A ‘fairly accurate’ rendering of Minoan Linear A tablet HT 86a, according to Gretchen Leonhardt: This Linear B tablet clearly deals with various crops, with the lead in crop being grains or wheat, just as one would expect on either a Mycenaean Linear B tablet. By the same token, there is no reason to suppose that a Minoan Linear A tablet dealing with crops would not deal first and foremost with grains and wheat. The units of measurements identified on this tablet accord with those tentatively tabulated by Andras Zeke on the Ms. Gretchen Leonhardt of has duly advised me that (and I quote) “your "recto" tablet is a fairly accurate rendering of HT 86a, but your "verso" tablet is an inaccurate rendering of HT 87.... ” She is of course entirely correct in informing me that the so-called verso side is not the same tablet at all, but is in fact, HT 87 (Haghia Triada). I am nevertheless astonished that she would accord me a fair degree of accuracy in my decipherment of HT 86 a, in view of the fact that (a) I do not even know what the Minoan language is; (b) Ms. Leonhardt claims to have conclusively deciphered the Minoan language as being proto-Japanese, categorically stating as she does that “overwhelming evidence keeps me steadfast in this view...”, a claim which I intend shortly to refute in no uncertain terms, by bringing to bear on it reasonable circumstantial, though not conclusive, evidence to the contrary and; (c) she concedes that my decipherment of HT 86 A is fairly accurate, in spite of the fact that I am apparently flailing in the dark, since I know nothing of the Minoan language. Yet if I am, how on earth did I manage to achieve even a fairly accurate decipherment, I have to ask her. Although Ms. Leonhardt claims that my knowledge of Linear A is “in its infancy” (as everyone’s, including her own, must of necessity be), as a historical philologist specializing in the decipherment of ancient syllabaries such as Linear A, Linear B and Linear C, and unlike Ms. Leonhardt along with numerous other researchers who purport to have definitely deciphered the Minoan language, I neither have ever made nor would ever make the rash and untenable claim that I have deciphered it, given the exiguous size of the lexical database with which we have to work. I have said as much over and over, as for instance in this citation from one of my own works to be published in the next year or so, and I quote: Conclusions concerning the many failed attempts at deciphering Minoan Linear A: The worst of all the pretensions of the authors of the aforementioned monographs and tractata are their untenable claims that they have in fact deciphered Minoan Linear A. How is it even remotely possible that these soi- disant decipherers of Minoan Linear A can claim to have discovered the so-called magic bullet in the guise of the proto-language upon which their decipherment has been based, when the proto-languages they invoke are soà wildly disparate? These decipherers have turned to a number of proto-languages, some of them Indo-European (such as proto-Greek and Proto-Slavic), others non proto-Indo-European, running the gamut from Uralic (proto-Finnish), proto-Niger Congo to proto-Semitic and Sumerian all the way through to proto-Altaic and proto-Japanese. While it is patently impossible that all of these proto-languages could be at the base of the Minoan language, it is nevertheless remotely conceivable that one of them just might be. But which one? Given the tangled mass of contradictions these so-called decipherments land us in, I am left with no alternative but to pronounce that none of these so-called proto-languages is liable to stand the test of linguistic verisimilitude. All of this leaves me with an uneasy feeling of déjà vu. Instead, I have adopted the unique approach of declaring that it does not matter what proto- language Minoan derives from, or for that matter, whether or not it, like modern Basque, is a language isolate, meaning a natural (spoken) language, ancient (dead) or modern (alive) with no demonstrable genealogical or genetic relationship with any other language whatsoever or alternatively, a language that has not been demonstrated to descend from an ancestor common with any other language in the world. (italics mine). and again: In an article of this nature, which is the first of its kind in the world ever to deal with the partial, but by no means definitive, decipherment of Minoan Linear A, I must of necessity focus on those Minoan Linear A terms which offer the greatest insight into the vocabulary of the language, but not the language itself. Anyone who dares claim he or she has “deciphered” the Minoan language is skating on very thin ice. Any attempt to decipher the Minoan language is severely trammelled by the incontestable fact that no one knows what the language is or even what language class it belongs to, if any.
Tag Archive: undecipherable
“Can quantum computers assist in the decipherment of Minoan Linear A?” Keynote article on academia.edu (Click on the graphical link below to download this ground-breaking article on the application of potentially superintelligent quantum quantum computers to the decipherment, even partial, of the ancient Minoan Linear A syllabary): This is a major new article on the application of quantum computers to the AI (artificial intelligence) involvement in the decipherment of the unknown ancient Minoan Linear A syllabary (ca. 2800 – 1500 BCE). This article advances the hypothesis that quantum computers such as the world’s very first fully functional quantum computer, D-Wave, of Vancouver, B.C., Canada, may very well be positioned to assist human beings in the decipherment, even partial, of the Minoan Linear A syllabary. This article goes to great lengths in explaining how quantum computers can expedite the decipherment of Minoan Linear A. It addresses the critical questions raised by Nick Bostrom, in his ground-breaking study, Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies (Oxford University Press, 2014), in which he advances the following hypothesis: Nick Bostrom makes it clear that artificial superintelligence (AS) does not necessarily have to conform to or mimic human intelligence. For instance, he says: 1. We have already cautioned against anthropomorphizing the capabilities of a superintelligent AI. The warning should be extend to pertain to its motivations as well. (pg 105) and again, 2. This possibility is most salient with respect to AI, which might be structured very differently than human intelligence. (pg. 172) ... passim ... It is conceivable that optimal efficiency would be attained by grouping aggregates that roughly match the cognitive architecture of a human mind. It might be the case, for example, that a mathematics module must be tailored to a language module, in order for the three to work together... passim ... There might be niches for complexes that are either less complex (such as individual modules), more complex (such as vast clusters of modules), or of similar complexity to human minds but with radically different architectures. ... among others respecting the probable advent of superintelligence within the next 20-40 years (2040-2060). This is a revolutionary article you will definitely not want to miss reading, if you are in any substantial way fascinated by the application of supercomputers and preeminently, quantum computers, which excel at lightning speed pattern recognition, which they can do so across templates of patterns in the same domain, to the decipherment of Minoan Linear A, an advanced technological endeavour which satisfies these scientific criteria. In the case of pattern recognition across multiple languages, ancient and modern, in other words in cross-comparative multi-language analysis, the astonishing capacity of quantum computers to perform this operation in mere seconds is an exceptional windfall we simply cannot afford not to take full advantage of. Surely quantum computers’ mind-boggling lightning speed capacity to perform such cross-comparative multi-linguistic analysis is a boon beyond our wildest expectations.
