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Gill Eapen
Works at Decision Options, LLC
Attended University of Chicago
Lives in Groton, CT
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Gill Eapen

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http://www.scientificsense.com/#axzz3Z7CqrWBs

Statistical significance has let many industries down and built fortunes for many, riding their luck. A recent paper from Duke University explains what most non-statisticians and non-financiers always knew. Models that do not make practical sense are unlikely to work. Industries on top of the modern economy, those who attract the best and the brightest – physics, medicine and finance – have been playing with statistical fire, discovering and proving everything there is – some for money and others for fame. As the Duke paper points out, almost any hypothesis could be proven by a sufficiently large number of trials. And proving hypotheses is front and center for any “scientific profession.”

In this context, it may be interesting to make the following predictions:

1. LHC : If 6 trillion trillion collisions are made and the data analyzed, LHC could prove God exists. Just 6 trillion was enough to find the “God particle” within 5 sigma. This is a good experiment. Proving God exists may solve many of the vexing problems faced by humanity.

2. SETI : If an antenna is provided to every roof top in the world and the “search” accelerated by a billion times, SETI could prove ET with pointy ears, a cone head and red white and blue stripes across the body exists in some distant galaxy.

3. Wall Street : If the number of idiots trading securities back and forth every day is increased by an order of magnitude, Wall street could create somebody who wins on every trade for 10 years running.

Statistics, the “science” that is foundational for “accelerating knowledge” of humanity, may singlehandedly bring knowledge-seekers to a standstill in the presence of “big data.”



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http://www.scientificsense.com/#axzz3YQgyQBh1

A recent commentary in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings, highlights most academics and those less academic, already knew – the need and desire to publish is a disease, aided by “plagiarism, fraud and predatory publishing.” Academics – held sacred by a vanishing few – now means brutal business and what comes out is mostly noise, stolen materials and joint incompetence. The acceleration seen in “academic publishing,” is a clear indication that the quality has declined and more importantly the authors mostly rely on a patchwork of stolen materials and ideas.

This is unfortunate. Knowledge creation, still the only attribute that marginally differentiates humans and animals, has been on the decline for decades. Information and noise, mistakenly attributed to knowledge by technologists, have been creating havoc. The “data explosion,” and the ever eluding “singularity,” have kept the precious little brain cells away from advancing knowledge. To top it all off, the ambassadors of knowledge creation have been busy plagiarizing and creating irrelevant publications.

Misaligned incentives, aided by limited time horizons of knowledge seekers, are likely to assure that humans will continue the rat race in a maze with no exits.



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http://www.scientificsense.com/2015/04/stuck-in-weeds.html#axzz3XiEpMwsQ

Yet another policy choice and the reaction of our fearless leaders to it, show the level of ignorance and incompetence the country has to get over before it can advance further. The magic leaf has been with humans for thousands of years and it shows significant medical advantages already. Because of its status, research has been dampened and we have a large number of people sitting in jail for a crime because of legalese. Those who wear the badge of “free markets,” elsewhere should engage in introspection and remove the inconsistencies in their policy choices.

In addition to the limits, there has to be education and competence requirements for people who want to legislate. I do not mean “self certification,” but hard constraints including exams that politicians have to pass before they can run for important policy positions. The gap between the current generation and the ones in Washington is big and it is getting bigger every passing day. If doctors, engineers and scientists have to demonstrate competence through structured tests, it is unclear why this is not the case for those who could have profound impact on a large number of people. Educational Testing Services – please take note and design a PAT – Politics Admission Test – that could have weeded out the crop that is currently legislating.

Stuck in the weeds and frozen in time, our leaders are unlikely to move society to a better state.



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Gill Eapen

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http://www.scientificsense.com/#axzz3Wx0egnFH

Recent research from Princeton that attempts to spin yet another particle – spinon – to “explain” frustrated magnets, is symptomatic of trying to fit existing (old) theories into observations. Contemporary education and learning institutions are so inflexible that they are simply unable to break away from tradition. If observations do not fit a theory, it is better to ask if the theory is right rather than incrementally attaching an error that is yet to be proven. Sure, writing papers are easier this way but it is unlikely to advance knowledge.

