August 22, 2014

8:00 AM | Information Aversion
  Why do ostriches stick their heads under the sand when they’re scared? They don’t. So why do people say they do? A Roman named Pliny the Elder might be partially to blame. He wrote that ostriches “imagine, when they have thrust their head and neck into a bush, that the whole of their body […]
7:30 AM | Eroici aggiornamenti
Avendo voglia di provare una rinnovata funzionalità di embed.ly, che potrebbe essere utile anche per l'aspetto dei link post, vi segnalo i miei ultimi articoli per LSB (ovviamente, se volete, potete utilizzare il post sia per commentare la funzionalità, sia per commentare le recensioni!): Dampyr #173 - Il segno di Alastor (Boselli, Maroto) | BreVisioni su Lo Spazio BiancoBatman #27: Città Oscura, prima parte | Recensioni su Lo Spazio BiancoSuperman: The men of tomorrow, parte 1 | Recensioni […]
7:26 AM | L. A. Paul on transformative experience and decision theory II
In the first part of this post, I considered the challenge to decision theory from what L. A. Paul calls epistemically transformative experiences.  In this post, I'd like to turn to another challenge to standard decision theory that Paul considers.  This is the challenge from what she calls personally transformative experiences.  Unlike an epistemically transformative experience, a personally transformative experience need not teach you anything new, but it does change you in […]
6:16 AM | Circle packings with small area
The second of my papers for this year's Graph Drawing symposium is now online: "Balanced Circle Packings for Planar Graphs", arXiv:1408.4902, with Jawaherul Alam, Mike Goodrich, Stephen Kobourov, and Sergey Pupyrev. It's about finding circle packings (interior-disjoint circles whose tangencies form a given graph) where the radii are all within a polynomial factor of each other. Or equivalently, if one normalizes the packing to make the smallest circles have unit radius, then the area of the […]
3:37 AM | biblatex for statisticians
I am now using biblatex for all my bibliographic work as it seems to have developed enough to be stable and reliable. The big advantage of biblatex is that it is easy to format the bibliography to conform to specific journal or publisher styles. It is also possible to have structured bibliographies (e.g., divided into sections: books, papers, R packages, etc.) Here is my default setting which should be suitable for almost all statistics and econometrics journals. % Load the package […]

August 21, 2014

7:46 PM | Large gaps between consecutive prime numbers
Kevin Ford, Ben Green, Sergei Konyagin, and myself have just posted to the arXiv our preprint “Large gaps between consecutive prime numbers“. This paper concerns the “opposite” problem to that considered by the recently concluded Polymath8 project, which was concerned with very small values of the prime gap . Here, we wish to consider the […]
6:49 PM | Astroboy: Black Looks
Se vi fosse al mondo un unico e solo luogo ove riposare e trovare pace, quel luogo sarebbe, per ciascuno di noi, sulle ginocchia della propria madre.Bellissima: mistero, azione, gag, suspance. Il tema del razzismo. Il tema della perdita. La ricerca delle proprie radici. La ricerca delle risposte alle proprie domande, ai dubbi della vita. La risposta al dolore con altrettanto dolore e violenza, con l'intolleranza verso chi si percepisce diverso.Black Looks, infatti, consente a Tezuka di […]
4:00 PM | Residual Lives, Hazard Rates, and Long Tails (Part II)
This is part II in a series on residual life, hazard rates, and long-tailed distributions. If you haven’t read part I yet, read that first! The previous post in this series highlighted that one must be careful in connecting “heavy-tailed” with the concepts of “increasing mean residual life” and “decreasing hazard rate”. In particular, there […]
1:38 PM | Turing's Oracle
My daughter had a summer project to read and summarize some popular science articles. Having heard me talk about Alan Turing more than a few times, she picked a cover story from a recent New Scientist. The cover copy says "Turing's Oracle: Will the universe let us build the ultimate thinking machine" sounds like an AI story but in fact more of an attack on the Church-Turing thesis. The story is behind a paywall but here is an excerpt: He called it the "oracle". But in his PhD thesis of […]
8:23 AM | God and Unemployment
‘When I began my research interviewing unemployed and underemployed Southern Californians in 2011, I did not expect that their religious views would turn out to be so important. Previous studies of unemployed Americans have scarcely commented on their spirituality. But over and over I heard my interviewees say, as an unemployed IT worker put it, […]

