Yearly Archives: 2012

Computing with encrypted data

Let’s suppose you are a client of the notorious accounting firm Dewey, Cheetham & Howe. You want them to compute your income tax, but you don’t trust them with the confidential details of your financial life. This impasse seems insurmountable. … Continue reading

Posted in uncategorized | 2 Comments

The Jevons Number

I was doing some reading in the history of cryptography when I came upon a reference to a 1996 article by Solomon W. Golomb. Golomb always has something interesting to say, so I had to go off and find the … Continue reading

Posted in books, computing, mathematics, science, statistics | 14 Comments

Methuselah’s choice

My late friend Stan Ulam used to remark that his life was sharply divided into two halves. In the first half, he was always the youngest person in the group; in the second half, he was always the oldest. There … Continue reading

Posted in mathematics, modern life, social science | 7 Comments

Light-field photography

Beyond digital photography lies computational photography, which holds out the promise of extracting more bits from every photon. When I wrote about this idea a few years ago, I had no hands-on experience with computational cameras. The first widely available … Continue reading

Posted in photography | 5 Comments

Statistical mechanics of magnet balls

They come out of the can in a gleaming 6 × 6 × 6 cubic crystal. It took me a day to figure out how to get them back into the can. But that’s not the deepest mystery about these … Continue reading

Posted in featured, physics | 12 Comments