KEY POST! The truly formidable obstacles facing us in even a partial decipherment of Minoan Linear A: Any attempt, however concerted, at even a partial decipherment of Minoan Linear A is bound to meet with tremendous obstacles, as illustrated all too dramatically by this table: These obstacles include, but are not prescribed by: 1. The fact that there are far fewer extant Minoan Linear A tablets and fragments, of which the vast majority are mere fragments (no more than 500), most of them un intelligible, than there are extant tablets and fragments in Mycenaean Linear B (well in excess of 4,500), of which the latter are mostly legible, even the fragments. 2. The fact that Mycenaean Linear B has been completely deciphered, first by Michael Ventris in 1952 and secondly, by myself in closing the last gap in the decipherment of Mycenaean Linear B, namely, the decipherment of supersyllabograms in my article, “The Decipherment of Supersyllabograms in Linear B”, in the illustrious international archaeological annual, Archaeology and Science, ISSN 1452-7448, Vol. 11 (2015), pp. 73-108, here: This final stage in the decipherment of Mycenaean Linear B has effectively brought closure to its decipherment. As illustrated all too conspicuously by this table of apparent roots/stems and/or prefixes of Minoan Linear A lexemes and their lemmas, we are still a long way off from being able to convincingly decipher Minoan Linear A. At the categorical sub-levels of the syntax and semiotics of Minoan Linear A, we cannot even begin to determine which categories to isolate, let alone what these categories are. Allow me to illustrate in discriminative terms: 3. As the table of Minoan Linear A so-called roots & stems + prefixes above all too amply highlights, we cannot even tell which first syllable or which of the first 2 syllables of any of the Minoan Linear A words in this list is/are either (a) roots or stems of the Minoan Linear A lexemes or lemmas which it/they initiate or (b) prefixes of them, even if I have tentatively identified some as the former and some as the latter (See the table). 4. In the case of roots or stems, which ones are roots and which are stems? What is the difference between the two in Minoan Linear A? Let us take a couple of entries as examples to illustrate my point: 4.1 The 3 words beginning with the apparent root or stem asi, (I cannot tell which is which), the first 2 syllables of asidatoi, asijaka & asikira may not even be roots or stems of these words at all, but prefixes of 3 probably unrelated words instead. Who is to know? 4.2 If asidatoi, asijaka & asikira are either nouns or adjectives, what is the gender and number of each one? To say the very least, it is rash to assume that asidatoi is plural, just because it looks like an ancient Greek masculine plural (as for example in Mycenaean Linear B teoi (gods) or masculine plurals in any other ancient Greek dialect for that matter, since that assumption is based on the most likely untenable hypothesis that Minoan Linear A is some form of proto-Greek, in spite of the fact that several current linguistic researchers into Minoan Linear A believe precisely that. The operative word is “believe”, since absolutely no convincing circumstantial evidence has ever come to the fore that Minoan Linear A is some form of proto-Greek. 4.3 The conclusion which I have drawn here, that Minoan Linear A may not be proto-Greek, arises from the fact that almost all of the Minoan words in this table bear little or no resemblance at all even to Mycenaean Greek. 4.5 But there clearly exceptions to the previous hypothesis, these being words such as depa and depu, of which the former is a perfect match with the Homeric, depa, meaning “a cup”. On the other hand, depu is less certain. However, in my preliminary tentative decipherment of 107 Minoan Linear A words (which are to appear in my article to be published in Vol. 12 of Archaeology and Science, 2017-2018), I have come to the tentative conclusion that the ultimate u in almost all Minoan Linear A words is quite likely to be a macro designator. If this were so, depu would be larger than depa. So a translation along the lines of  “a large cup” or “a libation cup” might be in order. Still, I could be dead wrong in this assumption. 4.6 However, the lexeme depa does appear to reveal one probable characteristic of Minoan Linear A grammar, that the ultimate for the feminine singular may very well be a, as in so many other languages, ancient or modern (let alone Greek). If that is the case, then words such as asijaka, asikira, keta, kipa, saja, sina and tamia may possibly all be feminine singular... that is to say, if any, some or even all of them are either nouns or adjectives, clearly a point of contention in and of itself. Who are we to say that one or more of these words may instead be adverbs or some person, singular or plural, of some conjugation in some tense or mood of some Minoan Linear A verb? On the other hand, at least one or more or even most of these words and the other words in this table ending in a may be nouns or adjectives in the feminine singular. But one again, who can say at all for sure? 4.7 If the ultimate u is supposed to be a macro designator, how then are we to account for the fact that  maruku, which very much looks like a (declensional) variant of maru, means “made of wool”, which itself has nothing whatsoever to do with a macro designator, if at the same time the apparent lexeme maru actually does mean “wool”? After all, one might conclude, maru looks a lot like Mycenaean Linear B mari or mare, which as everyone knows, does mean “wool”. But it is just as likely as not that the assumption that maru means “wool”, and its variants maruku “made of wool” ? (a guess at best) and maruri = “with wool” have nothing whatsoever to do with wool in Minoan Linear A. 4.8 In fact, the hypothesis that maruri = “with wool” is based on yet another assumption, namely, that the termination ri is dative singular, similar to the commonplace dative singular oi, ai or i in Mycenaean Linear B. But if that is the case, this implies that Minoan Linear A is probably proto-Greek, for which there is no substantive evidence whatsoever. So we wind up mired in a flat out contradiction in terms, in other words, an inescapable paradox. 