What is Tauchain & Why It Could Be One of The Greatest Inventions of All Time (Part 1: Introduction). By Kevin Wong. Posted on Steemit. August 28, 2018.
In anticipation of Tau's demo some time around the end of this year, I'd be publishing a series of articles leading up to its release and beyond on Steem. If you would like to get to know what some of us think is going to be one of the greatest inventions of all time, I'd recommend you to check out http://wwwidni.org. It seems like a foundation that we've missed out on building together since the birth of the Internet.
A close resemblance of this project is the Semantic Web although some of us would place Tau as being far more ambitious in scope, oddly in a way that is likely more feasible with its ingenious use of a logic blockchain to power a decentralized social choice platform. I think it's impressive how singular the concept actually is, despite the unavoidable lengthy explanations that come paired with the many first-time features that Tau will provide.
Without further ado, let's explore this world-changing technology that is currently baking in the oven.
What is Tau?
Let's begin by first checking out the opening of IDNI's website at http://idni.org:-
Tau is a decentralized blockchain network intended to solve the bottlenecks inherent in large scale human communication and accelerate productivity in human collaboration using logic based Artificial Intelligence.
Sounds fairly straight-forward at first glance, and to me, it really stands out in the cryptosphere. We now have millions and billions of people using the Internet everyday, yet we still do not have any effective means of discussing and collaborating without being all over the place. Sure, we may have been pouring a lot of our time and effort into various platforms trying to connect with others, but have things been really any different compared to a time before the Internet?
The speed of information propagation has increased by orders of magnitude, and we can reach anyone on the planet now, but it's still really up to us to be present and be able to process information in our heads before turning them into relevant knowledge for our networks.
Expanding our social bandwidth.
Turns out, we have been experiencing a lot of trouble coming to terms with the chatter of billions of people in cyberspace. The bottlenecks inherent in our human bandwidth remain to be unsolved even with near-instantaneous communications. From governments to corporations and blockchain communities, we are all still facing the age-old problem of being unable to scale governance beyond the size of a classroom. It's just difficult to get our points across to many different people, let alone making sense of complex long-term discussions and making network-wide decisions collaboratively.
The introduction to The New Tau written by Ohad Asor explains our situation quite accurately:-
Some of the main problems with collaborative decision making have to do with scales and limits that affect flow and processing of information. Those limits are so believed to be inherent in reality such that they're mostly not considered to possibly be overcomed. For example, we naturally consider the case in which everyone has a right to vote, but what about the case in which everyone has an equal right to propose what to vote over?
So how is Tau actually going to solve our communications bottleneck? It will be through a highly bespoke and non-trivial implementation of a logic-based Artificial Intelligence (AI). It's worth noting that AI in this case is more of a buzzword for marketing-speak, and it is actually not of the same variety as the commercial implementations of deep machine learnig.
The distinction that must be made is that Tau is not the kind of AI that attempts to guess what the world is around them, including that of our opinions and the things we say or do. Instead, we must make the step towards communicating through Tau and what we choose to communicate will be as definite as computer programs. It can be thought of as a persistent logic companion that helps us improve the scale our reasoning, logic, and bandwidth.
We can take the time to share what we want to share on the Tau network and most of the logic-based connections and operations will happen in the background over time, even when we're not paying attention in-person. Again, the use of the word AI is a misnomer here because it usually paints the picture of AI agents attempting to mimic human autonomy. That's not what Tau is about. In this case, thinking about Tau as just a logic machine should provide better clarity on what it actually is.
The power of logic.
To expand, here's the second paragraph found in the opening of IDNI's website that explains Tau's paradigm in logic-based communications, http://idni.org:-
Currently, large scale discussions and collaborative efforts carried out directly between people are highly inefficient. To address this problem, we developed a paradigm which we call Human-Machine-Human communication: the core principle is that the users can not only interact with each other but also make their statements clear to their Tau client. Our paradigm enables Tau to deduce areas of consensus among its users in real time, allowing the network to boost communication by acting as an intermediary between humans. It does so by collecting the opinions and preferences its users wish to share and logically constructing opinions into a semantic knowledge base.
Indeed, Tau will offer a semantic social choice platform where we can discuss and store knowledge in a logical universe that helps us organize information, thereby empowering us in highly relevant ways. If you're worried about privacy, know that Tau is first-and-foremost designed as a local client with local processing and storage. The platform itself will be deployed as a decentralized peer-to-peer network, a place where we can connect and share our knowledge-base with anyone we desire.
