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When Data Serves Turkey

November 30, 2016

A head-scratching inconsistency in large amounts of chess data

Slate source

Benjamin Franklin was the first American scientist and was sometimes called “The First American.” He also admired the American turkey, counter to our connotation of “turkey” as an awkward failure.

Today I wonder what advice Ben would give on an awkward, “frankly shocking,” situation with my large-scale chess data. This post is in two parts.
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November 24, 2016

Theorems and Proofs—which are more important?


Ken and I wish to thank all who read and follow us. May you have a wonderful day today all day.

But we would like to pose a basic question about teaching complexity theory: Theorems vs. Proofs.
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GLL At the Chess Match

November 20, 2016

Dick and I will be on Sunday’s game telecast

Business Insider source

Magnus Carlsen of Norway and Sergey Karjakin of Russia are midway through their world championship match in New York City. The match is organized by Agon Limited in partnership with the World Chess Federation (FIDE).

Tomorrow, Sunday—early today as I post—at 2pm ET is Game 7 with the match all square after six hard-fought draws. Dick and I are in New York City and will be on the telecast streamed by the sponsoring website, A one-time $15 charge brings access to that and all remaining games.
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Unskewing the Election

November 8, 2016

Not the polls but voter impulse this time

Cropped from source

Nate Silver has gone out on a limb. Four years ago we posted on how the forecast of his team at FiveThirtyEight jibed with polls and forecasts by other poll aggregators. This year there is no jibe.

Today, Election Day in the USA, we discuss the state of those stating the state of the election.
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Halloween Math Style

October 31, 2016

The top scariest possible results

Head chopped from source

Washington Irving was a famous writer of the early 1800’s who is best known for his short stories. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow was based on the folklore that each Halloween a decapitated Hessian soldier, killed in the American Revolution, rises as a ghost, a nasty ghost, who searches for his lost head.

Today is Halloween and while Ken and I are not searching for any lost heads, we do believe it is a good day to think about scary stories.
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Absolute Firsts

October 29, 2016

An initiative for women in computing

AIA source

Louise Bethune was the first female professional architect in the United States, and possibly the world. She worked in Buffalo in the late 1800s through the early part of the 20th century.

Today we roll out ideas for an initiative on attracting women to computer science.
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Going For Two

October 16, 2016

Some football wisdom from Dick Karp

Cropped from S.I. Kids source

John Urschel is a PhD student in the Applied Mathematics program at MIT. He has co-authored two papers with his Penn State Master’s advisor, Ludmil Zikatanov, on spectra-based approximation algorithms for the {\mathsf{NP}}-complete graph bisection problem. A followup paper with Zikatanov and two others exploited the earlier work to give new fast solvers for minimal eigenvectors of graph Laplacians. He also plays offensive guard for the NFL Baltimore Ravens.

Today Ken and I wish to talk about a new result by the front linesman of {\mathsf{NP}}-completeness, Dick Karp, about football.

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