on the word "ethorobotics," used slightly differently than I had intended. My work in autonomous robotics was encouraged by Richard Blidberg who was an early mover-and-shaker in "unmanned, unteathered, submersible technology."

While funded by NASA, my team invented methods of capturing "wisdom" from retiring rocket scientists, and others. The project went on for a few years, but I eventually realized that I would have to NOT go further down that path or I would create precious little "wisdom" of my own - of the depth I believed myself capable. Yet, I cringe when I think of the wisdom and technical details that have been lost as the scientists and engineers of the days of the Moon missions retired or died. More generally, the United States lost much technical wisdom and even nitty-gritty know-how as it lost its "Baby Boomers" who, among other things, put a man onto the moon.

On one grant-project, I and my university collegue John Dyer (who, from high school in England had won a scholarship to Oxford in mathematics) were asked to think about what could be accomplished by using two Patriot Missile radar sets together. I applied some of my thoughts about autonomous robotics and learned a little bit about radar - which allowed me, years later, to begin simulations of the sonar of dolphins. The final report of our team must have impressed someone because it was declared "secret" and I have not seen or heard of it since.

On yet another grant project, John Dyer and I were asked what could be done by placing sensors on some of the 4000 or so oil-platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. So, remembering some earlier thoughts about using AI to explore the Mid Atlantic Ridge, I invented the initial concept of a Distributed Observatory, based upon a network of sensors and computers and software whose "intelligence" would grow over time. DOMES would be the distributed observatory of many earth sciences, based, initialy upon those oil platforms, but also on nearby boats and so on. The data would be analyzed by a largely autonomous network of small computers working together with a rapidly growable grid of larger computers. The automated system could quickly increase its capabilities in a modeling response to a rapidly developing hurricane. The system would be self-organizing and adaptable to damage. The general idea is not restricted to the Gulf, nor to oil-platforms.
DOMES might be used to study the full life of thunder storms, the lives of generations of coastal dolphins, and so on -- wide-spread phenomena studied via a distributed network of sensors linked to computer-hubs.

Circa 2001 (I am not sure), after examining a directional microphone for sale in some store and wondering how it might work, I accidentally created a model of what might be the mechanism of the imaging sonar of dolphins. That mechanism has evolved, in my mind, and continues to survive tests in computer-based simulations. My theory of how the microphone worked was, however, quite wrong.

Web-links re Douglas Moreman

Donald Haefner, former geophysicist with Shell Oil, was particularly helpful in seeking applications for the new sonar.

Some web-pages featuring my own work and wild ideas:

Aposyndesis: Towards a Theory of Evolution of Social Groups (and war and such)

Dolphin Inspired Sonar, how do they do it and can we immitate them?

Failures of Epistemology in Computer Modeling.
How von Neumann's Elephant creates Hubris and Error in Environmental Sciences

DOMES an introduction to the concept of a "distributed observatory."

Convex Topology
A field of mathematics I invented then abandoned due to my seeming inability to find interesting applications. Convex Topology, also known as Convexly Topological Spaces, combines Convexity and Topology and also generalizes many concepts of Normed Linear Spaces.

Day of the Dolphinoid, 1993
Contains what seems to be the first professionally published instance
of the word "ethorobotics." This paper was excerpted from the privately distributed Ethorobotics of Dolphinoids (also, in some versions, called "Ethorobotics of Microsubs") that resulted from my first teaching "Artificial Intelligence" - at Southern University in Baton Rouge.

Hannibal at Cannae
Post-Roman historians underestimated Hannibal in that their descripion of the battle had him winning by a tactic which depended too much on luck. Rather, his tactic depended upon the predictability of behavior of large masses of Roman cavalry and infantry.

Other Hypotheses and Guesses by Douglas Moreman
Machine Consciousness might (shudder?) be easy to produce.
Speciation via Innate Behaviors, rather than via geological separation.
Explaining the methane explosions in Yamal Peninsula, Siberia.
Near-sightedness as a result of slow reaction to feedback.
Lava flows in Decca India tied to Asteroid in Yucatan Mexico?
Subsidence of Coastal Louisiana.
Where are the sub-Saharan sewers?
Racial differences illuminate Vitamin D deficiencies.
Race-extinction via disease in Americas, Japan, Australia, ...
Global Warming and Vikings and Mogols (and their horses).
Dipylon shields were what the name says they were?
Asking and answering practical questions inspired by the Old Testament:
How Hezekiah could have had his tunnel under Jerusalem built in well less than the four years that some "experts" have asserted.
The Bible has what might be the earliest references to machines of war that throw rocks and arrows?
Why did King David use a royal mule (rather than a horse), and why are there references to eating children and to leaders rending their garments?
There is a 5000 year old stone "dish" in Egypt that looks like it was machined. What was it for?
How did Xerces' bridge over the Hellespont withstand currents?

Epistemological Concerns in Climate Science.