The only price to pay in all of these is that we must speak in Tau-comprehensible languages, which can always be added and modified over time. A sophisticated language that can be defined over Tau may closely resemble natural languages, but it is really best to expect Tau as a machine-comprehensible language that only speaks in logic. Fortunately, logical formalism is something that we can easily deal with.
So it will be up to us to communicate with our local Tau client in a way that it'll understand our worldviews. When the machine understands what we share completely in some logical, mathematically-verifiable sense, it can then connect our dots with the rest of the Tau network, effectively boosting communications beyond the limits of human bandwidth, effectively scaling our points of discussion, consensus, and collaboration up to an infinite number of participants.
Code and consciousness.
Finally, we look at the last paragraph of Tau's introduction at http://idni.org
Able to deduce consensus and understand discussions, Tau can automatically generate and execute code on consensus basis, through a process known as code synthesis. This will greatly accelerate knowledge production and expedite most large scale collaborative efforts we can imagine in today's world.
Since Tau is a logic blockchain that powers a semantic social choice platform, we can leverage it to have both small and large-scale discussions about program specifications, detect points of consensus, and even generate software in the process. Being able to go from discussions to the realization of decentralized applications would mean inclusive code development for the masses. It's also a unique addition to decentralization that no other blockchain projects have even thought about.
Now that we may have come to a better understanding of Tau's emphasis on the use of logic in every part of its being, let's revisit the process description found in The New Tau to get closer to knowing what it really is about:-
We are interested in a process in which a small or very large group of people repeatedly reach and follow agreements. We refer to such processes as Social Choice. We identify five aspects arising from them, language, knowledge, discussion, collaboration, and choice about choice. We propose a social choice mechanism by a careful consideration of these aspects.
In short, Tau is a decentralized peer-to-peer network that takes the shape of a social choice platform, and it can become anything that we want it to be, for as long as it's expressible within the self-defining and decidable logics of FO[PFP] with PSPACE-complexity. This precise specification is required to satisfy the very definition of Tau as seen in the excerpt above. Tau is also intended to be a compiler-compiler.
This is taking application-generality into a completely different direction compared to blockchains that are built specifically with turing-completeness in mind, like Ethereum. Relevant literature to check out: Finite Model Theory.
Understanding each other.
While it's all highly technical and difficult to grasp in one seating, perhaps a better way to truly begin to understand Tau is to spend some time studying its main features. Or just wait for the product release. In any case, I will try to explore these topics in the future if my brain can still handle it:-
The more I think about Tau, the more I think that it is (poetically) a logical conclusion to the way the Internet works as a protocol. It even lives and breaths logic. Not just any kind of logic, but specifically, logics that can define their own semantics and is decidable. Tau is intelligently designed to be a truly dynamic and ever-evolving blockchain.
When the Tau community intends to make changes to the network code, rules or protocols, they will simply need to express these opinions and perspectives in a compatible language over the network. The self defining logic of the Tau blockchain network will enable it to detect the consensus among these opinions and automatically amend its own code to reflect this consensus from block to block. Unlike the common method of voting, Tau’s approach will take into account the perspectives of the entire community, where people will be free to vote and propose what to vote for in real time. This unique ability of Tau is the only decentralized solution to create a truly dynamic protocol.
Now you might think: Tau seems like a powerful tool but will it be too difficult to use for most people? There might be some learning curve involved for sure, and it'd be similar to learning a new language in the beginning. Those of us who learn to use it well enough to scale our discussions and collaborative works will likely gain a significant edge over those who are not using the platform. I'd imagine plenty of projects and communities around the world being able to overcome some of their obstacles in development through Tau. Hence, it may be fair to expect that market forces will gravitate towards the platform just like how we're all using the Internet these days.
Until the next post.
I've been thinking about Tau almost everyday for the past many months now, and I will admit that its deeper technicalities are still way out of my league, although I've made sure to word them broadly out the best I can. If you like what I do, please consider sharing this post and voting on my witness account on Steem. For more info, check out my recent witness announcement post.
As always, thanks for reading!
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More on partial evaluation - How does partial evaluation work and why is it important? By Dana Edwards. Posted on Steemit. December 23, 2017.
I have been asked the question about what partial evaluation is. Partial evaluation is one of the core components behind the Tau Meta Language. In order to understand Tauchain and TML we have to do a little digging to understand not just partial evaluation but in specific the partial fixed point logic.
Self interpretation and self definition are the core of what makes Tauchain unique, and no other crypto or really any technology outside of academia will have that. Partial fixed point logic will be discussed in this blog post along with Futamura's paper on partial evalulation.