4.9a Next, taking all of the words beginning with the root or stem? - or prefix? sina , what on earth are we to make of so many variants? Perhaps this is a conjugation of some verb in some tense or mood. If that is the case, we should expect 6 variations, first, second and third persons singular and plural. Or should we? What about the possible existence of the dual in Minoan Linear A? But here again we find ourselves smack up against the assumption we have just made in 4.5, 4.6, 4.7 & 4.8, that the putative Minoan verb beginning with the so-called root or stem sina is itself proto-Greek. But I have to ask out loud, are you aware of any verb in ancient Greek which begins with the root or stem sina? Well, according to Liddell & Scott’s Greek-English Lexicon, there are in fact 2, which I have Latinized here for ease of access to those of you who cannot read Greek, and these are, (1) sinamoreo (infinitive sinamorein), which means “to damage wantonly” and (2) sinomai, “to plunder, spoil or pillage”. The problem is that neither of these ancient Greek verbs bears any resemblance to or corresponds in any conceivable way with the 7 Minoan Linear A variants post-fixed to sina. So I repeat, for the sake of emphasis, are these 7 all variants on some Minoan Linear A verb or are they not? 4.9b What if on the other hand, all 7 of these variants post-fixed to sina are instead a declension of some Minoan noun or adjective in Linear A? It is certainly conceivable that there are 7 cases in the Minoan language, in view of the fact that plenty of ancient and modern languages have 7 cases or more. Latin has six: nominative, genitive, dative, accusative, ablative and vocative. But ancient Greek has only 5, nominative, genitive, dative and accusative and vocative, the ablative absolute (which occurs in Latin) subsumed under the genitive absolute. From this perspective, it would appear quite unlikely that the 7 Minoan Linear A variants on sina are proto-Greek declensions, especially in light of the fact that, once again, none of them bears any resemblance to the ancient Greek, sinapi = “mustard”, sinion = “sieve” or sinos = “hurt, harm, mischief, damage” (nominative). 5. Moving on to taniria and tanirizui , we could of course once again draw the (most likely untenable) conclusion if taniria is a feminine singular noun, then tanirizui must be/is dative singular, following the template for the dative singular in Mycenaean Linear B (i, ai or oi). But once again, there is no word in ancient Greek bearing any resemblance to these critters. And once again, even if Minoan Linear A had a dative singular, why on earth would it have to end in i? 6. However, when we come to the 4 words reza, adureza, kireza and tireza, we are confronted with another phenomenon. 3 of these 4 words (adureza, kireza and tireza) each in turn apparently are prefixed by adu, ki and ti. Makes sense at first sight. However, once again, appearances can be terribly deceiving. Nevertheless, in my preliminary decipherment of Minoan Linear A, I have drawn the tentative conclusion that all four of these words are intimately interconnected. And in the actual context of the few extant Minoan Linear A tablets and fragments in which these 4 terms appear, it very much looks as if they are all terms of measurement. But you will have to await the publication of my article on the tentative decipherment of 107 Minoan Linear A words in Vol. 12 (2017-2018) of Archaeology and Science to discover how I came to this conclusion. 7. Notwithstanding the fact that almost all of the words in this highly selective table of Minoan Linear A lexemes and lemmas (whichever ones are which), with the exception of depa and depu, as well as winu, which may be the Minoan Linear A equivalent of Mycenaean Linear B woino = “wine”, appear not to be proto-Greek, that does not imply that at least a few or even some are in fact proto-Greek, based on this hypothesis: a number of words in Mycenaean Linear B, all of which appear to be proto-Greek, disappeared completely from later ancient Greek dialects. Among these we count a number of Mycenaean Greek words designating some kind of cloth, namely, pawea, pukatariya, tetukowoa and wehano [pg. 94, The Decipherment of Supersyllabograms in Linear B, in Archaeology and Science, Vol. 11 (2016)], plus several other Mycenaean Linear B words listed in the same article, which I do not repeat here due to space limitations. However, I must toss a wrench even into the assumption that the words designating some kinds of cloth (but which kinds we shall never know) are Mycenaean Linear B Greek or even proto-Greek, when they may not be at all! What if a few, some or all of them are in the pre-Greek substratum? If that is the case, are they Minoan, even if none of them appear on any extant Minoan Linear A tablet or fragment? Who is to say they are not? For instance, there is another so called Mycenaean or proto-Greek word, kidapa, which may very well mean “(ash) wood” or “a type of wood”, found only on Linear B tablet KN 894 N v 01. This word has a suspiciously Minoan ring to it. Just because it does not appear on any extant Minoan Linear A tablet or fragment does not necessarily imply that it is not Minoan or that it at least falls within the pre-Greek substratum. CONCLUSIONS: It must be glaringly obvious from all of the observations I have made on the Minoan Linear A terms in the table above that the more we try to make any sense of the syntactic and semiotic structure of the Minoan language in Linear A, the more and more mired we get in irresolvable contradictions in terms and paradoxes. Moreover, who is to say that the so-called proto-Greek words which surface in Minoan Linear A are proto-Greek at all, since they may instead be pre-Greek substratum words disguised as proto-Greek. We can take this hypothesis even further. Who is to say that the several so-called proto-Greek words we find in Mycenaean Greek, all of which disappeared completely from the ancient Greek lexicon in all Greek dialects after the fall of Mycenae ca. 1200 BCE, are also not proto-Greek but are instead in the pre-Greek substratum or even, if they fall into that substratum, that they are instead Minoan words or words of some other non Indo-European origin? We have landed in a real quagmire. So I find myself obliged to posit the hypothesis that, for the time being at least, any attempt at the putative decipherment of Minoan Linear A is inexorably bound to lead straight to a dead end. I challenge any philologists or linguist specializing in ancient languages to actually prove otherwise even with circumstantial evidence to the contrary.
