Sigh Fie Chen High, episode 2: The GM Test

This is a sequel to Sigh Figh Chen Igh, in terms of it being set in the same fictional universe. It’s also rather Madras centric, so for those not from this city, migrate here if you wish to make sense of this post. On an unrelated note, somebody saw it fit to interview me.

The laboratory had a laid-back look, contrary to the popular cliche that busy, messy labs are the ones at the cutting edge of science. But do not mistake the Extraordinary Gilma Lab for one of those stereotypical R&D joints where bureaucrats test the tensile strength of scarlet coloured tape. The EGL was the pride of Silken Valley, a sprawling high tech strip of research institutions that stretched from the Mandaveli Hyperbusport to the Hovercraft port on the banks of the Adyar river. Ever since RMK Viswanathan,XVII discovered (in 3673 A.D) that the pallu of extraordinarily intricate Kancheepuram sarees could perform advanced computations at an exponentially higher speed than the now obsolete silicon based semiconductors, the Silken revolution had altered life as we knew it in Sambaria. The new elite in Madras society were the weavers of logic, aptly titled Silk Smithers.

Guna was sitting at his terminal, unable to bring his mind to concentrate on the task at hand. He was still smarting from his weekend experience at the TTK Virtual Academy for Interactive Music For Elite Masses on Radhakrishnan-Cathedral-Hyperavenue. He had decided to try out one of those much vaunted interactive Carnatic concerts where one could virtually “become” the artiste, say “Besh Besh” at the right moments and also confuse the mridangist by messing up the Misra Chapu tala, among other things. But what he did not expect was the white virtual veshtied gang, the Carnatic Clucks Clan, to hound him as he attempted to virtually perform the Bilahari alapana as the violinist. They had infiltrated the virtual audience and had loudly passed comments such as “Is this Bilahari? Or Mohanam with indigestion?”. Hailing from the southern spacepolis of Pondicherry, he was caught totally by surprise, being unaware of the strongly parochial tendencies of the crowd that patronized the Virtual Academy.

He took his Pansolaric Coffeeblaster in a big gulp, hoping that the unique concoction of caffeine, milk and bubbles would provide him the necessary kick start to his endeavour. Having studied to be a pseudomicrobiologist, his particular skills had suddenly became useful in the world of Silken computing, as scientists now played with the Silkworm’s DNA to produce custom threads for use in the construction of modern day Processing ALgorithmic Logic Units (PALLUs). Guna was engaged in testing and fine tuning a revolutionary new computational knowledge engine, code named Wolfram Omicron. While knowledge engines had been around for the better part of the last millennium, Omicron was special. It was designed to be the first machine to pass the GM Test (short for the Goundamani Quantum Hypothetical Modified Turing Test). No machine had ever passed that test, and Guna was on the threshold of achieving what was universally considered to be impossible.

The Coffeeblaster took longer than usual to reboot his brain. He made a mental note to order the more potent Kumbakonam Degreeblaster from tomorrow. He could not afford to waste any more time. He made a few last minute code changes and brought up the Omicron interface for the big moment. He took a deep breath, looked at his Cesium powered high precision Rahu Kalam determination unit, and typed the Goundamani Quantum Hypothetical Modified Turing Question.

Wolfram2He then waited, as the millions of PALLUs crunched quadrillions of bits (perhaps “crunch” is not quite an appropriate verb to describe the inner workings of the Silken processor. Swished and Sashayed, perhaps) in its attempt to crack the GM test. It finally spit out the answer.

wolfram1He had done it.

No coputer has been able to crack the GM test to date. This was the greatest achievement in machine intelligence since the Advanced Language Engine of 2896 that finally deciphered the Malayalam mumblings in the song “Jiya Jale”. He looked at Omicron and silently whispered “Thank you”.

To be continued……

Glossary (This is an extension of the earlier glossary at the end of the earlier part)

Virtual Veshti –Invented in 2870 by Lord Ram Raj XVII, a few years after the last man who knew how to tie a veshti (dhoti) passed away. The invention was a huge hit, and caused a resurgence of veshti-pride. The device was essentially a modulated, high-definition 3D laser surface generator in the shape of a waistband, and allowed the wearer to simulate an authentic looking veshti of ones choice by the click of a button. A “Thooki-kattu” (Lift, fold and tie) mode was also available. The older models were prone to failure, especially in the “Thooki-kattu” mode. A rounding error in the Intel Ombodhium processor of those times that powered the device often caused a miscalculation of the height at which a veshti must be thooki-kattufied. Battery life was also a concern, as the Microsoft Embedded Windows OS that powered the device had the nasty habit of claiming “20% battery life left”, and then suddenly next moment, inexplicably dropping to 2%. Subsequent versions improved reliability considerably, especially when Ramraj decided to dump Windows and adopt Ubuntu (the Valiant Veshti edition).

Going  open source eventually created an ecosystem that allowed the community to develop custom plugins for the Virtual Veshti. Kabali Design Enterprises (KDE) announced in 3124 that a lungi mode was now available, with further options to choose between  “Subdued Erode”, “Singapore Silky” and “Hallucinogenic Tirunelveli”.

Interactive Carnatic Concert – A virtual reality event where the audience could put themselves in the place of the artistes and engage in all of the shenanigans they usually indulge in

Carnatic Clucks Clan – A terrorist organization founded by a retired SBI employee/rasika dedicated to keeping Carnatic music pure and devoid of any external influences. This group’s trademark appearance involved spotless white virtual veshtis and hoods made from Angavastrams.