Partial Evaluation of Computation Process--An Approach to a Compiler-Compiler
Futamura's paper discusses partial evaluation as an approach to a compiler compiler. A compiler as many programmers know, is a lot like a translator. A compiler translates "source code" written in a high level formal language into "machine code" which is a lower level language. This translation process is what allows human "programmers" to communicate in a language which the machine can understand without having to speak directly in the machine code at the lowest level. With this in mind we can now understand that a compiler-compiler allows humans to describe, define, and compile a compiler, in essence allowing humans to create new programming languages.
Partial evaluation is a means of building a compiler compiler allowing this. A partial evaluation of a computation is based upon taking the formal description of the semantics of a programming language which is known as an "interpreter", allowing for description of the "evaluation procedure" which is the interpreter, to be used for defining the semantics of a programming language. So to simplify it down, the interpreter allows the advanced users of TML to define the semantics also known as the "meaning" of a programming language. This gives the user of TML a lot of flexibility, to in essence define their own programming language and then compile it (compiler-compiler). A meta compiler is what the paper describes as the ability to compile a particular language, where the partial evaluation process is where the meaning behind the semantics is defined.
A programming language is both syntax and semantics. So for future reference, after parsing is complete (syntax analysis) the meaning comes from the semantics through "semantic analysis". Partial evaluation is a process pertaining to the semantic analysis portion which takes place after syntax analysis otherwise called parsing. So we start with source code, which is input into a parser, which outputs into the generator, which at this point receives input from the partial evaluator just prior to the final stage of compilation into "machine code".
The significance of partial evaluation in Tauchain and the interesting features of partial fixed point logic
Partial evaluation is a bit of a tweak on what is usually called a compiler-compiler or parser generator. Partial fixed point logic is where the magic of TML is supposed to happen and by magic I mean the main selling points such as self defining, decidable, etc. A quick Google search of fixed point logic shows that fixed point logic has a role in model checking which is a critical design feature for Tauchain. We also learn that partial fixed point logic is more expressive on infinite structures than inflationary fixed point logic.
The critical paper comes from Imhof titled "logics that define their own semantics". It is almost magical in that in this paper we are presented with the logic which is self definable by it's nature as well as decidable. So the literature is clearly showing that theory backs TML. TML likey will be used to produce a partial fixed point logic solver which through the unique properties of this logic we will gain the magical properties promised for Tauchain. To understand partial fixed point logic fully requires a lot more in depth study, but this blog post will point potential developers in the right direction so that the most basic questions are answered.
What is the significance of this breakthrough? This is the part which is hardest for me because it opens the door to so many opportunities and so much potential. For example what can developers do with the ability to inject any logic they wish, whether partial fixed point logic or some other? What does this mean for Tauchain which can now support multiple logics? What does this mean for Agoras which can be built using a decidable logic yet be expressive? PSPACE complexity, what will this allow for developers?
I'm unable to answer those questions sufficiently, but I think this is a much bigger deal than mere "Turing complete" status which we see common with the current state of the art blockchain tech. In a way this represents the next level, which is a state of the art meta language and compiler-compiler where flexibility is in the ability to communicate from human to machine.
Futamura, Y. (1999). Partial evaluation of computation process—an approach to a compiler-compiler. Higher-Order and Symbolic Computation, 12(4), 381-391.
Kreutzer, S. (2002, September). Partial fixed-point logic on infinite structures. In CSL (pp. 337-351).
Imhof, H. (1999). Logics that define their own semantics. Archive for Mathematical Logic, 38(8), 491-513.
Fuente / Source: Original post written by Dana Edwards. Published on Steemit. December 23, 2017.
Something Revolutionary In the Crypto Space.
The overwhelming majority of new crypto projects out there fall into 3 main categories:
Now the trillion dollar question is this: is just having a currency or shoving a Turing Complete programming language into the blockchain to allow for smart contracts truly the best use of this decentralized innovation? Ohad Asor, creator and lead developer of Tau, does not think so.
What Is Tau?
Before I start I have to make a confession: I don't truly understand Tau. But I feel that I don't understand it slightly less than people who don't know about it at all, so I'll have a go at explaining it.
Tau is a platform that is designed to scale human collaboration and knowledge building.
Almost every significant piece of technology to date (that isn't about accelerating physical labor) has been primarily focused on the disseminating information or data. The wheel, roads, telephones, the internet are all indispensable achievements that have served to aid getting information from A to B.