Are there any proto-Greek words under the syllabogram NA in Minoan Linear A? It is doubtful. The 3 words of putative proto-Greek origin in Minoan Linear A I have flagged under the syllabogram NA are all doubtful. So I cannot in good conscience add them to the revised Glossary of Minoan Linear A words.
Is the Minoan Linear A labrys inscribed with I-DA-MA-TE in Minoan or in proto-Greek? PART A: Is it in the Minoan language? In my previous post on the Minoan Linear A labrys inscribed with I-DA-MA-TE, I postulated that the word Idamate was probably either the name of the king or of the high priestess (of the labyrinth?) to whom this labrys has been ritually dedicated. But in so doing I was taking the path of least resistance, by seeking out the two most simplistic decipherments which would be the least likely to prove troublesome or controversial. In retrospect, that was a cop-out. No sooner had I posted my two alternate simplistic translations than I was informed by a close colleague of mine in the field of diachronic historical linguistics focusing on Minoan Linear A and Mycenaean Linear B that at least two other alternative decipherments came into play, these being: 1. that the term Idamate may be the Minoan equivalent of the Mycenaean Linear B Damate, which is apparently an early version of the ancient Greek, Demeter, who was the goddess of cereals and harvesting: 2. that the term Idamate may be Minoan for Mount Ida, in which case, the word Mate = “mount”, such that the phrase actually spells out “Ida mount(ain)” : Since both of these decipherments make eminent sense, either could, at least theoretically, be correct. But there is a third alternative, and it is far more controversial and compelling than either of the first two. 3. It is even possible that the four syllabograms I DA MA & TE are in fact supersyllabograms, which is to say that each syllabogram is the first syllabogram, i.e. the first syllable of a word, presumably a Minoan word. But if these 4 supersyllabograms represent four consecutive Minoan words, what on earth could these words possibly signify, in light of the fact that we know next to nothing about the Minoan language. It appears we are caught in an irresolvable Catch-22. Yet my own recent research has allowed me to tease potential decipherments out of 107 or about 21 % of all intact words in Prof. John G. Younger’s Linear A lexicon of 510 terms by my own arbitrary count. Scanning this scanty glossary yielded me numerous variations on 3 terms which might conceivably make sense in at least one suppositious context. These terms (all of which I have tentatively deciphered) are: 1. For I: itaja = unit of liquid volume for olive oil (exact value unknown) 2. FOR DA: either: daropa = stirrup jar = Linear B karawere (high certainty) or datara = (sacred) grove of olive trees or data2 (datai) = olive, pl. date = Linear B erawo or datu = olive oil or daweda = medium size amphora with two handles 3. For TE: tereza = large unit of dry or liquid measurement or tesi = small unit of measurement But I cannot find any equivalent for MA other than maru, which seemingly means “wool”, even in Minoan Linear A, this being the apparent equivalent of Mycenaean Linear B mari or mare. The trouble is that this term (if that is what the third supersyllabogram in idamate stands in for) does not contextually mesh at all with any of the alternatives for the other three words symbolized by their respective supersyllabograms. But does that mean the phrase is not Minoan? Far from it. There are at least 2 cogent reasons for exercising extreme caution in jumping to the conclusion that the phrase cannot be in Minoan. These are: 1. that the decipherments of all of the alternative terms I have posited for the supersyllabograms I DA & TE above are all tentative, even if they are more than likely to be close to the mark and some of them probably bang on (for instance, daropa), which I believe they are; 2. that all 3 of the supersyllabograms I DA & TE may instead stand for entirely different Minoan words, none of which I have managed to decipher. And God knows there are plenty of them! Since I have managed to decipher only 107 of 510 extant intact Minoan Linear A words by my arbitrary count, that leaves 403 or 79 % undeciphered! That is far too great a figure to be blithely brushed aside. The > impact of combinations of a > number of Minoan Linear A words on their putative decipherment: To give you a rough idea of the number of undeciphered Minoan words beginning with I DA & TE I have not been able to account for, here we have a cross-section of just a few of those words from Prof. John G. Younger’s Linear A Reverse Lexicon: which are beyond my ken: For I: iininuni ijadi imetu irima itaki For DA: dadana daini daki daku daqaqa For MA: madadu majasa manuqa masuri For TE: tedatiqa tedekima tenamipi teneruda But the situation is far more complex than it appears at first sight. To give you just a notion of the enormous impact of exponential mathematical permutations and combinations on the potential for gross errors in any one of a substantial number of credible decipherments of any given number of Minoan Linear A terms as listed even in the small cross-section of the 100s of Minoan Words in Prof. John G. Younger’s Reverse Linear A Lexicon, all we have to do is relate the mathematical implications of the chart on permutations to any effort whatsoever at the decipherment of even a relatively small no. of Minoan Linear A words: CLICK on the chart of permutations to link to the URL where the discussion of both permutations and combinations occurs: to realize how blatantly obvious it is that any number of interpretations of any one of the selective cross-section of terms which I have listed here can be deemed the so-called actual term corresponding to the supersyllabogram which supposedly represents it. But, and I must emphatically stress my point, this is just a small cross-section of all of the terms in the Linear B Reverse Lexicon beginning with each of the supersyllabograms I DA MA & TE in turn. It is grossly obvious that, if we allow for the enormous number of permutations and combinations to which the supersyllabograms I DA MA & TE must categorically be subjected mathematically, it is quite out of the question to attempt any decipherment of these 4 supersyllabograms, I DA MA & TE, without taking context absolutely into consideration. And even in that eventuality, there is no guarantee whatsoever that any putative decipherment of each of these supersyllabograms (I DA MA & TE) in turn in the so-called Minoan language will actually hold