Professor Madblood and the Lovelace Affair: January 31 – February 5, 2005

It took forever to assemble all the supercomputer performance terminology for this strip, and it’s probably all laughably outdated now. At least “petaflop” remains a funny word.

Dave is wearing sneakers with his suit. That’s…just sad, Dave.

There aren’t many times in Narbonic you see Dave with a big goony smile on his face, but this is one of them. It is a pretty cool computer.

I like it when Helen wears a lab coat over a cocktail dress. It’s so classy.

I don’t have much to say here except that the heart came from a font because I’m really bad at drawing hearts. Also, whenever I needed to make Dave look totally freaked out, I had to draw him in profile because it’s the only way you can see his damn eyes.

Dave looks very cute in this strip, though. At least he met Lovelace with his hair looking nice.

I spent a ridiculous amount of time thinking up ways Dave could disembowel himself using items found in a hotel room. I should have gone with “complementary copy of USA Today.”

This whole scene in Madblood’s hotel room probably goes on longer than it should, but what the hell. At least I got in a lot of drawings of Dave looking cute.

Madblood’s thing for Jennifer Connelly never stops being funny, I don’t care what you say. Anyway, I’ve now successfully gotten Dave out of the hotel room so the ladies can talk. Man, was that hard.

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32 thoughts on “Professor Madblood and the Lovelace Affair: January 31 – February 5, 2005

  1. Sneakers with a suit isn’t sad, it’s Doctor chic!

    Of course, this was before that, so I suppose it still counted as sad at that point.

  2. Actually, she was only surpased (as a publically-announced single system) in the past 7 months by a Japanese computer that hit 8162 and 8 petaflops. And that computer has 68000 CPUs (that’s a quantity, not a Motorola part number) and probably doesn’t get out much. On the other hand, there are now a bunch of ~1 petaflops systems, but they don’t do that well on LINPACK. Watson, incidentally, has 8% of her floating point speed and 5% of her LINPACK score.

  3. I accidentally walked in to the supercomputer center at Los Alamos in 1992, it was pretty awesome, full of Connection Machines.  (Their sign to the museum was unclear)

  4. i love the comic-book-tech implication that mad sceince can perform quantum computing using just sufficently fast computers…instead of dedicated physical processing units like are available in real life now. more signs that daves innate maddness is manifesting?

  5. (TUNE: “You Are Woman, I Am Man”, Jule Styne & Bob Merrill)

    She’s machine, and he is man!
    He’s organic, she’s mechanics in a can!
    Do their feelings give them fits?
    Do they want ’em?  Quantum bits or naughty bits?
    Dave thinks her design is tops!
    Such computing,
    Executing petaflops!
    Now, to sapience, the threshold she’s crossed …
    Tell the cupcake in the coat,
    “Get lost!”

  6. @Mark Temple: Strictly-speaking, any computer can handle quantum computations; it’s just a matter of how long it takes them to resolve the possibilities. A sufficiently-fast and highly-parallel computer like Lovelace actually could make a pretty good dent into emulating qubits computationally, although of course it would still take a while to handle any single 64-qubit operation (which is pretty much the lower end of what quantum computation is useful for).

    Someday I want to see a Monte Carlo simulation of quantum electrodynamics used to do do ultra-realistic photorealistic rendering. Then I want to pit it against a quantum simulation used to make the same scene. (The latter is a fancy way to say “build a model and photograph it.”)

  7. yes you can run quantum computation emulation using convetional computers of sufficent power..but the best way to do it is to use actual quantum mechanical processors. they produce the same results faster, and with much more compact hardware. for example, the 128 qubit D-wave system recently sold to lockheed martin: ,

    but dave talks about handling qubits in a fashion that implies the computer would not be just running an emulation. something you need actual quantum processors to do.

  8. tune: “I’m looking through you,” John Lennon & Paul McCartney (The Beatles, Rubber Soul, 1965)

    Jump to conclusions
    That’s what I’ll do
    Keep my illusions
    That you’re human, too
    I think you’re Madblood, so I’m depressed
    And now I’m failing
    The Turing test

    I was just hugging
    Your shining face
    But I can’t admit that
    You’re my Lovelace
    Won’t recognize you
    Won’t let myself see
    You’re a real AI, not
    My fantasy

    Why can’t you be Jennifer Connelly?
    If you’re not her, you’re Madblood, playing some mean prank on me

    Two women love me
    Here in this room
    I can only think of
    Mr. Von Boom
    Caught up in the hominid paradigm
    Jumping to conclusions
    What a doofus I’m!

