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dragonwind
December 28th, 2009, 11:35 AM
Hello all -- hoping you can help with a title/author.

The story involves a scene in which a space station, likely attacked and that is failing dynamically // coming apart, is taught the control laws that govern its mechanical behavior.

In more detail ... the occupants are offloaded, but, our hero remains for some task. The onboard control computer for the station is attempting to control and damp out the escalating instabilities (e.g., via simple neural-net type reactive control signals), but is gradually losing control. Our hero pauses in the control room for a second *and enters in the dynamics equations* that describe the mechanical behavior of the station. The computer, as I recall, has no understanding of humans (the hero is a "shape"). And, the computer doesn't actually understand the equations as equations, much less what they are intended to represent. Nevertheless, the computer gradually realizes (I think via quick numerical simulation and correlation with the ongoing situation) that the equations explicate the underlying dynamics. This enables the computer to actually stabilize the station -- and then ponder what equations are and what the shapes are.

I'd very much appreciate knowing the title and/or author. In addition to your thoughts here, if you would let me know at livinginrealtime@gmail.com, that would be great. Thanks!

ivanj
December 28th, 2009, 04:42 PM
You appear to be describing a very small part - almost at the end - of 'The Two Faces of Tomorrow' by James P. Hogan.

dragonwind
December 30th, 2009, 07:20 PM
thanks for this!

It sounds very promising, and I've ordered a copy so that I can quote this passage more carefully in something I'm writing.

If anyone else thinks this might be a different story, please advise.

Again Ivan, thank you -- this is a big help to me.