water, since after all, a smaller, but still significant subset of an extremely large number of permutation and combinations must still remain incontestably in effect. The mathematics of the aforementioned equations simply stack up to a very substantial degree against any truly convincing decipherment of any single Minoan Linear A term, except for one small consideration (or as it turns out, not so small at all). As it so happens, and as we have posited in our first two alternative decipherments above, i.e. 1. that Idamate is Minoan for Mycenaean Damate, the probable equivalent of classical Greek Demeter, or 2. that Idamate actually means “Mount Ida”, these two possible decipherments which do make sense can be extrapolated from the supersyllabograms I DA MA & TE, at least if we take into account the Minoan Linear A terms beginning with I DA & TE (excluding TE), which I have managed, albeit tentatively, to decipher. However, far too many putative decipherments of the great majority of words in the Minoan language itself are at present conceivable, at least to my mind. Yet, this scenario is quite likely to change in the near future, given that I have already managed to tentatively decipher 107 or 21 % of 510 extant Minoan Linear A words, by my arbitrary count. It is entirely conceivable that under these circumstances I shall be able to decipher even more Minoan language words in the near future. In point of fact, if Idamate actually does mean either Idamate (i.e. Demeter) or Ida Mate (i.e. Mount Ida), then: (a) with only 2 possible interpretations for IDAMATE now taken into account, the number of combinations and permutations is greatly reduced to an almost insignificant amount & (b) the actual number of Minoan Linear A words I have deciphered to date rises from 107 to 108 (in a Boolean OR configuration, whereby we can add either “Demeter” or “Mount Ida” to our Lexicon, but not both). A baby step this may be, but a step forward regardless.
NOTA BENE! Quantum computing is already here! ... in 2017!... far far sooner than anyone had ever speculated or had even dreamed it could come into being! And it has staggering implications for huge advances in all branches of technology and the sciences! Dwave: the Quantum Computing Company (Click here): right here in Canada, no less, has just invented the first truly functional quantum computer. And the implications for the near, let alone the more distant, future of every branch of technology and for all of the sciences mankind is cognizant of are nothing short of staggering, indeed, dare I say, earth-shattering. What is a quantum computer? ALL ITALICS MINE To quote verbatim the D-Wave company's definition of quantum computing: A quantum computer taps directly into the fundamental fabric of reality — the strange and counter-intuitive world of quantum mechanics — to speed computation. Quantum Computation: Rather than store information as 0s or 1s as conventional computers do, a quantum computer uses qubits – which can be a 1 or a 0 or both at the same time. This “quantum superposition”, along with the quantum effects of entanglement and quantum tunnelling, enable quantum computers to consider and manipulate all combinations of bits simultaneously, making quantum computation powerful and fast. How D-Wave Systems Work: Quantum computing uses an entirely different approach than (sic: i.e. from) classical computing. A useful analogy is to think of a landscape with mountains and valleys. Solving optimization problems can be thought of as trying to find the lowest point on this landscape. (In quantum computers), every possible solution is mapped to coordinates on the landscape (all at the same time) , and the altitude of the landscape is the “energy’” or “cost” of the solution at that point. The aim is to find the lowest point on the map and read the coordinates, as this gives the lowest energy, or optimal solution to the problem. Classical computers running classical algorithms can only “walk over this landscape”. Quantum computers can tunnel through the landscape making it faster to find the lowest point. The D-Wave processor considers all the possibilities simultaneously to determine the lowest energy required to form those relationships. The computer returns many very good answers in a short amount of time - 10,000 answers in one second. This gives the user not only the optimal solution or a single answer, but also other alternatives to choose from. D-Wave systems use “quantum annealing” to solve problems. Quantum annealing “tunes” qubits from their superposition state to a classical state to return the set of answers scored to show the best solution. Programming D-Wave: To program the system a user maps their problem into this search for the lowest point. A user interfaces with the quantum computer by connecting to it over a network, as you would with a traditional computer (Comment by myself: This is one of the vital factors in the practical usefulness of the quantum computer). The user’s problems are sent to a server interface, which turns the optimization program into machine code to be programmed onto the chip. The system then executes a “quantum machine instruction” and the results are returned to the user. D-Wave systems are designed to be used in conjunction with classical computers, as a “quantum co-processor”. D-Wave’s flagship product, the 1000-qubit D-Wave 2X quantum computer, is the most advanced quantum computer in the world. It is based on a novel type of superconducting processor that uses quantum mechanics to massively accelerate computation. It is best suited to tackling complex optimization problems that exist across many domains such as: Optimization Machine Learning Pattern Recognition and Anomaly Detection Financial Analysis Software/Hardware Verification and Validation For the massive capabilities and the astounding specs of the D-Wave computer, Click on this link: Comment by myself: Apparently, the severest limitation of the quantum computer (at least the first generation represented by D-Wave) is that it can only function at the temperature of – 273 celsius, i.e. a mere 0.015 degrees celsius above absolute zero, 180 X colder than the coldest temperature in the universe. But this limitation is merely apparent. Some will have it that this severe restriction makes the machine impractical, since, as they believe, it cannot be networkeed. But nothing could be further from the truth. It can be networked, and it is networked. All that is required is an external link from the near-absolute zero internal configuration of a quantum computer to the external wiring