  9. I think you’re reading a lot more into the statement “it’s this far from handling quantum bits!” than I am.

    Also, wow, I didn’t realize there were stable 128-qubit processors out there yet! The last time I looked into this stuff they were still having trouble keeping two qubits from collapsing. Although those articles indicate that this is a much weaker use of the term “quantum computing” than what is implied by such, in that it’s using quantum states for conventional bit storage, as opposed to superpositional qubits to do the more traditional let-observation-of-the-wave-function-solve-the-NP-hard-problem problem-solving.

  10. (TUNE: “I Need A Lover”, John Mellencamp)

    I found my lover and though it was Madblood!
    I found my lover and though it was Madblood!
    I found my lover and though it was Madblood!
    My fantasy’s a travesty, and
    I’m feeling sad, bud!

    Well, I’ve been talking to Lovelace online,
    And now I’m closer than ever before!
    Her voice is smooth, her mind is oh-so-fine,
    Now she’s on this floor, right behind this door!

    I see the luggage, there’s only one set,
    And I’m feeling a sense of confusion …
    Then all at once, a funny feeling I get,
    And I make a jump to the completely wrong conclusion!

    I found my lover and though it was Madblood!
    I came here looking for my love, Lovelace!
    I found my lover and though it was Madblood,
    Don’t know she’s staring me
    Right in the face!

  11. tune: “Help!,” John Lennon & Paul McCartney (The Beatles, Help!, 1965)

    Help! Restore my honor
    Help! Because I’m a goner
    Help! And I’m an organ donor

    When I thought Lovelace was a smart and sexy girl
    You helped me sneak into her room, to give romance a whirl
    But she’s just Madblood, and I feel like such an ass
    So grab a towel, I’ll disembowel
    Me with this water glass

    Help, I can’t go on, I feel like s**t
    And it’s now hara kiri I must commit
    Lop my head off, then write my obit
    My online girlfriend’s a he!
    Help me, help me (Arrgh!)

  12. Thursday:

    This is a pretty good episode, especially since it’s one character talking to the right panel border. In some sense, being off-panel only makes Dave appear even more pathetic in this situation.

  13. These days all you get is a plastic wrapped paper cup, so the “complimentary copy of USA Today” isn’t that far off the mark….

  14. Kay Gilber:  Hey, anyone who dies in Helen’s vicinity is gonna be an organ donor! “Waste not, want not!”

  15. tune: “Man smart (woman smarter),” Norman Span (Harry Belafonte, Calypso, 1956)

    Dave feels dirty, ’cause he thinks that Lovelace
    Is that nemesis guy
    Helen isn’t such a fool
    She sees through the ruse, talks to the AI

    Let Dave sulk
    Helen knows the score
    Sen-ti-ent computer is Dave’s paramour
    Sees the truth before her, plain as day
    She’s smarter than Dave in every way

    That’s right! Helen is smarter
    That’s right! Helen is smarter
    That’s right! Helen is smarter
    Helen is smarter
    That’s right!

  16. Saturday:

    They’re always geniuses, Lovelace. That’s what makes them so infuriating to work with.

    The only thing I have left to say is that Dave is definitely shelving the Gerbil Hypothesis too early. He hasn’t even searched Madblood’s luggage for stray alfalfa shreds.

  17. (TUNE: “The Crying Game”, Geoff Stephens, 1964)

    Dave believes that he’s found out about his Lovelace love!
    He’s gonna pout … ’bout his Lovelace love!
    First there was romance … then there was hope …
    Found she was fake,
    A shower he’ll take
    With plenty of soap!

    Jumping to conclusions who had faked his Lovelace love …
    He never knew … who he’s in front of!
    But Helen sees her … yes, she can tell!
    Knew in her heart,
    ‘Cause she’s really smart
    And evil as well!

  18. @SamDaniel. Wouldn’t surprize me; Madblood would put a lock on his AI (which is what he has to show the other geniuses) until the presentation.

    But I think she was being silent before because Helen was listening; the last thing she wanted was to attract a mad genius’s attention.

    Then the GIGO hit the shredder in about a panel, and Lovelace was too shy, and too uncertain about her model of Dave, to know what to say. She only had about a minute before Dave stalked out, and he kept giving her more data to deal with.

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