August 20, 2014

11:36 PM | Simons-Ber​keley Research Fellowship​s in Cryptograp​hy for Summer 2015
The Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing at UC Berkeley invites applications for Research Fellowships for the research program on Cryptography that will take place in Summer, 2015. These Fellowships are open to outstanding junior scientists (at most 6 years from PhD by 1 May, 2015). Further details and application instructions can be found […]
11:30 PM | Fields Medal 2014
Congratulations to the 2014 Fields Medalists! Every four years, the International Mathematical Union (IMU) awards the Fields Medal to two, three, or four mathematicians under forty, recognizing them for their research and contributions to the discipline. The Fields Medal was … Continue reading →
8:50 PM | Astroboy: Il gatto rosso e altre storie
Il gatto rossoLa prima reazione di uno straniero alla Tokyio del duemila è di stupore di fronte a una strana metropoli che mescola alla rinfusa la civiltà progredita del ventunesimo secolo con le antichità del ventesimo.Passeggiando per Musashino non devi scegliere che strada percorrere. Puoi essere pago del percorrere senza meta le sue vie che ti condurranno in luoghi singolari e se per caso chiedi indicazioni a un passante non te la prendere se questi risponderà gridando. La strada […]
8:23 PM | (Matilde Lalin) Attending conferences with small children
[This guest post is authored by Matilde Lalin, an Associate Professor in the Département de mathématiques et de statistique at the Université de Montréal.  I have lightly edited the text, mostly by adding some HTML formatting. -T.] Mathematicians (and likely other academics!) with small children face some unique challenges when traveling to conferences and workshops. The goal […]
5:37 PM | 414/514 Advanced Analysis (Analysis I) – Syllabus
Instructor: Andrés E. Caicedo Fall 2014 Time: MWF 10:30-11:45 am. Place: Mathematics building, Room 139. Contact Information Office: 239-A Mathematics building. Phone number: (208)-426-1116. (Not very efficient.) Office Hours: W 12:00-1:15 pm. (Or by appointment.) Email: caicedo@math.boisestate.edu Text We will use three textbooks and complement with papers and handouts for topics not covered there. MR1886084 […]
4:15 PM | The singularity is not near: the human brain as a Boson sampler?
Ever since the movie Transcendence came out, it seems like the idea of the ‘technological singularity‘ has been in the air. Maybe it’s because I run in an unorthodox circle of deep thinkers, but over the past couple months, I’ve been roped into three … Continue reading →
3:20 PM | Computational Algebra & Geometry PhD position
Communicated by Rudi Pendavingh The Department of Mathematics and Computer science at Eindhoven University in the Netherlands has a vacancy for a PhD position in Computational Algebra and Geometry. The subject of the PhD project will be decided based on the … Continue reading →
2:46 PM | On the Maslov index
关于“量子数学”,我们计划展开一系列讨论。本文是系列的第2篇。 我们将引入Maslov指标的概念,并介绍其在现代数学中的不同“面相”,进而为研究相空间的几何性质做好准备。 A.Ranicki建立了一个关于Maslov指标的主题站,搜罗了大量有价值的原始资料。 The Ambient Space 给定辛空间,其Lagrange子空间的模空间称为Lagrage […]
12:09 PM | How mathematics got its “Nobel” prize
Cool and informative article about the Fields Medal by Michael Barany http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/10/opinion/sunday/how-math-got-its-nobel-.html?smid=pl-share&_r=0
10:30 AM | ICM2014 — Khot laudatio
After McMullen’s laudatio on Mirzakhani, it was time for Sanjeev Arora to talk about the work of the Nevanlinna prize winner Subhash Khot. It was also the time that a significant proportion of the audience decided that enough was enough and left the room. The same thing happened in Hyderabad four years ago, and on […]
4:38 AM | Approval voting
A short and amusing video showing how approval voting is better than the ubiquitous plurality voting (Hat tip to Nick Mattei!)
2:47 AM | 100 Posts
Meaningless numerical milestones are a good a reason as any for an indulgent post. Today, I will discuss some facts from this blog which you might not otherwise know about. It will be in the form of an (mercifully short) … Continue reading →

