Category Archives: mathematics

Mrs. Nguyen’s prestidigitation

From a set of 1 through 9 playing cards, I draw five cards and get cards showing 8, 4, 2, 7, and 5. I ask my 6th graders to make a 3-digit number and a 2-digit number that would yield … Continue reading

Posted in mathematics | 7 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

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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

The pi man

Some weeks ago a reader sent me a note about an old article of mine, written back in 1989. The PDF, he reported, was missing a page. So I went scrounging through some untidy heaps of papers, found a copy, … Continue reading

Posted in computing, mathematics | 6 Comments