Category Archives: computing

Whales of the Web

The average web site has links connecting it with 29 other sites. I came up with this number in the following way. A data set I’ve been playing with for a few weeks lists 43 million web sites and 623 … Continue reading

Posted in computing | 7 Comments

A taxing algorithm

My first encounter with the term algorithm did not come from Don Knuth. I learned it from the Internal Revenue Service. Sometime in the late 1960s or early 70s the IRS introduced a redesigned Form 1040 based on a principle … Continue reading

Posted in computing, modern life | 12 Comments

A quasirandom talk

I’ll be giving a talk at Harvard this Friday, February 6: “Orderly Randomness: Quasirandom Numbers and Quasi–Monte Carlo.” If you’re in the neighborhood, please stop by. Lunch at 12:30; quasirandomness at 1:00 pm. Update 2015-02-08: Slides online. And video.

Posted in computing, mathematics | 1 Comment


Pick a number, N, then try searching for it on the web via Bing or Google (or maybe the leet version of Google). What can you expect to learn? I wasn’t quite sure of the answer, so I ran some … Continue reading

Posted in computing, mathematics | 20 Comments

Four Fifths = A Fifth

Browsing in the library stacks the other day, I came upon this passage in a 1970 paper discussing the uses of computers in mathematics: Notice anything fishy about that equation? On the right side of the equal sign we have … Continue reading

Posted in computing, mathematics | 8 Comments