Math

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 ...

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