or wireless communication at room temperature at its peripheral to connect it directly to one or more digital computer consoles, thereby allowing the user(s) to connect the quantum computer indirectly to, you got it, the world wide web. The implications of this real-world connectivity are simply staggering. Since the quantum computer, which is millions of times faster than the faster supercomputer in the world, it can directly feed its answers to any technological or scientific problem it can tackle at super-lightning speed to even personal computers, let alone the fastest supercomputers in existence! It instantly feeds its super-lightning calculations to the “terminal” computer and network (i.e. the Internet), thereby effectively making the latter (digital) system(s) virtually much more rapid than they actually are in reality, if you can wrap that one around your head. MORE ON THE NATURE OF QUANTUM COMPUTING: From this site: I quote, again verbatim: Whereas classical computers encode information as bits that can be in one of two states, 0 or 1, the ‘qubits’ that comprise quantum computers can be in ‘superpositions’ of both at once. This, together with qubits’ ability to share a quantum state called entanglement, should enable the computers to essentially perform many calculations at once (i.e. simultaneously). And the number of such calculations should, in principle, double for each additional qubit, leading to an exponential speed-up. This rapidity should allow quantum computers to perform certain tasks, such as searching large databases or factoring large numbers, which would be unfeasible for slower, classical computers. The machines could also be transformational as a research tool, performing quantum simulations that would enable chemists to understand reactions in unprecedented detail, or physicists to design materials that superconduct at room temperature. The team plans to achieve this using a ‘chaotic’ quantum algorithm that produces what looks like a random output. If the algorithm is run on a quantum computer made of relatively few qubits, a classical machine can predict its output. But once the quantum machine gets close to about 50 qubits, even the largest classical supercomputers will fail to keep pace, the team predicts. And yet again, from another major site: “Spooky action at a distance” is how Albert Einstein described one of the key principles of quantum mechanics: entanglement. Entanglement occurs when two particles become related such that they can coordinate their properties instantly even across a galaxy. Think of wormholes in space or Star Trek transporters that beam atoms to distant locations. Quantum mechanics posits other spooky things too: particles with a mysterious property called superposition, which allows them to have a value of one and zero at the same time; and particles’ ability to tunnel through barriers as if they were walking through a wall. All of this seems crazy, but it is how things operate at the atomic level: the laws of physics are different. Einstein was so skeptical about quantum entanglement that he wrote a paper in 1935 titled “Can quantum-mechanical description of physical reality be considered complete?” He argued that it was not possible. In this, Einstein has been proven wrong. Researchers recently accessed entangled information over a distance of 15 miles. They are making substantial progress in harnessing the power of quantum mechanics. Einstein was right, though, about the spookiness of all this. D-Wave says it has created the first scalable quantum computer. (D-Wave): Quantum mechanics is now being used to construct a new generation of computers that can solve the most complex scientific problems—and unlock every digital vault in the world. These will perform in seconds computations that would have taken conventional computers millions of years. They will enable better weather forecasting, financial analysis, logistical planning, search for Earth-like planets, and drug discovery. And they will compromise every bank record, private communication, and password on every computer in the world — because modern cryptography is based on encoding data in large combinations of numbers, and quantum computers can guess these numbers almost instantaneously. There is a race to build quantum computers, and (as far as we know) it isn’t the NSA that is in the lead. Competing are big tech companies such as IBM, Google, and Microsoft; start-ups; defence contractors; and universities. One Canadian start-up says that it has already developed a first version of a quantum computer. A physicist at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, Ronald Hanson, told Scientific American that he will be able to make the building blocks of a universal quantum computer in just five years, and a fully-functional demonstration machine in a little more than a decade. These will change the balance of power in business and cyber-warfare. They have profound national security implications, because they are the technology equivalent of a nuclear weapon. Let me first explain what a quantum computer is and where we are. In a classical computer, information is represented in bits, binary digits, each of which can be a 0 or 1. Because they only have only two values, long sequences of 0s and 1s are necessary to form a number or to do a calculation. A quantum bit (called a qubit), however, can hold a value of 0 or 1 or both values at the same time — a superposition denoted as “0+1.” The power of a quantum computer increases exponentially with the number of qubits. Rather than doing computations sequentially as classical computers do, quantum computers can solve problems by laying out all of the possibilities simultaneously and measuring the results. Imagine being able to open a combination lock by trying every possible number and sequence at the same time. Though the analogy isn’t perfect — because of the complexities in measuring the results of a quantum calculation — it gives you an idea of what is possible. Most researchers I have spoken to say that it is a matter of when — not whether — quantum computing will be practical. Some believe that this will be as soon as five years; others say 20 years. (ADDDENDUM by myself. WRONG! Not in 20 years, but right now. We have already invented the first functional quantum computer, the D-Wave (see above)). One Canada-based startup, D-Wave, says it has already has done it. Its chief executive, Vern Brownell, said to me in an e-mail that D-Wave Systems has created the first scalable quantum computer, with proven entanglement, and is now working