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Computers are providing solutions to math problems that we can't check - "A computer has solved the longstanding Erdős discrepancy problem! Trouble is, we have no idea what it's talking about — because the solution, which is as long as all of Wikipedia's pages combined, is far too voluminous for us puny humans to confirm." (via; previously ;)

posted by kliuless on Apr 12, 2014 - 24 comments

posted by kliuless on Apr 12, 2014 - 24 comments

Finite time blowup for an averaged three-dimensional Navier-Stokes equation - "[Terence Tao] has shown that in an alternative abstract universe closely related to the one described by the Navier-Stokes equations, it is possible for a body of fluid to form a sort of computer, which can build a self-replicating fluid robot that, like the Cat in the Hat, keeps transferring its energy to smaller and smaller copies of itself until the fluid 'blows up.' " [1,2,3] (previously)

posted by kliuless on Mar 9, 2014 - 15 comments

posted by kliuless on Mar 9, 2014 - 15 comments

Network Theory Overview - "The idea: nature and the world of human technology are full of networks! People like to draw diagrams of networks. Mathematical physicists know that in principle these diagrams can be understood using category theory. But why should physicists have all the fun? This is the century of *understanding living systems and adapting to life on a finite planet*. Math isn't the main thing we need, but it's got to be part of the solution... so one thing we should do is develop a unified and powerful theory of networks." (via ;)

posted by kliuless on Mar 2, 2014 - 17 comments

posted by kliuless on Mar 2, 2014 - 17 comments

A/B testing has become a familiar term for most people running web sites, especially e-commerce sites. Unfortunately, most A/B test results are illusory (PDF, 312 kB). Here's how not to run an A/B test. Do use this sample size calculator or this weird trick.

posted by Foci for Analysis on Feb 23, 2014 - 38 comments

posted by Foci for Analysis on Feb 23, 2014 - 38 comments

It's a bit late for the holiday, but math(s) comedian Helen Arney sings about her Christmas wish -- the largest known Mersenne Prime, Mersenne 48. [more inside]

posted by GenjiandProust on Dec 28, 2013 - 1 comment

posted by GenjiandProust on Dec 28, 2013 - 1 comment

Closing in on the twin prime conjecture (Quanta) - "Just months after Zhang announced his result, Maynard has presented an independent proof that pushes the gap down to 600. A new Polymath project is in the planning stages, to try to combine the collaboration's techniques with Maynard's approach to push this bound even lower." [more inside]

posted by kliuless on Dec 1, 2013 - 16 comments

posted by kliuless on Dec 1, 2013 - 16 comments

posted by motty on Jun 27, 2013 - 42 comments

Is there any point to the 12 times table? [more inside]

posted by Cat Pie Hurts on Jun 27, 2013 - 159 comments

posted by Cat Pie Hurts on Jun 27, 2013 - 159 comments

Eric Weinstein has a PhD in mathematical physics from Harvard, but has spent most of the last 10 years outside academia working as an economic consultant for a New York hedge fund. Now he apparently has a new theory of everything that claims to be able to explain quantum gravity, dark matter and dark energy. Actual details have not yet been provided and some physicists are dismissive. But his work has received enthusiastic endorsement from Oxford's Simonyi Professor of Public Understanding Marcus du Sautoy, with whom he has been discussing the theory over the last two years. [more inside]

posted by leibniz on May 24, 2013 - 105 comments

posted by leibniz on May 24, 2013 - 105 comments

In August of last year, mathematician Shinichi Mochizuki reported that he had solved one of the great puzzles of number theory: the ABC conjecture (previously on Metafilter). Almost a year later, no one else knows whether he has succeeded. No one can understand his proof.

posted by painquale on May 10, 2013 - 59 comments

posted by painquale on May 10, 2013 - 59 comments

The British countryside generator uses Voronoi diagrams to recreate the patchwork quilt look of your stereotypical UK landscape of rolling meadows, woodlands and crop fields, enclosed by hedgerows and drystone walls.

posted by MartinWisse on May 1, 2013 - 21 comments

posted by MartinWisse on May 1, 2013 - 21 comments

Using computer systems for doing mathematical proofs - "With the proliferation of computer-assisted proofs that are all but impossible to check by hand, Hales thinks computers must become the judge." [more inside]

posted by kliuless on Mar 16, 2013 - 25 comments

posted by kliuless on Mar 16, 2013 - 25 comments

"Draw some random points on a piece of paper and join them up to make a random polygon. Find all the midpoints and connecting them up to give a new shape, and repeat. The resulting shape will get smaller and smaller, and will tend towards an ellipse!" [code to make this in Mathematica] [a version which allows you to watch the process step by step, with 10 vertices or 100]

posted by ocherdraco on Dec 3, 2012 - 65 comments

posted by ocherdraco on Dec 3, 2012 - 65 comments

The Nature of Computation - Intellects Vast and Warm and Sympathetic: "I hand you a network or graph, and ask whether there is a path through the network that crosses each edge exactly once, returning to its starting point. (That is, I ask whether there is a 'Eulerian' cycle.) Then I hand you another network, and ask whether there is a path which visits each node exactly once. (That is, I ask whether there is a 'Hamiltonian' cycle.) How hard is it to answer me?" (via) [more inside]

