We take another look at algorithms. Tim Hwang explains how Uber’s algorithms generate phantom cars and marketplace mirages. And we revisit our conversation with Christian Sandvig who, last year asked Facebook users to explain how they imagine the Edgerank algorithm works (this is the algorithm that powers Facebook’s news feed). Sandvig discovered that most of his subjects had no idea there even was an algorithm at work. Plus James Essinger and Suw Charman-Anderson, tell us about Ada Lovelace, the woman who wrote the first computer program (or as James puts it – Algorithm) in 1843.
Tagged with “numbers” (28)
Interview with Alex Bellos, author of the book Grapes of Math: How Life Reflects Number and Numbers Reflect Life.
On "Word of Mouth" program on New Hampshire Public Radio
Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined by comedian Dave Gorman, and maths author Alex Bellos, and number theorist Vicky Neale to discuss the joy of numbers and why we are all closet mathematicians at heart.
If you tune around on a shortwave radio, you might stumble across a voice reciting an endless stream of numbers. Just numbers, all day, everyday. These so-called “numbers stations,” say nothing about where they are transmitting from or who they are trying to reach, but they can be heard in Spanish, Thai, German, Russian, Chinese, and any number of other languages from around the world.
These mysterious shortwave transmissions caught the attention of producer David Goren when he was just a kid. His piece, Atencion! Seis Siete Tres Siete Cero: The Mystery of the Shortwave Numbers Stations, aired in 2000 as part of the series Lost and Found Sound. In tuning into these weird little broadcasts, Goren joins a curious community that has been listening to numbers stations for decades, some suspecting that the stations are run by intelligence agencies sending encrypted messages to individual agents in the field.
Podcast: Download (Duration: 23:36 — 21.7MB)
They’re millions of digits long, and it takes an army of mathematicians and machines to hunt them down — what’s not to love about monster primes? Adam Spencer, comedian and lifelong math geek, shares his passion for these odd numbers, and for the mysterious magic of math.
Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss random and pseudorandom numbers. Randomness will be familiar to anybody who’s bought a lottery ticket or shuffled a pack of cards. But there’s also a phenomenon known as pseudo-randomness –numbers which look random but aren’t. So why are these numbers useful and how can they be generated? Melvyn is joined by Marcus du Sautoy, Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford; Colva Roney-Dougal, Senior Lecturer in Pure Mathematics at the University of St Andrews; and Timothy Gowers, Royal Society Research Professor in Mathematics at the University of Cambridge.
In the 1940s and 1950s, a group of brilliant engineers led by John von Neumann gathered in Princeton, New Jersey with the joint goal of realizing Alan Turing’s theoretical universal machine-a thought experiment that scientists use to understand the limits of mechanical computation. As a result of their fervent work, the crucial advancements that dominated 20th century technology emerged. In Turing’s Cathedral, technology historian George Dyson recreates the scenes of focused experimentation, mathematical insight, and creative genius that broke the distinction between numbers that mean things and numbers that do things-giving us computers, digital television, modern genetics, and models of stellar evolution. Also a philosopher of science, Dyson’s previous books include Baidarka, Darwin Among the Machines, and Project Orion. (recorded 3/13/2012)
Join author and journalist Alex Bellos for a surprising and entertaining look at the world of mathematics.
By bringing together history, reportage and mathematical proofs, and covering subjects from adding to algebra, from set theory to statistics, and from logarithms to logical paradoxes, Alex Bellos reveals how mathematical ideas underpin just about everything in our lives.
Join Alex Bellos at the RSA to discover the beauty of mathematical patterns in nature, the peculiar predictability of random behaviour, how to win at the casino, the deep connections between maths, religion and philosophy, and why the best Scrabble players are mathematicians.
Speaker:Alex Bellos, writer, broadcaster and author of Futebol, the Brazilian Way of Life (Bloomsbury, 2002) and Alex’s Adventures in Numberland (Bloomsbury, 2010).
Chair:Matthew Taylor, chief executive, RSA.
Leonard Mlodinow, of the California Institute of Technology is the author of The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives. His lecture on the subject of randomness was presented by the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo, Ontario on May 6th, 2009.
Recorded at the London School of Economics.
Speaker: Professor Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, Professor of Politics at NYU and Senior Fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution.
Chair: Professor Richard Steinberg
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