on producing the best results possible for increasingly complex problems. He qualified this claim by stressing that their approach, called “adiabatic computing,” may not be able to solve every problem but has a broad variety of uses in optimizing computations; sampling; machine learning; and constraint satisfaction for commerce, national defence, and science. He says that the D-Wave is complementary to digital computers; a special-purpose computing resource designed for certain classes of problems. The D-Wave Two computer has 512 qubits and can, in theory, perform 2 raised to 512 operations simultaneously. That’s more calculations than there are atoms in the universe — by many orders of magnitude. Brownell says the company will soon be releasing a quantum processor with more than 1,000 qubits. He says that his computer won’t run Shor’s algorithm, an algorithm necessary for cryptography, but it has potential uses in image detection, logistics, protein mapping and folding, Monte Carlo simulations and financial modeling, oil exploration, and finding exoplanets (and allow me to add, in breaking the entire genome!) So quantum computers are already here in a limited form, and fully functional versions are on the way. They will be as transformative for mankind as were the mainframe computers, personal computers, and smartphones that we all use. As do all advancing technologies, they will also create new nightmares. The most worrisome development will be in cryptography. Developing new standards for protecting data won’t be easy. The RSA standards that are in common use each took five years to develop. Ralph Merkle, a pioneer of public-key cryptography, points out that the technology of public-key systems, because it is less well-known, will take longer to update than these — optimistically, ten years. And then there is a matter of implementation so that computer systems worldwide are protected. Without a particular sense of urgency or shortcuts, Merkle says, it could easily be 20 years before we’ve replaced all of the Internet’s present security-critical infrastructure. (ADDENDUM: I think not! It will happen far, far sooner than that! I predict possibly as early as 2020.) It is past time we began preparing for the spooky technology future we are rapidly heading into. Quantum computing represents the most staggering and the swiftest advancement of human hyperintelligence in the history of humankind, with the potential for unlocking some of the most arcane secrets of the universe itself. It signifies, not just a giant, but literally a quantum leap in human intelligence way, way beyond the pale. If we thought the Singularity was near before the advent of the quantum computer, what about now? Think about this, even for the merest split second, and you will blow your own mind! It certainly blew mine! Think of this too. What if one were to directly tap the human mind into a room temperature digital peripheral of a quantum computer? What then? I pretty much have a very good idea of what then! The staggering implications of quantum computing for the potential total decipherment of, not only Minoan Linear A, but of every other as yet undeciphered, unknown ancient language: In the next post, I shall expostulate the profound implications the advent of the quantum computer is bound to have on the decipherment of not only Minoan Linear A, but of every other as-yet unknown, and undeciphered, ancient language. I strongly suspect that we will now soon be able to crack Minoan Linear A, and several other unknown ancient languages to boot. And, trust me, I shall be one of the first historical linguists at the forefront of this now potentially attainable goal, which is now tantalizingly within our reach.
Cretan hieroglyphic seals (Middle Minoan I & II, ca. 2100-1700 BCE): On the first of these seals there appear 4 ideograms (?) which appear to be precursors of Minoan Linear A syllabograms, but there is no way of knowing whether or not this is the case.
Vase with Minoan Linear A inscription on it (undecipherable): There is simply insufficient text in the Minoan Linear A inscription just below the rim of this vase for me to be able to decipher it.
Cretulae with Linear (A?) script from Archanes, Minoan Crete, ca. 1500 BCE: I just discovered this highly unusual Linear (A?) tablet from Archanes, Crete, dated from ca. 1500 BCE. What makes it so unusual is the fact that there are 8 syllabograms and ideograms on it which I have never run across on any Minoan Linear A tablet. This raises the question, is this tablet in Linear A? And if the script is a bizarre variant of Linear A or is not Linear A at all, is it still in the Minoan language? At the present juncture in the partial decipherment of Minoan Linear A, this tablet falls way beyond the pale. I see no hope for its decipherment in the near to not so near future. But fascinating it surely is!
The principle of cross-correlative cohesion between Minoan Linear A & Mycenaean Linear B & logical fallacies: The principle of cross-correlative cohesion operates on the assumption that terms in Minoan Linear A vocabulary should reflect as closely and as faithfully as possible parallel terms in Mycenaean Greek vocabulary. In other words, the English translations of Minoan words in a Minoan Linear A Glossary such as this one should look as if they are English translations of Mycenaean Greek terms in a Linear B glossary. I have endeavoured to do my best to achieve this goal, but even the most rational and logical of approaches, such as I take, does not and cannot guarantee reciprocity between Minoan Linear A and Mycenaean Linear B terms. It is precisely for this reason that I have had to devise a scale of relative accuracy for terms in this Linear A Glossary, as outlined in KEY at the top of it. The KEY reads as follows: KEY: Minoan Linear A words deciphered with a very high level of certainty (75-100%) are in BOLD. Minoan Linear A words deciphered with a reasonable degree of certainty (60-75%) are in italics. Minoan Linear A words for which the decipherment is uncertain (< 50%) are in plain text. Now, according to the principle of cross-correlative cohesion between terms in Minoan Linear A and their (approximate) counterparts in Mycenaean Linear B, not only should the Minoan Linear A vocabulary exhibit an internal cohesion which appears to be parallel with the Mycenaean Linear B vocabulary with which it conceivably corresponds, but also this parallelism should make the cross-correlative or external cohesion between the Minoan Linear A and the Mycenaean Linear B appear even more closely knit. Examining