43 Comments

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  1. Intel Ombodhium….. Ubuntu (the Valiant Veshti edition)……Kabali Design Enterprises (KDE)……
    Amazing 🙂

    1. I have been reading your writings, ever since I clicked on the link that was posted as a status message in one of my friends Gtalk. Amazing posts , the potshots on brahminism,chennai tamil,movies,goundamani,govinda and much more .. all make for a nice read .

      feels like home , even when I am miles away from home .

      Keep up the good work .

  2. ROFL! It’s a pity the Venn diagrams of my geek friends and my Chennai/Tamil speaking friends don’t intersect, ‘cos I’m dying to share this and can’t think of anyone I know who’d be able to completely appreciate the humor!

    Ombodhium processor :)))))
    And I especially died laughing at the Goundamani reference.

  3. Interesting that you mentioned wolfram. I asked it about the indian elections and the darn thing pointed me to 2 movies – Indian and Elections.
    Convey my hearty congratulations to Guna on beating it.

  4. Brilliant one…….another classic….
    For people who do not want to wait for the “advanced language engine” of 2896, the mallu words (which are actually stupid) used in “jiya jale” are:

    Punchiri thanu konchiko
    Munthiri mutham chinthiko
    Manchani varna sundari vave
    Thankinaka
    Thakadhimi aadum thankanilave oye
    Thanka kolusale
    Koorkum kuyilalae
    aadana mayilalae

    Hey,kuruvanikiliye
    Kukuru kurukuru kooki kuruki,kunnimarathil uyal adi
    Kodum orike kootu vilikunne
    Maran nine kooki kuruki kkotu vilikunne
    Thanka kolusale
    Koorkum kuyilalae
    Aadana mayilalae

  5. Ha ha … Fantastic. Finally the Banana question is solved! Nice imagination and I would also urge you to post the meanings of Malayalam mumblings in Jiya Jale.

  6. nice one.. having recently linked the Economic crisis to the same banana crisis a couple of months ago, took inspiration from your post and typed

    where is the other dollar? into wolfram..

    it had no answers!

    really enjoyed the silk smithers reference. that was cheeky.

  7. Swami… antha kaala konjam kattidungo… asirvaatham vangikkaren!!!

    “Wolfram Omicron” and “Virtual Veshti” are simply out of the world.

  8. Hey Krish,

    I enjoyed this post as much as your other posts, but the technical connotations of this one is simply fantastic!

    +1 internetz to you 🙂

    And Virtual Veshti! hope it doesnt run out of power 😀

    Is there a way to share your post through facebook?

    Keep chugging out awesome posts like this one! Cheers bud,
    MuMo

    Ashok: I do get quite a few hits from shared facebook links, so I am presuming that it’s possible, but I’m not a frequent enough user of FB to know exactly how to do it

  9. தலைவா! வணக்கம்!!
    With “the Goundamani Quantum Hypothetical Modified Turing Question” you have entered Adams’ & Pratchett’s league!!!

  10. Great sequel! To use one of your phrases – Holy Mother of Melmaruvathur, this is superb.

    Inda madiri think pannarathukkunu edavadu thaniya sappiduveengalo!

  11. Ah, the vazhaipazham riddle has finally been solved. Just when some teenager decided to create his own version of the joke by trying to hold up a US coffee shop .. with a vazhaipazham.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090516/ap_on_fe_st/us_odd_eating_the_evidence

    ps: Was keeping the devil’s workshop busy by searching my company’s global address book .. found a bunch of brazilian women called Gilma, and at least a few Pune based ladies called Jalpa (an excellent combo of Jalsa + Jilpa, I’d say)

  12. A FTW post!! Terms added to ma dictionary – Virtual Veshti, Interactive Carnatic Concert and Carnatic Clan. Will forward this link to one of the Mamas of the carnatic clan 🙂

  13. Carnatic Clucks Clan, Thooki-kattu mode, Hallucinogenic Tirunelveli, Ombodhium processor…ROTFL!!! ;-D

    Temme… what exactly do you mix into your filterkaapi to come up with winners like these??? And thanks Krish, your blog does a LOT to keep my Chennai blues at bay!!

  14. Ashok, have been reading your posts for a while now and have thoroughly enjoyed reading each of them. !!

    In the most recent post, Virtual Veshti is the highlight! ROTFL 🙂

    Would love to read more of them in the days to come.

  15. Further to what the previous commenter has said, we demand a full and well rounded version of THE WAISTLAND by none other than avvar own Thiru Sambaria Expert.

    😀

  16. Ausum!!! I was gonna put the malayalam mumblings here, but ordinary guy beat me to it. Sashay Silk Smithers! *Gaja raja kati sashays in salute*

  17. Carnatic Cluck Clans : Don’t they cover their torsos? It would be a hideous sight … even virtually.

    Saw the goundamani senthil video for that banana joke again only a few days back. Brought out a lot of laughter.

    Amazing post!

  18. man that was good. It will be 2896 before i am done digesting all the cross-referencing and time line mixing.

    p.s: Madras’ subspacepolis of pondicherry..sprawl you know? 🙂

  19. Patta-Patti aka ‘Kodu potta undrawyer’ could feel missed out.. so I earnestly request the blogger to include it in his nextu rendition of the Sigh Fie Chen High clan (if at all one exists)… Otherwise, Patta-Patti could very well authorise this reader (worstufellow in twitter…jalabulajunx in blogspot) to do a BooriNazarification act againt the blogger…
    Pali ku pali… puli ku puli — Naanum Rowdy aakum!

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