Here you’ll find some of my thoughts on math and teaching math.

`Is predicting the next president like BattleBots? July 29, 2016`

In my last blog entry I suggested that BattleBots, a show that features robots battling in a ring, can be humorous — largely because we ...

`Mathematical genealogy April 12, 2016`

Like family history, mathematics has a genealogical history as well. One mathematician in history can influence several others in future generations. Recently, researchers used that ...

`Is square root day political? April 3, 2016`

Since tomorrow is square root day 4/4/16 (month and day numbers 4 are both the square root of the last 2 digits of the year 16), ...

`Eye on Pi 2016 March 14, 2016`

It’s Pi Day 2016. Take the first 6 digits of Pi and round off, and you go from 3.14159 to 3.1416. That’s today’s date: 3/14/16! My ...

`Largest known prime number January 31, 2016`

BBC News reports “Largest known prime number discovered in Missouri.” 22 million digits is a really, really, really long number. But what is it doing in ...

`Mathlete update January 4, 2016`

Since the Old Miss Math Contest stopped providing new quizzes over a year ago, I have been working on the problems presented on Brilliant.org. I ...

`UTM and Geographic Coordinates May 29, 2015`

Whether you are encountering UTM mapping coordinates because of genealogy or some other kind of research, it helps to know how to convert between UTM ...

`Brilliant problems April 24, 2015`

I’m not sure what happened to the Ole Miss Math Contest, but for over a year now I’ve been doing the problems on Brilliant.org instead. ...

`Ancestry reduncancy December 12, 2014`

Have you ever seen one of those charts that shows how you should have more ancestors in the year 1300 than were alive in the year ...

`Brilliant mathematician meets Colbert November 14, 2014`

It’s not everyday we get to see a brilliant mathematician on a television show, let alone a comedy television show. UCLA mathematics professor and Fields ...

`A math genius on the Colbert Report? November 11, 2014`

On November 12, 2014, UCLA’s top math professor will be appearing on “The Colbert Report”. I have not idea what silliness Stephen Colbert intends for ...

`Lighthouse math November 7, 2014`

So I was reading “10Best: Scenic lighthouses around the USA“, and I had to stop for a moment when I came across “Further south, the ...

`The slide rule October 31, 2014`

I, and my classmates, used a slide rule in my physics and math courses at UCLA. I could have purchased a HP pocket calculator for around ...

`Mathematics inspiration – The Geometry of France September 22, 2014`

I’ve always enjoyed mathematics, and I still have fun reading about new research, tutoring for the SAT, and participating in online math contests. On my ...

`A Beautiful Path July 11, 2014`

30 years ago I designed and developed “Truckin'”. I wanted players to deal with travelling salesman or shortest path problems, without thinking of that as a ...

`Math and Movies June 27, 2014`

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 ...

`Fun with math May 16, 2014`

I usually do the Ole Miss Math “problem of the week” and “algebra” problems when they run the online contest, but lately the site seems ...

`Game of Thrones math April 28, 2014`

Having watched the latest episode last night, I was having a conversation today with my wife about Game of Thrones. I said I would not ...

`Candy Crush is NP-Hard April 11, 2014`

Interesting mathematical research out of Australia on the game “Candy Crush”. Turns out in order to achieve a given score in a fixed number of swaps, the game ...

`Math as art March 28, 2014`

As a former math teacher who maintains a strong interest in the subject, I enjoy reading about people in the field. When I recently ran ...

`A knot is just a knot February 21, 2014`

Who knew there were so many ways to tie a tie? Researchers published a paper called “More ties than we thought“. Speaking of ties, I’m currently ...

`College hoops meets math January 25, 2014`

I always enjoy reading about, and sometimes trying, math or programming contests. Kaggle specializes in big data contests where researchers and enthusiasts develop algorithms to ...

`Don’t underestimate algorithms January 9, 2014`

Automobile insurance companies have offered discounts to customers who allow them to collect data on speed and braking. Until now, the thinking has been that ...

`Learn a bit about programming (coding) December 9, 2013`

I started programming (writing code) not long before handheld and video games came along. A solid mathematics and software engineering education prepared me for careers ...

`UCI makes finals of ACM contest November 26, 2013`

As a UC Irvine alumnus, I want to congratulate the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences team of undergrads who earned a spot ...

`Math and games November 11, 2013`

Hat Guessing Games and Traveling Tournament Schedules are a couple of trendy mathematics research problems that could possibly be the basis for new video games. Just about everyone knows that ...

`It’s nice to see articles about young mathematicians October 29, 2013`

Luke Vellotti, a 14 years old math and chess prodigy and already enrolled at UCLA.

`Cryptopocalypse? August 7, 2013`

I posted on Pinterest on my “Math I Love” board about Elliptic Curve Cryptography. The Black Hat USA 2013 conference recently highlighted a session on a ...

`Financial Literacy July 31, 2013`

I can remember teaching high school math students in 1977 how to do some of the calculations on their basic income tax form. Many of ...

`arXiv: Some new research in Mathematics July 23, 2013`

A few times a year I like to examine current research on mathematical topics. I can’t say I understand all that I read, but I ...

`UCLA Places #3 in 2012 William Lowell Putnam (Math) Competition April 4, 2013`

A team of UCLA undergraduates bettered the school’s 12th place performance in 2011 in the William Lowell Putnam Competition. Take a look at the difficulty of ...

`UPhotoMeasure.com – a Math-based application March 13, 2013`

Mathematics is fun, but it can save money too. UPhotoMeasure is a software application based on NASA research that helps businesses save time and money ...

`Mathlete update March 8, 2013`

I’m #2 in the Algebra contest and #7 in the Problem of the Week in the world in the Ole Miss Math Contest for 2013.

`An Autopsy of Friendster February 28, 2013`

MIT Technology Review blogs about a mathematical evaluation of why Friendster didn’t make it.

`Using Mathematics to Realign Sports Leagues February 25, 2013`

I don’t know that much about how sports leagues are designed, but I assume there are political and other motivational aspects of team alignment that are far ...

`Player Strategies in No Limit Texas Holdem Poker February 6, 2013`

Interesting research into player strategies in Texas Holdem Poker.

`I was #1 this week in Ole Miss Math Contest January 30, 2013`

I was quite pleased this week to discover that I made the top of the list in the Ole Miss Math Contest for Algebra this ...

`Could medeival manuscript experts be facing competition from computers? January 17, 2013`

Algorithms that automatically date medeival manuscripts – another neat use of a statistical technique. This time, they attempt to match patterns in the distribution of ...

`Domino math January 10, 2013`

I just thought this was one of the more fun math articles I’ve seen in the last year or two.

`Book ratings math January 2, 2013`

Several major websites sell books and offer ratings and prices. You can typically sort by relevance, ratings, price, and other factors, but I haven’t seen ...

`Ole Miss Math Contest 2012 November 14, 2012`

In the Ole Miss Math Contest for 2012, I’ve moved up to 8th in the Algebra and 15th in the Problem of the Week for ...