posted by kliuless on Dec 1, 2012 - 19 comments

posted by kliuless on Dec 1, 2012 - 19 comments

"We have little trouble recognizing that a chess grandmaster’s victory over a novice is skill, as well as assuming that Paul the octopus’s ability to predict World Cup games is due to chance. But what about everything else?" [Luck and Skill Untangled: The Science of Success]

posted by vidur on Nov 20, 2012 - 16 comments

posted by vidur on Nov 20, 2012 - 16 comments

Morton and Vicary on the Categorified Heisenberg Algebra - "In quantum mechanics, position times momentum does not equal momentum times position! This sounds weird, but it's connected to a very simple fact. Suppose you have a box with some balls in it, and you have the magical ability to create and annihilate balls. Then there's one more way to create a ball and then annihilate one, than to annihilate one and then create one. Huh? Yes: if there are, say, 3 balls in the box to start with, there are 4 balls you can choose to annihilate after you've created one but only 3 before you create one..." [more inside]

posted by kliuless on Jul 21, 2012 - 78 comments

posted by kliuless on Jul 21, 2012 - 78 comments

Beeminder provides an interesting and novel solution to the problem of akrasia. Got a long term goal or habit you'd like to change or develop (like losing weight or writing every day), then set out your targets, record your progress every day and pay cold hard cash the day you fall off the 'yellow brick road'. [more inside]

posted by grahamspankee on Jul 19, 2012 - 38 comments

posted by grahamspankee on Jul 19, 2012 - 38 comments

Free online graph paper generators: variations of squares, triangle, rhombus, and hexagonal, circular and polar, for drawing, gaming, writing, note-taking and much more. Blank Sheet Music (Flash) for all arrangements (PDF). Create and edit your own grids, probability and logarithmic graphs, petri-dish inserts and storyboards. Also, multilingual monthly and yearly calendars. Plus, more than you ever wanted to know about ISO paper dimensions and printable paper models of polyhedra. Prev-ious-ly.

posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul on May 28, 2012 - 36 comments

posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul on May 28, 2012 - 36 comments

FatFonts creates numerical fonts where the amount of ink/pixels for each number is in direct proportion to its value.

posted by fearfulsymmetry on May 14, 2012 - 23 comments

posted by fearfulsymmetry on May 14, 2012 - 23 comments

In Russian roulette, is it best to go first? | The Mathematics of Tetris | What is the result of infinity minus infinity? [more inside]

posted by Foci for Analysis on May 14, 2012 - 30 comments

posted by Foci for Analysis on May 14, 2012 - 30 comments

Geometrically the irrationality of the square root of 2 means that there is no integer-by-integer square whose area is twice the area of another integer-by-integer square. A visual proof that the square root of 2 is irrational (not found in previous visual proof post.)

posted by Obscure Reference on May 9, 2012 - 39 comments

posted by Obscure Reference on May 9, 2012 - 39 comments

"I hope my handwriting, etc. do not give the impression I am just a crank or circle-squarer."

posted by vidur on Feb 22, 2012 - 22 comments

posted by vidur on Feb 22, 2012 - 22 comments

Science through yarn: Wooly Thoughts. The Home of Mathematical Knitting, including knitted klein bottles and hyperbolic planes. The Museum of Scientifically Accurate Fabric Brain Art (previously). Much, much, more on knitting, crochet and quilting used to visualize complex theories in topology, probability, chaos and fractals. [more inside]

posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul on Nov 6, 2011 - 8 comments

posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul on Nov 6, 2011 - 8 comments

Beaded Polyhedra ❂ More beadwork (mathematical and otherwise) by Gwen Fisher ❂ Still more beadwork galleries at beAdinfinitum ❂ Three-dimensional finite point groups and the symmetry of beaded beads [pdf - some algebra, but lots of illustrations]

posted by Wolfdog on Jul 19, 2011 - 6 comments

posted by Wolfdog on Jul 19, 2011 - 6 comments

A thread full of proofs without words at MathOverflow and quite a lot more of them courtesy of Google Books.

posted by Wolfdog on Jul 18, 2011 - 22 comments

posted by Wolfdog on Jul 18, 2011 - 22 comments

New math theories reveal the nature of numbers [1,2] - "We prove that partition numbers are 'fractal' for every prime. These numbers, in a way we make precise, are self-similar in a shocking way. Our 'zooming' procedure resolves several open conjectures, and it will change how mathematicians study partitions." (/.|via) [more inside]

posted by kliuless on Jan 22, 2011 - 45 comments

posted by kliuless on Jan 22, 2011 - 45 comments

The OEIS Movie is simply a slideshow of one thousand plots from the Online Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences, at two plots per second with sequence-generated music. [more inside]

posted by Wolfdog on Dec 2, 2010 - 12 comments

posted by Wolfdog on Dec 2, 2010 - 12 comments

A Brief History of Mathematics is a BBC series of ten fifteen-minute podcasts by Professor Marcus du Sautoy about the history of mathematics from Newton and Leibniz to Nicolas Bourbaki, the pseudonym of a group of French 20th Century mathematicians. Among those covered by Professor du Sautoy are Euler, Fourier and Poincaré. The podcasts also include short interviews with people such as Brian Eno and Roger Penrose.