August 19, 2014

8:11 PM | The solar efficiency of Superman
by @ulaulaman http://t.co/WGbVdfv0nk about #Superman #physics and #solar #energy In the last saga of the JLA by Grant Morrison, World War III, Superman, leaping against the bomb inside Mageddon says: The way in which Superman gets the powers, or the way in which them is explained, however, is changed over time. Following Action Comics #1, the debut of the character, Jerry Siegel, combining genetics and evolution, says that on his planet of origin the physical structure of the inhabitants had […]
5:31 PM | Y again: conclusion!
In the post Y again: conflict! I took the most obvious reduction strategy (sequential) and applied it to the reduction of the “Y combinator applied to something”.  The reduction ended in conflict between two moves which compete for the same g-pattern. Then, in the post Y again:compete!  I took in parallel the two possible outcomes […]
4:02 PM | Maniac week postmortem
My maniac week was a great success! First things first: here’s a time-lapse video1 (I recommend watching it at the full size, 1280×720). Some statistics2: Total hours of productive work: 55.5 (74 pings) Average hours of work per day3: 10.96 … Continue reading →
4:00 PM | Verbs of Being and the Past Progressive Tense
Everyone gets told to “show, don’t tell” at some point in their education. Today I want to talk about an equally important (and related) piece of advice that rarely gets taught. In fact, many people go through their whole lives … Continue reading →
11:50 AM | Dagli equilibri di Nash ai comportamenti collettivi
Quando ho condiviso il tweet qui sotto, non mi ero reso ancora conto del nome che avevo appena letto, eppure avrebbe dovuto suonarmi un campanello nella testa. Continuano i riconoscimenti internazionali per la #matematica dell'Universita' della #Calabria pic.twitter.com/JHIWaVlVGu— Gianluigi Filippelli (@ulaulaman) August 18, 2014Poi dopo è successo che sono andato a ricontrollare (che poi i campanelli magari suonano e semplicemente la suoneria è così bassa che non la senti, […]

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10:32 AM | Want to cluster a point cloud? Relax, no need to round!
Pranjal, Moses, Ravishankar, Soledad, Rachel, and myself just uploaded our new paper “Relax, no need to round: Integrality of clustering formulation” to the arxiv and I would like to briefly describe some of the results here. The problem we consider is that of clustering a point cloud in . One of the most popular method […]
9:12 AM | ICM2014 — Mirzakhani laudatio
I’m going to try the same exercise with Curt McMullen’s talk about Mirzakhani’s work that I did with Ofer Zeitouni’s about Hairer: that is, I’ll begin by seeing what I can remember if I don’t look at my notes. However, I remember disoncertingly little, and what I do remember is somewhat impressionistic. The most concrete […]
8:12 AM | Is the human referee becoming expandable in mathematics?
(Cross-posted at NewAPPS)Mathematics has been much in the news recently, especially with the announcement of the latest four Fields medalists (I am particularly pleased to see the first woman, and the first Latin-American, receiving the highest recognition in mathematics). But there was another remarkable recent event in the world of mathematics: Thomas Hales has announced the completion of the formalization of his proof of the Kepler conjecture. The conjecture: “what is the best way to stack […]
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