The foundations of modern physics were laid rapidly, by a small group of brilliant people collaborating loosely and autonomously, in a few decades in the early 20th century. It bothers me that we haven't seen our understanding of nature advance so quickly after WWII. So I've been thinking about what the necessary conditions may be to create such a rapid, creative environment for discovery and progress. Here is my current hypothesis:

  1. A small group of the best people
  2. working in close collaboration and communicating frequently, but pursuing their hypotheses independently
  3. on a few, well-known important problems onto which their entire field is focused.

I hypothesize that similar conditions were true for computing in the late 60's/early 70's and similar conditions may be true now for ML. Loose collaboration between independent leaders across a focused field.

How might we create and nurture such conditions?