Cracking the Voynich Manuscript - with Big Data

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Cracking the Voynich Manuscript - with Big Data

#1  Postby kennyc » Aug 23, 2014 12:32 pm

Finally, a Use for Big Data: Cracking the Voynich Manuscript

The Voynich Manuscript might have been dropped to Earth by aliens; it might be a medieval cipher whose mystery outlived anyone who had the key; it also might be a prank and moneymaking scheme by some haggard rare bookseller. But whatever the book actually is, Brazilian scientists are pretty certain that the manuscript's text—which is written in a language and alphabet only found in the Voynich itself—isn't just gibberish. There's meaning in there, and complex network modeling or other big data tools might crack the enigma that has thus far proven unbreakable.

Granted, the work led by Dr. Diego Amancio hasn't yet told us anything new about the manuscript, which is named for the antiquarian who came across the medieval-looking book in 1912, Wilfred Voynich. A professor at University of São Paulo's Institute of Mathematical and Computer Sciences, Amancio found evidence that indicates, at least, that the manuscript makes some sort of sense. Beyond just revealing the manuscript's secrets, Amancio's work may help to boost the intelligence of bots past the Turing Test, like the impressive or maybe unimpressive software Eugene Gootsman, which famously sort of passed the test early this year.

“Our research has shown that the Voynich Manuscript presents a great deal of statistical patterns that are similar to those of natural languages,” says Amancio. Besides endorsing the existence of some meaning in the text, his conclusions fly in the face of many theories that treat this piece of work as an elaborate prank made by some old-school braggadocio.

Fraud theories have long loomed over the studies of the manuscript. Chemical analyses prove that the book was crafted between 1404 and 1439, but much of the book's life, like its meaning, remains shrouded. It began its rise to worldwide fame starting at the beginning of the 20th century, with its rediscovery in Italy, by the Polish bookseller Wilfrid Voynich.

Voynich wasn't able to translate the weird book, nor could he find anyone who could. Thanks to his efforts, however, the story of the Voynich Manuscript and its singular Voynichese language has piqued the interest of scientists and cryptographers no less notable than Alan Turing himself. None have succeeded, but people to this day won't give up trying.

It's easy to see why: The Voynich Manuscript boasts around 200 pages written in unknown characters, and filled with sketches of bizarre, unrecognizable plants, naked women diving into weird-ass pools, tentacled creatures, and Zodiac constellations. I mean, what's going on here?

......



http://motherboard.vice.com/read/finall ... manuscript
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Re: Cracking the Voynich Manuscript - with Big Data

#2  Postby redwhine » Aug 23, 2014 4:13 pm

"The Voynich Manuscript might have been dropped to Earth by aliens."


...and it might not. :shhh:
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Re: Cracking the Voynich Manuscript - with Big Data

#3  Postby tuco » Aug 23, 2014 4:44 pm

Its pretty amazing to me that even today, with computational power we have, its not possible to crack it yet.

This is a hardware limitation in 2014, but it may not be so in 2020
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Re: Cracking the Voynich Manuscript - with Big Data

#4  Postby BlackBart » Aug 23, 2014 4:55 pm

Assuming it's not gibberish.
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Re: Cracking the Voynich Manuscript - with Big Data

#5  Postby tuco » Aug 23, 2014 5:01 pm

Well yes, assuming. If I am to trust the article:

The researcher attested that the Voynich systems are, in 90 percent of cases, similar to those of other known books such as the Bible, indicating that it’s an actual piece of text in an actual language, and not well planned gibberish.


there is reason to assume or?
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Re: Cracking the Voynich Manuscript - with Big Data

#6  Postby kennyc » Aug 23, 2014 5:45 pm

BlackBart wrote:Assuming it's not gibberish.


This. That is what some think.
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Re: Cracking the Voynich Manuscript - with Big Data

#7  Postby scott1328 » Aug 23, 2014 6:27 pm

Who is to say it wasn't invented by some medieval Tolkien who invented his own private Tengwar for his own private Quenya? To produce his own Silmarillion?

How could such a thing ever be deciphered?
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Re: Cracking the Voynich Manuscript - with Big Data

#8  Postby Clive Durdle » Aug 23, 2014 6:32 pm

If someone used an existing piece of writing, and then replaced leters almost randomly, would it not show language like patterns, although gibberish?
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Re: Cracking the Voynich Manuscript - with Big Data

#9  Postby tuco » Aug 23, 2014 7:43 pm

scott1328 wrote:Who is to say it wasn't invented by some medieval Tolkien who invented his own private Tengwar for his own private Quenya? To produce his own Silmarillion?

How could such a thing ever be deciphered?


Because it would have patterns?
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Re: Cracking the Voynich Manuscript - with Big Data

#10  Postby tuco » Aug 23, 2014 8:21 pm

Clive Durdle wrote:If someone used an existing piece of writing, and then replaced leters almost randomly, would it not show language like patterns, although gibberish?


Question is if human brain is capable of creating something random or if pattern would eventually emerge. I would guess its the latter.
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Re: Cracking the Voynich Manuscript - with Big Data

#11  Postby Varangian » Aug 23, 2014 9:57 pm

Solving the Voynich Manuscript cipher: 1D20 SAN loss.
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Re: Cracking the Voynich Manuscript - with Big Data

#12  Postby scott1328 » Aug 24, 2014 12:03 am

tuco wrote:
scott1328 wrote:Who is to say it wasn't invented by some medieval Tolkien who invented his own private Tengwar for his own private Quenya? To produce his own Silmarillion?

