petermr's blog

A Scientist and the Web


The magic of Superinfoductivity and Okapicity – Zero Impedance licences

I’m going to make an analogy between knowledge and conductivity. The precise comparison is flawed but the message is not. Hold on…

Everyone knows about superconductivity ( – the incredible phenomenon when at very low temperatures electrical resistance becomes ZERO. Not just “very small”. ZERO. And that produces magic. The magic of levitating trains and MRI scanners (supercon magnets).

Here’s a picture (from WP) of levitation and one of the variation with temperature

DON’T SWITCH OFF – I’m not going to spout physics. Look at the green graph. At high temperatures such as 2 (the values are normalized, not Celsius), the resistance (resistivity – same thing) is high. Electricity is wasted into heat. That’s what happens in our power lines. Huge waste. From 2 to 1 the electricity can flow more freely but there is still friction. Still energy loss.

And then at 1 something magic. A cliff. The resistance falls to ZERO. Magic happens.

And an even more remarkable thing happens to helium. It becomes superfluid .It crawls out of a pot and spills over!

The explanation is:

“These dramatic excitations result in the formation of solitons that in turn decay into quantized vortices – created far out of equilibrium, in pairs of opposite circulation – revealing directly the process of superfluid breakdown in Bose-Einstein condensates. With a double light-roadblock setup, we can generate controlled collisions between shock waves resulting in completely unexpected, nonlinear excitations. We have observed hybrid structures consisting of vortex rings embedded in dark solitonic shells. The vortex rings act as ‘phantom propellers’ leading to very rich excitation dynamics.”[8]

*I* don’t understand this either. But the point is that at very low energies vortices occur and completely remove obstacles. And I’d been writing about the effect of cycles on knowledge flow. So the following pictures have no direct analogy with superfluidity except to confirm something wonderful.

The major restrictions on knowledge flow licences, contracts, portals, walled gardens, etc. Information flow is sluggish, costly, slow. Manual intervention creates huge costs. In the Chem4Word project we drew the following diagram:


This shows the impedance of not closing a loop. Data get stalled (in this case by non-semantic technology – and more generally by licence problems). However hard you work info flows at subhuman speed.

Let’s close the loop . In the first case….


But NOW LET’s include ZERO-IMPEDANCE licences (CC0). The loops can join:

This ONLY happens with non-barrier licences.

And now the network operates at machine speed. Which, as far as humans are concerned is infinite. There is ZERO impedance. The impedance drops to zero, just like the green line.

That’s the difference between CC-NC (resistive) and CC-BY (zero impedance, infinite conductivity).

I’ve been searching for a word:

Supersophisticity? Not-really

SuperInfoConductivity? (Laurent Romary) – I like it.

Or for those who can’t manage many syllables let’s use OpenKnowledge…






Leave a Reply