If magnets are not behaving as expected, it is ok to call them “frustrated.” But to hypothesize a particle that may explain such frustration is fiction. This is dangerous research  - as experience tells us that, once “speculated,” it shall be “proven” in Physics – either by unachievable mathematics or by generating mind numbing noise from experiments. It is ironic that there has been only a single individual for over hundred years who could create a framework to think in Physics.

Educational institutions, world over, adept at producing “bricks in the wall,” graduates – engineers, scientists and doctors – prisoners of the status-quo, have to rethink – and quick.



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http://www.scientificsense.com/2015/03/the-habitable-zone.html#axzz3UykS18Xc


Friday, March 20, 2015

A recent publication in the “Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society,” uses “heavy Mathematics,” to show that there could be billions of stars in the milky way alone with multiple planets in the “habitable zone,” defined as the existence of “acceptable” temperatures with the possibility of water. Humans, are funny animals – with all their brain power and scientific knowledge, they are perfectly happy extrapolating from a single observation. The embarrassing use of Mathematics in the calculation of the probability of life in the Milky Way itself, that appears to be indistinguishable from 1.0, may surface many questions.

High energy Physics, not significantly different from fiction, is clinging to century old theories, that explain less than 4% of the observations. Meanwhile, ego driven space administrations, are on the edge, not being able to prove extra-terrestrial life, something they strongly feel should have been done by now. The tiny slice of space-tine, handed to humans, apparently is not a constraint for the big brains, who have adroitly forecasted the arrival of green women in less than twenty years, albeit, the proof could be less compelling than the “encounters of the fourth kind.” Meanwhile, the famous one in England, worried about the green variety life not being friendly, strongly admonishes against the search for the same. Clearly, there is content here befitting day time soap.

The only known habitable zone, a quirk in space time, could be easily destroyed before its occupants find another.



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Gill Eapen

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http://www.scientificsense.com/2015/03/limited-imagination.html#axzz3U2y00shj

And then, she could see the heavens beyond her imagination

Out in the distance, Quasars shine but the physicists do not know

Near in time, people die, but the intelligentsia does not know

Champaign flows and the suits in glass houses get religion

 

8 Billion, too few to count, but too many for those, counting pennies

Brain cells, a liability for most, have failed again to make an impact

They sever heads in the East and intelligence in the West

It is, indeed, a show, nobody should miss

 

Blonde hair, racism and democratic intent on television and media

The ones in the South adhering to belief and those in the North to principles

Nether wins nor do they advance humanity

It seems futile and irrelevant to those with brains over their shoulders

 

Humans, complex animals and a quirk of evolution, normalize again

They should not be here, but now, they are ready to inflict damage

To themselves, and anything they may touch and destroy

They cannot measure damage, they write history with glowing language

 

Time, the only artifact with power, shall erase every action and thought

And space, inferior to time, shall close in on the incompetent and stupid

The predictable collapse, cannot be anticipated by those with constraints

But then, the question remains for the few who may be left behind



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Gill Eapen

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http://www.scientificsense.com/#axzz3YdqSG0sg

Research from LMU in Munich attempts to test if quantum particles, such as bosons, follow prescriptions of game theory, a well established concept in economics. This is in a favorable direction as it may simplify quantum behavior by using constructs from macro systems. The incentives for bosons to be on the same wavelength as their neighbors is akin to incentives present in human interactions. And, if a simple objective function, such as profits or wealth maximization can be found for quantum particles, then, their behavior could well be predicted by economic theory. It has been noted that, at the extreme, the Bose-Einstein condensate behaves like a single super particle. It is conceivable that if such behavior is universal, it has implications for design for truly advanced societies. 

The divergence of the behavior of quantum systems from human scale systems has been problematic not only for physicists but also for amateurs who seek simplification. Intuition seems to point to missing attributes or perhaps a completely wrong theory. If quantum behavior could be explained by those seen in bigger systems, then the chance of survival increases for the theory itself. However, this implicitly assumes that bigger systems are a natural progression of quantum ones and most available information seems to refute such a notion. Engineering bias force scientists and technologists to a unified theory – from parts to the whole - and it is quite possible that multiple universes with differing laws exist within the observable one in human scale.

Whatever the reality, the notion of explaining quantum behavior using larger systems is intriguing. If this is possible, such behavior could provide direction for better designs of human systems as well.

