Monthly Archives: February 2008

How many Sudokus?

The answer to the question in the headline is: Too many. After I wrote about Sudoku a couple a years ago, I thought I had cured my addiction; but I’ve been a shameless backslider. I return to the subject now, … Continue reading

Posted in games, mathematics | 8 Comments


Zeno of Elea—the philosopher of footraces that never end and arrows that never reach their target—seems a figure so lost in abstractions and infinities that it’s hard to imagine him living in some particular place and time. But Elea was … Continue reading

Posted in mathematics | 8 Comments

The linguistic arrow of time

Two recent notes on the Language Log, by Sally Thomason and Mark Liberman, discuss a nutty book, The Secret History of the English Language, by M. J. Harper. I haven’t read the book, but according to the Language Loggers, Harper … Continue reading

Posted in social science | 8 Comments

EATCS award to Valiant

Leslie G. Valiant, whose work on holographic algorithms was the subject of a recent column in American Scientist and a brief note here on bit-player, has won the 2008 EATCS Award of the European Association for Theoretical Computer Science. In … Continue reading

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Get on board

Ages ago (in blog years) I mentioned some algorithmic ideas for getting passengers aboard airplanes faster, based on a 2005 paper by Steven Skiena and others. Since then, the queue at the departure gate has only gotten longer. Now another … Continue reading

Posted in computing, modern life | 8 Comments

The end of the number line

Very likely you already know how to count, but let’s review anyway. The usual counting sequence for the natural numbers starts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, … and goes on for quite some time. Some people prefer to start 0, … Continue reading

Posted in computing, mathematics | 7 Comments