Science | Physics

Describing reality as a simulation vastly understates the complexities of our world. Here’s why the simulation hypothesis is a lousy one

With the advent of artificial intelligence, and ever-increasing computational power, it seems like there’s no limit to what computers can do. From hyper-realistic 3D rendering to deepfake images and videos (e.g., thispersondoesnotexist), the possibility of fully simulating reality seems to be right around the corner.

All these advances have generated…

Making Sense of Big Data

How can we use BigQuery to handle tables with many columns? Here’s a how using scripting and table metadata.

BigQuery (BQ) is a Petabyte-ready proprietary Google data warehouse product. Pretty much every day in my work, I use BQ to process billions of rows of data. But sometimes, tricky situations arise. For example, what if my table has a large number of rows and columns? …

Quantum physics doesn’t have to be weird. Here, we explore a modern and intuitive interpretation of how quantum systems really work.

The word “quantum” is often associated with complicated equations and unintuitive physical phenomena. Yet, our world is unapologetically quantum; quantum physics governs all that exists in the Universe. …

Learn how to supercharge your aggregation queries using Materialized View

BigQuery (BQ) is Google’s proprietary data warehouse product, advertised to be ready at the PetaByte (PB) scale. However, it’s not immediately obvious how to scale to PB. In fact, looking at the cost structure of BQ ($5/TB), running PB-scale analytics seems prohibitively expensive, as querying 1PB of data will quickly…

Many people think the arrow of time can be explained by the increase of entropy; but that’s inadequate. We’ll explore why.

“An inch of time is an inch of gold”: The transience of time has been known since time immemorial. Unlike trekking across an open plain or diving into the ocean’s depths, one can neither explore around nor remain stationary in time. …

The story of discovery from the perspective of a physicist in training.

I can still vividly recall the events of July 4th, 2012. The alarm clock woke me up around 3 a.m. I was slightly groggy, but I quickly collected myself, remembering the significance of the moment.

I was still a graduate student at Princeton at the time. There was a celebration…

Unlike slot machines, BigQuery lets you generate random numbers for FREE! Here’s how to leverage this to perform free computations

BigQuery provides a convenient and cheap serverless framework to run data analytics and algorithms at scale (you can sign-up for a free account here). However, its SQL frontend might seem like a rather stringent constraint.

No worries, there is a hack out of this: custom User-Defined Functions (UDFs) in Javascript.

Entropy is often treated as synonymous to chaos and disorder. But what is it really? In this article, we explore how entropy is more about ignorances.

From the “invisible force” to the “harbinger of chaos,” you may have heard quite a few sensational phrases describing entropy.

But what is it really? The equations—frequently misunderstood—tell a more humbling story.

In many cases, entropy doesn’t capture anything particularly deep about a physical system. …

Learn how to create multiple tables (concatenated) in one query

Learn how to create concatenated tables in BigQuery

BigQuery (BQ) has become a popular way of managing large databases and running ad-hoc queries. BQ can be very cost-efficient, as it charges by the amount of data queried ($5/TB), and not the amount of computation time. …

Tim Lou, PhD

Data Scientist @ LiveRamp | ex Particle Physics Postdoc @ Berkeley | Podcast host @

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store