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Thread: Quantifying information and experts' knowledge

  1. #1 Quantifying information and experts' knowledge 
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    Hello all,

    This is my first post here.

    I would need several hard-to-find information for my project and would be grateful to anyone that could point me to the direction of papers that could contain such information or provide those info directly.

    First, speaking about long-established science fields like mythematics, chemistry, sociology, etc. (or their subdisciplines), what is the approximate quantity of knowledge information currently reached in those fields (in bits or bytes)?

    Second, how big is the quantity of information that an expert in a specific field has stored in his/her brain?

    I'm fully aware that the precise quantification is impossible. What I look for are approximations, like that of Georges Anderla, who took all the human knowledge in the year 1 AD as a unit and then made a study of the estimated decrease in the time necessary for it doubling, but I need similar data specified across particular scientific disciplines.

    Now, I must presume that the quantity of facts stored in an individual's memory doesn't change much with time and progress (Thomas Landauer made a nice study about the estimate of "bits in the brain" used for storing learned facts and came up with 10**9 bits) so, as the scope of the knowledge broadens, an expert will hold in his memory the ever diminishing percentage of the whole quantity of knowledge in his specialized field.

    I would like to know some estimated figures (not necessarily the newest ones, in fact, the historic ones would be very useful for comparison), I'm sure they must exist somewhere.

    Thank you very much in advance,
    Hrvoje


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  3. #2  
    Forum Ph.D.
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    I very sincerely doubt such information exists.

    In any case what do u quantify as information and what as a skill.
    Is a mathematicians ability measured as knowledge or is it their ability to calculate?

    The same would go for any leading expert in their field as they would be expected to be innovative and further their field.
    And in doing so does every thought they think of qualify as information? Or only that which is published? And how would you quantify the amount of knowledge in an academic paper? Word by word? Or the overall concept in one sentence?

    Do you see why this would not be something desired to be measured? What would such a measurement achieve anyway?


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  4. #3  
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    There is a method that is able to quantify information, it's not the issue.
    I agree that my question *might* only get an answer in the fields that are mostly based on given data and less on experimental or intuituve work, like history.

    Again, I don't seek for exact numbers but for approximate orders of magnitudes, I think something like that could be estimated and quantified.

    Like in the following example (the numbers are fully arbitrary for the sake of this example):

    "10 most significant world historic institutions have the libraries with 10**5 different volumes (different translations are not important and two works in different languages are considered one and the same work) containing in total 10**15 bits of information.

    Those knowledge represents the vast majority of the facts that historiography in the world (bar the special projects that could be deemed sub-disciplines) uses and most historians would rarely have to venture far outside those information.

    Now, a good historian had, during his lifetime, memorized 10**8 out of those 10*15."

    This is the type of information I need, I would need a study that would put the "real" numbers instead of those I arbitrary inserted.

    Thanks,
    Hrvoje
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