posted by Kattullus on Dec 1, 2010 - 11 comments

posted by Kattullus on Dec 1, 2010 - 11 comments

A brief tour of the mysteriously universal laws of mathematics and nature. [more inside]

posted by kliuless on Oct 24, 2010 - 33 comments

posted by kliuless on Oct 24, 2010 - 33 comments

How do you calculate Pi? Build a supercomputer. *The Mountains of Pi*, a New Yorker profile of the mathematician (sic) the Chudnovsky brothers. Warning: the article is from 1992, and internet is missing its definite article. (Previously)

posted by OmieWise on Sep 9, 2010 - 31 comments

posted by OmieWise on Sep 9, 2010 - 31 comments

posted by Wolfdog on May 16, 2010 - 3 comments

Since its first printing in 1964, Abramowitz and Stegun's Handbook of Mathematical Functions has been a standard (and public domain) reference manual for special functions and applied mathematics. This week, NIST released its successor, the Digital Library of Mathematical Functions, online to the public.

posted by Upton O'Good on May 13, 2010 - 29 comments

posted by Upton O'Good on May 13, 2010 - 29 comments

The Soroban is recognisable to most in the West as an Abacus. Despite the prevalence of electronic calculators, the Soroban is still incredibly popular in Japan, with parents oft paying for private tutors to teach their children. The remarkable phenomenon of Flash Anzan is observed after a few years of practice, when users no longer need a real Soroban and can work off an imaginary one.

posted by Biru on May 6, 2010 - 38 comments

posted by Biru on May 6, 2010 - 38 comments

Mathematics Illuminated is a set of thirteen surveys in varied topics in mathematics, nicely produced with video, text, and interactive Flash gadgets for each of the topics.

posted by Wolfdog on Apr 14, 2010 - 8 comments

posted by Wolfdog on Apr 14, 2010 - 8 comments

Does a group of indigenous South Americans hold the key to our relationship with maths? *Still, I thought it odd that numbers larger than five did not crop up at all in Amazonian daily life. What if you ask a Munduruku with six children how many kids they have? "He will say, 'I don't know,'" Pica said. "It is impossible to express."*

posted by selton on Apr 1, 2010 - 63 comments

posted by selton on Apr 1, 2010 - 63 comments

It's been called the most beautiful theorem in all of mathematics. [more inside]

posted by empath on Mar 9, 2010 - 48 comments

posted by empath on Mar 9, 2010 - 48 comments

The Carol Syndrome "Carol's perception that she scares men away is not a delusion after all. … It is not a matter of bad luck but a collateral effect of interactive rationality. A paradoxical consequence is that Carol's attractiveness acts as a repellent." Game theory (mis?)applied to dating. [more inside]

posted by Kadin2048 on Jul 22, 2009 - 73 comments

posted by Kadin2048 on Jul 22, 2009 - 73 comments

Home taping didn’t kill music, says Ben Goldacre - but where did all the money go?

posted by Artw on Jun 11, 2009 - 168 comments

posted by Artw on Jun 11, 2009 - 168 comments

Oxford Professor & Fellow of the Royal Society James Murray uses mathematical modelling to predict whether a marriage will survive or end in divorce, with 94% accuracy.
His lecture to the Royal Society will be available for view on demand within two days.

posted by UbuRoivas on Mar 26, 2009 - 44 comments

posted by UbuRoivas on Mar 26, 2009 - 44 comments

Online Encyclopedia of Mathematics Edited by Michiel Hazewinkel (CWI, Amsterdam), and originaly published in dead tree form in 2002, now free to browse and poke into. [more inside]

posted by Iosephus on Aug 2, 2008 - 7 comments

posted by Iosephus on Aug 2, 2008 - 7 comments

Whether you want to learn to lace shoes, tie shoelaces, stop shoelaces from coming undone, calculate shoelace lengths or even repair aglets, Ian's Shoelace Site has the answer!

posted by Blazecock Pileon on Jun 27, 2008 - 22 comments

posted by Blazecock Pileon on Jun 27, 2008 - 22 comments

95% of degree courses in video gaming at British universities leave graduates unfit to work in the industry, according to Games Up?, an organisation set up to address the UKs video games skills shortage. Maths skills are a particular weakness.

posted by Artw on Jun 24, 2008 - 71 comments

posted by Artw on Jun 24, 2008 - 71 comments

How to catch a bus.

And the paper in question. (PDF)

posted by johnny novak on Jan 23, 2008 - 44 comments

And the paper in question. (PDF)

posted by johnny novak on Jan 23, 2008 - 44 comments

Symmetry. Shakespeare. Islamic medicine. Creative writing challenges. Four podcast series from University of Warwick.

posted by Wolfdog on Nov 18, 2007 - 2 comments

posted by Wolfdog on Nov 18, 2007 - 2 comments

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