How could such a thing ever be deciphered?


Because it would have patterns?

Linear A has patterns and was based on a real world language and real world referents, furthermore it has a descendant writing system Linear B that has been largely deciphered, and yet Linear A remains undeciphered. If the Voynich writing was indeed a constructed script for a constructed language relating a fictional tale. It seems it would be beyond decipherment without something like a Rosetta Stone.
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Re: Cracking the Voynich Manuscript - with Big Data

#13  Postby tuco » Aug 24, 2014 12:26 am

So something like Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra?

I used to know someone who was into cryptography. Too bad cant ask him. It is not obvious to me that stuff like that cannot be deciphered in principle.
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Re: Cracking the Voynich Manuscript - with Big Data

#15  Postby Horwood Beer-Master » Aug 26, 2014 12:39 pm

...his conclusions fly in the face of many theories that treat this piece of work as an elaborate prank made by some old-school braggadocio...


Not really. Neither genuine antiquity nor the presence of a genuine cypher necessarily disprove some 'prankish' motivation by it's original creator. It merely means that if it is a prank, it's a more historically interesting and elaborate prank than previously thought.
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Re: Cracking the Voynich Manuscript - with Big Data

#16  Postby ElDiablo » Aug 26, 2014 2:00 pm

ughaibu wrote:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpZD_3D8_WQ

Very Interesting.
Understanding patterns is not so easy as Stephen Bax shows. At least the manuscript has illustrations of known plants and that is Bax's starting point in the video. Identifying the plant, finding the name in the manuscript, identifying the letters and determining the reading.
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Re: Cracking the Voynich Manuscript - with Big Data

#17  Postby Mazille » Aug 26, 2014 2:23 pm

We've solved this particular puzzle ages ago, people...

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Re: Cracking the Voynich Manuscript - with Big Data

#18  Postby scott1328 » May 15, 2019 11:33 pm

The Voynich manuscript has been cracked. It is written in an extinct proto-romance.

https://m.phys.org/news/2019-05-bristol ... MZS07rIqyk

According to the article:
What it reveals is even more amazing than the myths and fantasies it has generated. For example, the manuscript was compiled by Dominican nuns as a source of reference for Maria of Castile, Queen of Aragon, who happens to have been great aunt to Catherine of Aragon.


ETA: no big data needed
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Re: Cracking the Voynich Manuscript - with Big Data

#19  Postby Papa Smurf » May 16, 2019 12:03 am

Or perhaps not...

https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/05/no-someone-hasnt-cracked-the-code-of-the-mysterious-voynich-manuscript/

No, someone hasn’t cracked the code of the mysterious Voynich manuscript
[...]
Fagin Davis wrote:As with most would-be Voynich interpreters, the logic of this proposal is circular and aspirational: he starts with a theory about what a particular series of glyphs might mean, usually because of the word's proximity to an image that he believes he can interpret. He then investigates any number of medieval Romance-language dictionaries until he finds a word that seems to suit his theory. Then he argues that because he has found a Romance-language word that fits his hypothesis, his hypothesis must be right. His "translations" from what is essentially gibberish, an amalgam of multiple languages, are themselves aspirational rather than being actual translations.

In addition, the fundamental underlying argument—that there is such a thing as one 'proto-Romance language'—is completely unsubstantiated and at odds with paleolinguistics. Finally, his association of particular glyphs with particular Latin letters is equally unsubstantiated. His work has never received true peer review, and its publication in this particular journal is no sign of peer confidence.


Ouch. [UPDATE] And she's not the only skeptic.
[...]
So another day, another dubious claim that someone has "decoded" the Voynich manuscript.



Would (have) be(en) cool though.
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Re: Cracking the Voynich Manuscript - with Big Data

#20  Postby scott1328 » May 16, 2019 12:06 am

Papa Smurf wrote:Or perhaps not...

https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/05/no-someone-hasnt-cracked-the-code-of-the-mysterious-voynich-manuscript/

No, someone hasn’t cracked the code of the mysterious Voynich manuscript
[...]
Fagin Davis wrote:As with most would-be Voynich interpreters, the logic of this proposal is circular and aspirational: he starts with a theory about what a particular series of glyphs might mean, usually because of the word's proximity to an image that he believes he can interpret. He then investigates any number of medieval Romance-language dictionaries until he finds a word that seems to suit his theory. Then he argues that because he has found a Romance-language word that fits his hypothesis, his hypothesis must be right. His "translations" from what is essentially gibberish, an amalgam of multiple languages, are themselves aspirational rather than being actual translations.

In addition, the fundamental underlying argument—that there is such a thing as one 'proto-Romance language'—is completely unsubstantiated and at odds with paleolinguistics. Finally, his association of particular glyphs with particular Latin letters is equally unsubstantiated. His work has never received true peer review, and its publication in this particular journal is no sign of peer confidence.


Ouch. [UPDATE] And she's not the only skeptic.
[...]
So another day, another dubious claim that someone has "decoded" the Voynich manuscript.



Stop quashing my jubilation with facts :nono:
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