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http://www.scientificsense.com/#axzz3XiEpMwsQ

Recent news that NASA’s WISE orbiting observatory found no tell-tale signs of advanced societies in 100,000 galaxies studied, is a constant reminder that ET is likely more advanced than the big brains at the space agency. Blindly following the speculation made more than 50 years ago, that mid-infrared emissions in a Galaxy could be indicative of a dominant civilization of galactic scope, the engineers seem to have gotten it wrong, yet again.

And they will get it wrong many times in this century. An advanced society is one that does not emit radiation, something that does not show up in the archaic instruments created by the least interesting species in the universe. An advanced society is one that will have no intention to dominate, let alone “conquer” the resources offered by a galaxy. Stupid humans, driven by ego and materialism, seem to be assuming that “domination,” is hard-wired into intelligent life. Intelligence is least likely to be about “cornering resources,” and an advanced society is one that will leave no tell-tale signs or bread crumbs for the stupid to detect them.

Radiation seeking humans, constantly looking for TV programs to tune into from other galaxies, will be left sorely disappointed. If ET exists, it will absolutely assure that there will be no “contact.” After all, who would like to contact a species, that burns fossil fuels in a limited green house they are afforded, constantly fighting and killing each other for irrational belief systems and fleeting wealth, segment themselves into color, geography, language and physical proportions, cast a blind eye to those with poor initial conditions and completely incompetent in advancing knowledge.

ET has fascinated many – but it will likely remain a fascination.



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http://www.scientificsense.com/2015/04/engineers-discover-probabilities.html#axzz3XWrxNMda

Recent news that MIT engineers have finally discovered probabilities is heartening news. A “probabilistic programming language,” they “invented” appears to be quite competitive to conventional systems for vision and cognition. It is always better to arrive late rather than not at all. Determinism, the bane of engineering, has kept many bright minds back for long.

There have been weak attempts at the same may decades before. After the hype of Artificial Intelligence waned in the towering institutions of the East and the West in the 80s, some feeble attempts at programming in logic surfaced in unknown quarters. Such programming was all about probabilities – and it had no prescriptive GoTo statements. The originators underestimated the wrath of engineers – who generally knew everything there is to know. Prolog was shown the grave before it arrived.

Machine learning, the latest hype, has some potential – but not in the hands of engineers with deterministic education. Perhaps, the next generation can leave the legacy of ego and ignorance behind and really make something happen.



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http://www.scientificsense.com/#axzz3WIE4Jrjl

Stopping time appears to have several advantages. The trick is the modality of stoppage. If time is stopped with an incremental move, say a day, and then repeated in an infinite loop and if information transfer is allowed at the boundaries, then knowledge can increase infinitely. Biological systems, with a hard expiry date, have been inefficient in the transfer of information across space-time. The Fermi paradox is an important notion in this context. Biology, appears to be highly inferior to systems that perpetuate – either through time or space.

Search for extra-terrestrial life does not make any sense in this vein. An advanced society is most likely to harness gravity and stop time rather than travel across space or even show themselves on Radar. The epitome of modern transportation – humans packed like sardines in an aluminum can with wings – should provide a hint that travel is the least of things an advanced society would do. The idiots with the telescope and antennas in the heart of Silicon Valley never asked why an advanced society will show themselves to their inferior finding techniques. My tax dollars are better spent elsewhere.

Humans, the least likely species to search the heavens for their next of kin, may be getting ahead of themselves. the fact that they found a toy to scan the skies, does not mean that it is the best use of their time.



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http://www.scientificsense.com/#axzz3UJV3r2Gs

Recent news that Ganymede, Jupiter’s famous moon, may house more water than the Earth, is interesting. NASA’s bold claim that they “shall find” extra-terrestrial life in less than 20 years, should be viewed with abundant caution in this context. If significant water worlds in close proximity to Earth are lifeless, one has to question the logic of looking for water across space. The problem is that, once hypothesized, nothing remains unproven in contemporary science.

