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Snow And Theory

January 6, 2017


The 25th Anniversary of the ACO Program

tetalithomas
Cropped from src1 & src2 in gardens for karma

Prasad Tetali and Robin Thomas are mathematicians at Georgia Tech who are organizing the Conference Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the ACO Program. ACO stands for our multidisciplinary program in Algorithms, Combinatorics and Optimization. The conference is planned to be held starting this Monday, January 9–11, 2017.

Today I say “planned” because there is some chance that Mother Nature could mess up our plans.
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Babai’s Result: Still a Breakthrough

January 4, 2017


Even after today’s retraction of quasi-polynomial time for graph isomorphism

lacibabai
Cropped from source

László Babai is famous for many things, and has made many seminal contributions to complexity theory. Last year he claimed that Graph Isomorphism (GI) is in quasi-polynomial time.

Today Laci posted a retraction of this claim, conceding that the proof has a flaw in the timing analysis, and Ken and I want to make a comment on what is up. Update 1/10: He has posted a 1/9 update reinstating the claim of quasi-polynomial time with a revised algorithm. As we’ve noted, he is currently speaking at Georgia Tech, and we hope to have more information soon.
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The Gift of Community

December 29, 2016

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Shared experience may matter as much as scientific cooperation

marshakaip
AIP source—see also interview

Robert Marshak was on hand for Trinity, which was the first detonation of a nuclear weapon, ever. The test occurred at 5:29 am on July 16, 1945, as part of the Manhattan Project. Marshak was the son of parents who fled pogroms in Byelorussia. Witnessing the test, hearing the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and knowing his family history led him to become active in advancing peace. He soon co-founded and chaired the Federation of Atomic Scientists and was active in several other organizations promoting scientific co-operation as a vehicle of world peace. In 1992 he won the inaugural award of the American Association for the Advancement of Science for Science Diplomacy.

Today, the fifth day of both Chanukah and Christmas, we reflect on the gift of international scientific community.
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Hunting Complexity in Zeta

December 20, 2016


A second look at Voronin’s amazing universality theorem

karatsubavoronin

Anatoly Karatsuba and Sergei Voronin wrote a book on Bernhard Riemann’s zeta function. The book was translated into English by Neal Koblitz in 1992. Among its special content is expanded treatment of an amazing universality theorem about the classic zeta function proved by Voronin in 1975. We covered it four years ago.

Today Ken and I take a second look and explore a possible connection to complexity theory.
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Bletchley Park

December 12, 2016


Lessons from the Park that still apply today

unknown

Iain Standen is the CEO of the Bletchley Park Trust, which is responsible for the restoration of the Park. After the war, the Park was almost completely destroyed and forgotten—partially at least for security reasons. Luckily it was just barely saved and is now a wonderful place to visit and see how such a small place helped change history.

Today I would like to report on a recent trip to Bletchley Park.
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Magnus and the Turkey Grinder

December 8, 2016


With part II of our “When Data Serves Turkey” post

magnusphelpspose
Baku Olympiad source—note similarity to this

Magnus Carlsen last week retained his title of World Chess Champion. His match against challenger Sergey Karjakin had finished 6–6 after twelve games at “Standard” time controls, but he prevailed 3–1 in a four-game tiebreak series at “Rapid” time controls. Each game took an hour or hour-plus under a budget of 25 minutes plus 10 extra seconds for each move played.

Today we congratulate Carlsen and give the second half of our post on large data being anomalous. Read more…

When Data Serves Turkey

November 30, 2016


A head-scratching inconsistency in large amounts of chess data

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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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