Showing posts tagged videos

Numberphile video on the Josephus Problem

Recently, the following Numberphile video on the Josephus Problem has been making the rounds on math-related social media. I watched the video, and I thought Daniel Erman did a remarkably good job at explaining how to solve a mathematical problem. Daniel’s approach is similar to the techniques described in Polya‘s “How to Solve It.” Yet the particular story that Daniel tells also has an appealing narrative arc. Daniel’s video adheres to the following principles, which I think are fairly universal in mathematical problem solving. Start with a…

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Computer Musings by Donald Knuth

Donald Knuth’s diverse achievements lend him demigod status in many circles. His series *The Art of Computer Programming *is admired by theoretical computer scientists, programmers, and hackers alike for its panoramic yet detailed treatment of algorithms. His academic research record is impressive. His TeX typesetting system forms the core of what is likely the most widely used technical typesetting software in the world. Given Knuth’s penchant for the aesthetics of typesetting, his website is perhaps not what one would expect–maybe he has strong sense of irony. Every…

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Information Theory

I have just uploaded the beginnings of an essay on information theory to my website. You can see the essay (in its currently incomplete state) here. Information theory was first described by Claude Shannon in his groundbreaking 1948 paper, A Mathematical Theory of Communication. What is particularly surprising about Shannon’s truly remarkable paper is its completeness. Not only does Shannon suggest a mathematical model for (digital) communication and information, but he produces a huge array of fundamental results for his model. It is exceptionally rare that such a complete…

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The Storytelling of Science

Some of the biggest names in popular science came together for a panel as part of the Origins Project at ASU. Bill Nye, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Richard Dawkins, Brian Greene, Ira Flatow, Neil Stephenson, Tracy Day and Lawrence Krauss shared some of their favorite stories about science. I’ve always enjoyed how the folklore of science can grant humanity and pathos to what might otherwise be viewed as an austere subject. The stories shared by the participants are at once entertaining and inspiring. Following the presentations by the panelists, the…

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Dimensions Video Series

In this month’s issue of the American Mathematical Monthly, there is a review of a series of animated videos about geometry, called Dimensions. The aim of the videos is to introduce the geometry of 4-dimensional space, and in particular the 3-sphere which we can view as living in 4-dimensional space. I haven’t finished watching the entire series, but what I’ve seen so far is pretty impressive. The entire series runs about two hours. It is freely available on youtube — see below for the first installment.…

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