If Ganymede has underground oceans that rival the Earth, all efforts should be focused on finding life there – not in distant galaxies. If the presence of water is a necessary condition for life to emerge, as argued by the famous and the systematic, then they have to focus on the many instances of water in the solar system itself. If attempts at finding life in these close quarters come empty, then one has to question both the idea that life could exist elsewhere and if water is a necessary condition for life. One cannot have it both ways. Just as the “Higgs Boson” surfaced in mindless noisy data, it will not be sufficient to show spectral noise of oxygen and water, somewhere in a distant galaxy and claim extra-terrestrial life. Scientists, with egos that rival the stupid, have shown a weakness when it comes to proving stated hypotheses – and never even considering the alternative. But then, tenure and publications are more important than real science.

If there is only one observation of life ridden mass in the entire universe, then, the probability remains close to zero to find it elsewhere. No amount of mathematical manipulation is going to make this probability higher. And, if life cannot be found in conditions that are assumed to be favorable, the probability of extra-terrestrial life gets even less. It is depressing to think that the samples of life that can be observed on Earth, are indeed the best the universe could come up with. But that does not mean that they exist elsewhere.



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http://www.scientificsense.com/2015/03/small-noise.html#axzz3THCaiACb


Small noise
Recent research from Penn State (1) surfaces interesting questions on privacy in the modern world. Privacy has become a stumbling block in the use of valuable data for research and business purposes. Penn State team advocates adding small noise to data to achieve “differential privacy.” Privacy, a theme picked up by regulators with little knowledge of technology, has to be advanced by foundational mathematics. High tech giants, makers of search, faces, operating systems, databases, flashy hardware and next-quarter’s profits, are ill-equipped to solve this problem.

Research has been lagging. Privacy is a mathematical problem and not a data problem. With less than 8 billion samples across the world, it should be relatively easy to assure privacy if its is solved systematically. Regulators, lost in time and space, are attempting to use archaic tools to solve a problem, they deem important. And, big businesses, who want to hoard and abuse data are unlikely to play. Hence, this is a problem, only academics can solve.

Privacy, as important as education and health in the modern context, can only be protected by the application of mathematics. With few distinct samples with limited time horizons, it should not tax academic minds, if they focus on it.

(1) http://esciencenews.com/articles/2015/02/16/social.network.analysis.privacy.tackled



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Have him in circles
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Work
Occupation
Managing Principal
Skills
Strategic planning, valuation, economics
Employment
  • Decision Options, LLC
    Chairman, 2000 - present
  • Charles River Associates
    Vice President, 2010 - 2011
  • Pfizer
    Group Director, 1997 - 2000
  • Deloitte
    Senior Manager, 1994 - 1997
  • Hewlett-Packard
    Strategy Intern, 1993 - 1993
  • ABB
    Senior Consultant, 1986 - 1992
Places
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Currently
Groton, CT
Previously
Chicago, IL - Dallas, TX - Atlanta, GA - Chennai, India - Kochi, India
Story
Tagline
Decision Options
Introduction

Gill Eapen has two decades of experience in strategy, finance, risk and general management. Mr. Eapen’s past experience includes senior positions at fortune 100 companies, consulting and private equity firms. He has consulted for over five dozen companies worldwide in diverse industries, including life sciences, energy, aerospace, high technology and consumer goods. In 2000, he founded Decision Options, a pioneer in economic value based decision making, risk, and portfolio management. Decision Options also managed a Long/Short US Equity fund that used proprietary analytics and risk management principles to generate significant alpha.

Currently, he is the chairman of Decision Options. Previously he was an executive at Charles River Associates, a Boston based advisory services firm. Before that, he was a member of the R&D leadership team at Pfizer, responsible for the planning of the entire R&D portfolio including internal allocation of capital and external assessments of business development deals. Before that he was engagement manager at Deloitte Consulting. Mr. Eapen is a CFA charter holder, a member of the Boston Society of Security Analysts, author of two management text-books (Decision Options & Flexibility) and a frequent speaker in conferences worldwide. He holds graduate degrees from the University of Chicago and Northwestern University and an undergraduate degree from Indian Institute of Technology.

Bragging rights
Author, Decision Options, Flexibility & Scientific Sense
Education
  • University of Chicago
    Economics, 1992 - 1992
  • Northwestern Unvesrity
    Engineering, 1985 - 1986
  • Indian Institute of Technology
    Engineering, 1980 - 1985
  • Christ College
    Science, 1978 - 1980
  • RM High School
    Science, 1972 - 1978
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Male