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Posts

December 18, 2014

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3:56 AM | Why am I thinking about Ordinal Notations?
I blame Collatz. Stupid brain-worms… not that thinking about ordinal notations has helped fight the Collatz problem; on the contrary! Anyways. So, $\mathbb{HF}$ makes a nifty ordinal notation, good for the naturals, by saying the greater of two hereditarily-finite sets is the one that contains ($\ni$) the maximum of their symmetric difference (Exercise: check that this defines an ordering; start by comparing anything with $\{\}$) When I alternately tell you that this is just counting […]

December 17, 2014

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11:14 PM | full Bayesian significance test
Among the many comments (thanks!) I received when posting our Testing via mixture estimation paper came the suggestion to relate this approach to the notion of full Bayesian significance test (FBST) developed by (Julio, not Hal) Stern and Pereira, from São Paulo, Brazil. I thus had a look at this alternative and read the Bayesian […]
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5:00 PM | Editors’ Picks of the Year: Notable Reads on WordPress.com
Popular posts and community favorites, published in 2014.
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4:13 PM | How Specs Grading Is Influencing Me
I hope I have not come off too negatively about specs grading. Reflecting on what I have written, it could seem like I am trying to discourage people from using it. I hope that is not the case. I am engaging in this conversation so much because I am very hopeful about it. So when […]
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3:36 PM | Defend the Integrity of Physics
This week’s Nature features a call to arms from George Ellis and Joe Silk, entitled Scientific method: Defend the integrity of physics. I’m very glad to see well-known physicists highlighting the serious problem for the credibility of science raised by … Continue reading →
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3:22 PM | Mathematical Reason for Uncertainty in Quantum Mechanics
Today I’d like to give a fairly simple account of why Uncertainty Principles exist in quantum mechanics. I thought I already did this post, but I can’t find it now. I often see in movies and sci-fi books (not to … Continue reading →
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2:00 PM | Field Notes: BlogHer PRO 2014
We sponsored BlogHer PRO '14, a conference focused on the business of blogging. We connected with WordPress users and promoted Automattic's various products, from Jetpack and VaultPress to Akismet and Polldaddy.
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1:30 PM | 12/17/14
|12 - 17| = 1 + 4 Also: 12 - 1 - 7 = 1 * 4 Also: 1 + 2 = 17 - 14 Also: (1 + 2) * 1 = (7 * 1) - 4
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12:59 PM | Foundations of Pure Mathematics
This year all of the Echo360 recordings of my module G11FPM Foundations of Pure Mathematics worked successfully, with the exception of the very first (introductory) lecture. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t still make some slips. I don’t understand how I … Continue reading →
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10:10 AM | A mathematician explains the Ozone Layer
Sydney Chapman was a mathematician most remembered these days for the Chapman-Kolmogorov equations in statistics, but he was also instrumental in explaining the ozone layer. THE CHEMICAL EQUILIBRIUM IN THE DENSEST PART OF THE OZONE LAYER II. In considering the … Continue reading →
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10:03 AM | Back in hospital
I spoke too soon
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5:25 AM | Hyperbolic Surfaces
Ok, with the hyperbolic plane and its metric and geodesics out of the way, we can start getting into some surface theory. Definition: A hyperbolic surface of genus g is a topological surface of genus g along with a metric … Continue reading →
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4:28 AM | Long gaps between primes
Kevin Ford, Ben Green, Sergei Konyagin, James Maynard, and I have just uploaded to the arXiv our paper “Long gaps between primes“. This is a followup work to our two previous papers (discussed in this previous post), in which we had simultaneously shown that the maximal gap between primes up to exhibited a lower bound […]
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4:06 AM | The Turing movie
Last week I finally saw The Imitation Game, the movie with Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing. OK, so for those who haven’t yet seen it: should you?  Here’s my one paragraph summary: imagine that you told the story of Alan Turing—one greatest triumphs and tragedies of human history, needing no embellishment whatsoever—to someone who only sort-of understood it, and […]

