Physicist Stephen Wolfram spoke at a conference at Pratt's architecture department yesterday and presented his research - starting with cellular automata and the implications of computation on life and everything else, (mostly which can be found in his book A New Kind of Science.) His satements were bold and ambitious, often making references to his favourite "rule 30" of the cellular automata collection. At one point he even postulated that our entire universe could be governed by just one rule and our universe is just a result of computation - and even suggested means to find that rule. He supported with evidence ranging from leaves to snowflakes, particle and fluid systems that his cellular automata could compute. Of course with that claim came the questions of human existence, free will etc... and even on Architecture. To be honest, I enjoyed his work and the speech a lot - he was quite an eloquent speaker despite the very bold statements he was making. To me, he was either a real genius, a genius that went astray or a complete haywire - I couldn't make up my mind.
I couldn't help but draw similarities to Douglas Adam's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy where we discover that the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything else was "42." And then the story goes on to find the Question instead because they didn't know what the Question really meant.
I find it strange that most of the most profound claims about architecture are being made by people divorced from the field (perhaps I've been hanging out with the wrong bunch of people) Wolfram didn't say anything really profound but I felt that his work did imply strong potential in Architecture.