the chart above, The principle of cross-correlative cohesion between Minoan Linear A & Mycenaean Linear B vocabulary, it appears, at first glance, that the parallelism is intact. But appearances can be and usually are, deceptive. Unless any particular Minoan Linear A word which I have deciphered has a scalar value > 75%, meaning that it has been deciphered with a high level of certainty, the apparent parallelism between the Minoan Linear A word and its suppositious Mycenaean Linear B counterpart is just that, apparent. In the chart, while I have had to flag some of the less reliable Minoan Linear A decipherments with dotted lines -------> (a3, a4 & a7), other Minoan words have been successfully deciphered with a high degree of certainty (a1, a2, a8 & a10). But can one assume that the latter, those terms deciphered accurately, will de facto necessarily be exactly parallel with their Linear B counterparts? Not really. That all depends on whether or not their Linear B counterparts (b1 to b11 abc) have themselves been accurately deciphered. What can I possibly imply by that? I can hear you say, “I thought Mycenaean Linear B was deciphered by Michael Ventris et al. from1952 onward.” Yes, they did get it... almost all of it, but not all of it. While at least 90% of Mycenaean Greek words have been deciphered with a high degree of accuracy (> 75%), a considerable number have never been adequately deciphered. To cite just a few (Latinized)from Chris Tselentis’ Linear B Lexicon, we have: aeitito – not used? akitito – untitled? duma – official title? Maka – Mother Earth? opa – workshop? outemi – without edges? porodumate – family groups? samara – monument, burial grounds? In cases like this, it becomes virtually impossible to decipher any single Minoan word which might conceivably be parallel to any of the aforementioned Mycenaean Linear B doubtfuls, since the scalar degree of reliability in the latter (Linear B words) is clearly < 50%. Moreover, while the Minoan Linear A words in the left column appear to be as rock-solid as their Linear B counterparts (a1, a2, a8 & a10) in the right column of the chart above, all falling within the ambit of a high degree of certainty (> 75%), I must still sound a note of caution. Who is to say for certain that I have teamed up the correct Minoan word in the left column with the clearly correct Mycenaean term in the right column? In all of these instances, it definitely looks like they all line up perfectly. But we can never really be sure. To summarize, I contend that cross-correlative parallelism between Linear A terms and their Linear B counterparts, however logical it may appear, may in fact be deceptive. Why so? Perhaps I am leaping to conclusions in one, some or even all of these apparently sound decipherments of Minoan words which seem to line up so neatly with their Mycenaean equivalents. The operative word is “seem”. The inescapable pitfalls of logical fallacies: In short, no matter how air-tight our inductive or deductive logic is, it is not necessarily always a done deal. We humans have a regrettable tendency to follow “lines of logic” which are not straight lines at all, and often not even circuitous ones. In fact, all too often they are broken lines or worse yet severed lines. This is why I have resorted to dotted lines (-------->) in all cases where the either the Minoan Linear A or the Mycenaean Linear B term is in some doubt, or far worse yet, both of them are. Fortunately, the Minoan Linear A words daropa, kanaka, pazeqe, puko and sedina are all almost certain (75%-100%), almost perfectly mirroring their Mycenaean Linear B equivalents kararewe, kanako, dipa anowe/dipa anowoto, tiripode and serino, all of which also fall in the 75%-100% range. But this almost air-tight parallelism is rare indeed in any attempt at cross-correlative cohesion between Minoan Linear A and Mycenaean Linear B. Ergo the extreme delicacy of the task of deciphering any Minoan term, fraught as it is with vulnerabilities and loopholes.
Undecipherable Minoan Linear A tablets, reduced to a muddy mess or mutilated: Undecipherable Minoan Linear A tablets, reduced to a muddy mess or mutilated. Need I say more? A number of Mycenaean Linear B tablets were also reduced to a muddy slush just a few days after Sir Arthur Evans began excavating the Palace of Knossos in early 1900. They were exposed to rain, and rendered entirely useless. Sadly, they all had to be thrown away.
An undecipherable Minoan Linear A tablet from Malia: I just discovered online this Minoan Linear A tablet from Malia. The likelihood of it ever being deciphered is very low, as it contains an extremely rare syllabogram, possibly DWI?QE, but no one is sure. Andras Zeke of the Minoan Language Blog notes that it is otherwise found only on Linear A tablet KN 2f31 (Knossos).
How far can we go deciphering Minoan Linear A? And now for the bad news: I have managed to decipher 63 Minoan Linear A words, more or less accurately. As long as any Linear A tablet contains ideographic aids to assist us in our decipherments, we can usually decipher Minoan words directly associated with ideograms and logograms, the meaning of which we already know. That is precisely how I have managed to get this far. But how much further can we go? In the total absence of such aids, there is little or no chance for us to decipher Linear A tablets with only words on them. This is a serious stumbling block to any comprehensive decipherment of Linear A. It is nothing short of a Catch-22. This is the brick wall we are up against in any attempt to decipher the majority of Linear A tablets.
Severely damaged Minoan Linear A tablet (joins) from Gournia: This Minoan Linear A tablet (fragment/joins) is even more severely damaged than many other Linear A fragments which are missing most of their text, or are partially illegible. The recurrence of (severely) damaged tablets and fragments is more widespread in Mycenaean Linear B, since there are far more extant tablets in that syllabary (close to 5,000). An example of a badly damaged Linear B tablet from Knossos follows:
Minoan Linear A tablet from Akrotiri (no. 36) undecipherable: This Minoan Linear A tablet from Akrotiri (no. 36) is so badly damaged it is undecipherable. I would like to believe that the word on the second join  is rutemuda, but there is simply no way of telling, as it is left-truncated. It is questionable whether the first syllabogram in  is indeed RU, which is why I have appended a question mark to. Still, this is such a justly famous Minoan Linear A tablet, I felt I would have done it an injustice not to post it.