December 16, 2014

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11:14 PM | Topological sensitivity analysis for systems biology
Michael Stumpf sent me Topological sensitivity analysis for systems biology, written by Ann Babtie and Paul Kirk,  en avant-première before it came out in PNAS and I read it during the trip to NIPS in Montréal. (The paper is published in open access, so everyone can read it now!) The topic is quite central to a […]
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10:35 PM | Prover’s Block
What to do when afraid to see if what you want is true Cropped from Canadian Bergler Society source Edmund Bergler coined the term in 1947, the great writers Francis Fitzgerald—F. Scott to most—and Joseph Conrad among many others suffered from it, as did the great cartoonist Charles Schulz. The problem is writer’s block. Today […]
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8:29 PM | Specifications Grading, Revisited
The great specifications grading craze of 2014 continues, with Evelyn Lamb joining in and Robert Talbert going so far as to actually design a course using specs grading. I have now actually read the book, so all of my misunderstandings have been updated to ‘informed misunderstandings.’ The book contained a lot of useful references to […]
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6:02 PM | Turing's Legacy
The legacy of Alan Turing's work at Bletchley Park (later GCHQ).
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5:14 PM | Preserving documents of Hermite and Picard IV: other items
[You are currently viewing a post that is part of a series : the story ; Hermite’s 1892 jubilee ; Picard’s youth ; Other items.] Together with the jubilee papers, there were three other documents (pictures) : 1) a letter in german from Hermann Schwarz, from the 2nd of june 1893, concerning the great gold […]
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5:13 PM | Preserving documents of Hermite and Picard III: Picard’s youth
[You are currently viewing a post that is part of a series : the story ; Hermite’s 1892 jubilee ; Picard’s youth ; Other items.] In a nutshell, Émile Picard has been one of the main french mathematicians of the 1880-1920 era. He’s been precocious (earning his doctorate in 1877 aged 20), prolific (from the […]
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5:12 PM | Preserving documents of Hermite and Picard II: Hermite’s 1892 jubilee
[You are currently viewing a post that is part of a series : the story ; Hermite’s 1892 jubilee ; Picard’s youth ; Other items.] It is an ancient tradition in Germany that upon reaching 50 years after obtaining their doctorate, old scholars would have a party thrown up in their honour called a jubilee […]
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5:11 PM | Preserving documents of Hermite and Picard I: the story
[You are currently viewing a post that is part of a series : the story ; Hermite’s 1892 jubilee ; Picard’s youth ; Other items.] A while back, in late july 2014, as I was casually browsing through the “Lettres, vieux papiers” section of ebay.fr (as I do now and then) I decided, with no […]
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1:30 PM | 12/16/14
|1 - 2| * √16 = 1 * 4 Also: |12 - 16| = 1 * 4 Also: |1 + 2 + 1 - 6| = 1 * √4
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1:18 PM | Montréal snapshot
Filed under: pictures, Travel Tagged: Canada, Montréal, NIPS, Québec, snow, street view
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10:38 AM | Dark thoughts
Last night, a concert in the Spitalfields Music Winter Festival, entitled “This year’s midnight”, given by the viol group Fretwork and the mezzo-soprano Clare Wilkinson, with readings by the actor Simon Callow. The title is taken from a poem “A … Continue reading →
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10:10 AM | Lubbock on the Moon’s motion
Sir John Lubbock was a mathematician and astronomer and an important early British adopter of Laplace’s Bayesian Statistics. Philosophers and even some physicists (who really should know better) believe the motion of the moon was essentially solved by Newton in … Continue reading →
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12:04 AM | One Central Hub for All Your Content
Manage all your sites more efficiently with our latest round of updates to the WordPress.com dashboard.

December 15, 2014

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11:14 PM | an extension of nested sampling
I was reading [in the Paris métro] Hastings-Metropolis algorithm on Markov chains for small-probability estimation, arXived a few weeks ago by François Bachoc, Lionel Lenôtre, and Achref Bachouch, when I came upon their first algorithm that reminded me much of nested sampling: the following was proposed by Guyader et al. in 2011, To approximate a […]
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9:59 PM | Stress: Competition and Ranking
One issue I keep seeing in comments here and elsewhere on this issue is that academia is very competitive, with everyone worried about their rank.  In my last post, I admitted that it would be hard to completely deny that there is competition, particularly when people are younger, which tends to come out when jobs are at stake.  But, for the most part, I think the role of competition is completely exaggerated, strangely so.  Academia -- at least, certainly, my branch of it -- […]
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7:48 PM | 254A, Supplement 3: The Gamma function and the functional equation (optional)
In Notes 2, the Riemann zeta function (and more generally, the Dirichlet -functions ) were extended meromorphically into the region in and to the right of the critical strip. This is a sufficient amount of meromorphic continuation for many applications in analytic number theory, such as establishing the prime number theorem and its variants. The […]
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