Ontonix: Model-free methods – a new frontier of science


I thought it worthwhile revisiting this piece by Dr Jacek Marczyk, (Founder & CTO of Ontonix Srl.) as it tied-in with some of my recent thoughts regarding “complexity paralysis”, procrastination and belief systems.

When we make decisions or when we think our brain does not use any equations or math models. Our behaviour is fruit of certain hard-wired instincts and experience that is acquired during our lives and stored as patterns (or attractors). We sort of “feel the answer” to problems no matter how complex they may seem but without actually computing the answer. How can that be? How can a person (not to mention an animal) who has no clue of mathematics still be capable of performing fantastically complex functions? Why doesn’t a brain, with its immense memory and computational power, store some basic equations and formulae and use them when we need to make a decision? Theoretically this could be perfectly feasible. One could learn equations and techniques and store them in memory for better and more sophisticated decision-making. We all know that in reality things don’t work like that. So how do they work? What mechanisms does a brain use if it is not math models? In reality the brain uses model-free methods. In Nature there is nobody to architecture a model for you. There is no mathematics in Nature. Mathematics and math models are an artificial invention of man.  Nature doesn’t need to resort to equations or other analytical artefacts. These have been invented by man but this doesn’t mean that they really do exist. As Heisenberg put it, what we see is not Nature but Nature exposed to our way of questioning her. If we discover that “F = M * a” that doesn’t mean that Nature actually  computes this relationship each time a mass is accelerated. The relationship simply holds (until somebody disproves it). Read more of this post

Complexity – Economics – Risk: A Brave Army of Heretics


I have said before that complexity certainly isn’t a “new concept” it is just that our understanding of the subject has grown in the last 30 years…and accelerated within the last 10.

At Ontonix we are proud of the level of understanding that we have brought to the subject. Although, widespread recognition has, thus far, eluded us (more specifically, our Founder, Dr Jacek Marczyk). For Jacek and his original team it has been a journey with some recognition along the way. The fact is that, despite some significant success and some major clients, we are still in relatively early days when it comes to practical applications in the Financial Sector where, we believe (and events of the last few years confirm), there is an enormous and pressing need.

Galileo had his critics too!It is easy to challenge “conventional wisdom” based upon the facts but, as history shows us, change can be vehemently resisted when it comes up against entrenched “belief systems”…particularly when such change presents itself as a threat to those for whom power and wealth (individually and collectively) has derived from their “mastery” of the civilized world as we have come to recognise it.

This brings to mind the recent passing of “heretic”, Benoit Mandelbrot whose critique of the “efficient markets” hypothesis over 40 years ago was dismissed. Not the first clever guy to suffer for the truth!

Slowly, very slowly, the message is coming together. Thanks, in the main, to the very tools that allow me to write and distribute my own thoughts…WOW! The following extract contains a link to a very interesting presentation from Prof Andrew Lo “Physics Envy” and the following article “Back to Nature” further illustrate the convergence of  disciplines.

Andrew Lo’s reference to inter-disciplinary: Mathematics – Physics – Chemistry – Biology – Economics – History – Philosophy – Religion, as aligned to fields of knowledge in his “Spectrum of uncertainty”, indicate to me that there is something fundamental that is being overlooked. Common in each of the above as well as Sociology, Anthropology and, due to global inter-connectedness, every aspect of modern life. COMPLEXITY. After all each discipline, and I am sure there will be more that I have not even referenced, relate to differing aspects of the ecosystem within which we exist and without which we could not.

Our work at Ontonix is the gauntlet that has been thrown down in front of a host of “celebrated Academics” and the “wise men” of the Financial Sector! We are the only organisation able to offer a clear, verifiable, definition as well as a means of measuring – 100% quantitative, objective and model-free – the complexity of a dynamic system.

Despite this breakthrough we fully understand why the author of this article (which is certainly for the serious scholar) chose the title A Brave Army of Heretics and it ties-in rather well with a blog from February this year:

The case for “Complexity Analysis”: Blind faith, Greek philosophy and risk