Math and Movies

My love of mathematics is what drove me to a variety of careers in education, game development, software engineering, and science fiction writing.  I often enjoy solving math problems and reading about recent research in mathematics.  If you share my interest in all things math, you might also enjoy this Harvard website I discovered that lists “Mathematics in Movies“.  I’m not sure why they don’t list “The Day the Earth Stood Still” or “Torn Curtain”, so I suggested these as possible additions.  In the trailer below of “Torn Curtain” you’ll see the math scene at about 1:40 into the video.

Microsurgeon makes list of top 10 Intellivision games

It’s nice to see that my classic video game “Microsurgeon” recently made the Retro Gamer Team’s top 10 list of Mattel Intellivision games.  I’m also glad that they picked two other fun Imagic Intellivision games, “Demon Attack” and “Dracula”.  I didn’t know until I saw this 1980’s Sears Catalog video game advertisement on The Retroist website that the ad incorrectly says “Microsurgery” instead of “Microsurgeon”.  Below, the Museum of Classic Chicago Television shows an old Imagic advertisement for Microsurgeon and a few of the other games.

Where do game ideas come from?

If you are an aspiring game designer, then please don’t limit your knowledge or your visions.  Good game ideas can come from any field of study.  For example, if you had enjoyed solving maze puzzles and studied shortest path algorithms many years ago, you might have invented Pacman.  Growing up, I enjoyed going on family driving trips and seeing the trucks go by on the freeway, which lead to my interest in later developing the game Imagic “Truckin'”.  You might not realize it immediately, but an understanding of the travelling salesman problem would help you in playing this game.  To my knowledge, no one — including me — has ever done an analysis of the game to see what the best routes are for the best payoffs.  One of these days I should take a look at that.  Speaking of game ideas from anywhere, maybe the 6th International Meeting on Origami in Science, Mathematics and Education (6OSME) at the University of Tokyo will generate some great game ideas for attending game designers.

Eternal hope for the driverless car?

Are we all so in love with the idea of a car that will drive for us, that we underestimate how long it’s going to be before self driving cars are a reality?  John Markoff recently blogged a piece entitled “Police, Pedestrians and the Social Ballet of Merging: The Real Challenges for Self-Driving Cars.”  Though Google and others continue to do useful and important research on self driving cars, this blog entry brings up some interesting issues.  If you enjoy reading about robots, particularly fiction, you might enjoy my science fiction e-book of published short stories entitled “Science Fiction: Robots & Cyborgs“.