Science | Physics

Is the world simulated like in the Matrix movie? Probably not. (Photo by Markus Spiske)

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

BigQuery is great, but how can it handle tables with many columns? Especially when we don’t even know how many columns there are? (Photo Credit: Ilse Orsel)

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? …

Can a (Schrödinger’s) cat in a box be both dead and alive? Common sense says no, and the Consistent Histories Interpretation elaborates how this works (credit: Gerd Altmann)

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 query using Materialized View! (Photo by Nana Smirnova on Unsplash)

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…

The irreversibility of time is ubiquitous, but it’s not so obvious why that has to be the case (Photo by Aron Visuals)

“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. …

During the presentation of the discovery of a “Higgs-like boson” (Credit: CERN Photo, Maximilien Brice, Laurent Egli)

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 and run computations for FREE! (Credit: Amit Lahav)

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.

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. …

Tim Lou, PhD

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

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