But the real value isn't in the data itself, it's from the organization of the information within that data into useful knowledge. While the mere distribution of information is an important step to scaling human progress, it's also only part of the picture. The next step has typically been up to us, the human actors, to use our little brains to distill that information manually until we produce knowledge;
Tau is the first piece of serious technology that is aimed to not only automate the collection of information, but also the production of knowledge, unless you count Netflix's 'AI' recommending 'The Human Centipede' after your toddler has just watched 'A Bug's Life', as successful knowledge discovery made by a machine. Tau is about the industrialization of knowledge creation via taking some of the burden of logical reasoning from us humans and giving it to the machine.
What Can Tau Do?
Ohad has spent years researching and developing Tau. The design is centered around creating a self defining, decidable logic that is expressible under pspace (which is mathematically shown to be the most expressive any self defining and decidable language can be), that will act as a metalanguage for all programming languages defined under Tau.
A trivial example of what this can directly lead to is secure smart contracts. Smart contracts operating under Tau cannot ever give rise to something like the DAO hack - decidable programming languages means one can anticipate the entire spectrum of possible consequences of the code before running it, allowing us to avoid anything unintended. But reliable and secure smart contracts are only a tiny fraction of what the platform can truly offer.
The power of Tau's design will allow it to boast some truly wondrous features including:
Ohad has yet to fully explain how this will be achieved, but by far the most difficult part is creating the initial decidable, self defining logic system that serves as a metalanguage. Many had their doubts but yesterday Ohad announced that the first and most difficult step towards this end has been achieved. The code he has written is a working version of the Tau Meta Language which correctly computed a transitive closure graph. This is a proof of concept of the great things to come!
Now that the initial code is released, Ohad is working on a set of explanations about Tau which will outline it's features and how it'll be able to achieve them in more detail. Tau is notoriously difficult to explain, but it's definitely worth the effort to understand it. I'll keep you updated when his explanations are released.
Who Is The Lead Developer Ohad Asor?
Ohad Asor is a programmer, computer scientist, mathematician and logician from Israel. He attended university at the age of 13 and has extensive experience (30+ years) in programming and mathematics.
Most people know me as the clown on here who just writes jokes along the lines of taking his mom to the prom after his cousin rejected him or some shit, but I sat my university entrance exams at 16 and scored in the top 0.5% of Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank and took a prestigious course at a well known university. I only bring this up to show that I've had no shortage of dealings with what ordinarily would be considered to be extremely intelligent people, but Ohad is on a completely different level.
Ohad Asor is, quite frankly, the most intelligent and knowledgeable person with whom I've ever interacted. There are many geniuses and child prodigies out there, but Ohad has spent virtually every minute of his waking moments studying up until this point in his life, and he likely has an IQ of over 5 standard deviations above the mean to begin with. I have spoken to him and followed his project over the past 8 months, and my assessment and admiration of his abilities has only increased over this time period.
Here is a short video of him explaining the old design of Tau and some of its features. The information is dated as the new design is far superior, but these features remain.
English is Ohad's second language - His native language is C.
How Do I Invest In Tau?
Tau itself has no tokens but Ohad is also building Agoras, the first automated marketplace over the Tau collaborative platform. Agoras tokens are currently traded on Bittrex. It has one of the fairest distributions in the cryptosphere and Ohad is only reserving 3% of the tokens for himself. None of that 20% for the founders, 10% for the developers, 20% for the foundation, 15% for the founders' penis enlargement fund bullshit.
Agoras has made considerable gains over the last few weeks but it's total market cap is still under 100 million at the time of writing, which, to me, represents an incredible opportunity for something potentially revolutionary. If we woke up tomorrow without Bitcoin, things would more or less continue as they did, but if we woke up tomorrow without electricity, the world would be an entirely different place. Indeed Tau aims to be the latter: a truly indispensable piece of technology, which is a status that no crypto project has yet reached.
This article isn't to be taken as investment advice any more than it is to be construed as advice on how to get out of the friend zone without resorting to chloroform. I'm not affiliated nor paid by the Tau team in any way. I have not made a single crypto recommendation in my 8 months of being here until now. I just wanted to share something that I think has immense potential to be truly revolutionary, and it also happens to be the only other crypto investment I hold other than Steem.
Feel free to ask some questions after and I'll try my best to answer them.
Special thanks to @dana-edwards and the Steemit platform for allowing me to discover this project
Tau QQ Group Number: 203884141
IRC for technical questions only, Ohad will generally reply within a day
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Suggested readings to better understand the Tau ecosystem, Tau Meta Language, Tau-Chain and Agoras, and collaborate in the development of the project.
Lecturas sugeridas para entender mejor el ecosistema Tau, Tau Meta Lenguaje, Tau-Chain y Agoras, y colaborar en el desarrollo del proyecto.