Tag: mathematics

A free, self-taught education in Computer Science!

A free, self-taught education in Computer Science!

The Open Source Society University offers a complete education in computer science using online materials.

They offer a proper introduction to the fundamental concepts for all computing disciplines. Evyerthing form algorithms, logic, and machine learning, up to databases, full stack web development, and graphics is covered. Moreover, you will acquire skills in a variety of languages, including Python, Java, C, C++, Scala, JavaScript, and many more.

According to their GitHub page, the curriculum is suited for people with the discipline, will, and good habits to obtain this education largely on their own, but who’d still like support from a worldwide community of fellow learners.

Curriculum

  • Intro CS: for students to try out CS and see if it’s right for them
  • Core CS: corresponds roughly to the first three years of a computer science curriculum, taking classes that all majors would be required to take
  • Advanced CS: corresponds roughly to the final year of a computer science curriculum, taking electives according to the student’s interests
  • Final Project: a project for students to validate, consolidate, and display their knowledge, to be evaluated by their peers worldwide
  • Pro CS: graduate-level specializations students can elect to take after completing the above curriculum if they want to maximize their chances of getting a good job

It is possible to finish Core CS within about 2 years if you plan carefully and devote roughly 18-22 hours/week to your studies. Courses in Core CS should be taken linearly if possible, but since a perfectly linear progression is rarely possible, each class’s prerequisites are specified so that you can design a logical but non-linear progression based on the class schedules and your own life plans.

Links to the contents

Links to the curriculum (v8.0.0)

Turning the Traveling Salesman problem into Art

Turning the Traveling Salesman problem into Art

Robert Bosch is a professor of Natural Science at the department of Mathematics of Oberlin College and has found a creative way to elevate the travelling salesman problem to an art form.

For those who aren’t familiar with the travelling salesman problem (wiki), it is a classic algorithmic problem in the field of computer science and operations research. Basically, we want are looking for a mathematical solution that is cheapest, shortest, or fastest for a given problem. Most commonly, it is seen as a graph (network) describing the locations of a set of nodes (elements in that network). Wikipedia has a description I can’t improve on:

The Travelling Salesman Problem describes a salesman who must travel between N cities. The order in which he does so is something he does not care about, as long as he visits each once during his trip, and finishes where he was at first. Each city is connected to other close by cities, or nodes, by airplanes, or by road or railway. Each of those links between the cities has one or more weights (or the cost) attached. The cost describes how “difficult” it is to traverse this edge on the graph, and may be given, for example, by the cost of an airplane ticket or train ticket, or perhaps by the length of the edge, or time required to complete the traversal. The salesman wants to keep both the travel costs, as well as the distance he travels as low as possible.

Wikipedia

Here’s a visual representation of the problem and some algorithmic approaches to solving it:

Now, Robert Bosch has applied the traveling salesman problem to well-know art pieces, trying to redraw them by connecting a series of points with one continuous line. Robert even turned it into a challenge so people can test out how well their travelling salesman algorithms perform on, for instance, the Mona Lisa, or Vincent van Gogh.

Just look at the detail on these awesome Dutch classics:

Read more about this awesome project here: http://www.math.uwaterloo.ca/tsp/data/art/

P.S. Why do Brits and Americans have this spelling feud?! As a non-native, I never know what to pick. Should I write modelling or modeling, travelling or traveling, tomato or tomato? I got taught the U.K. style, but the U.S. style pops up whenever I google stuff, so I am constantly confused! Now I subconciously intertwine both styles in a single text…

2019 Shortlist for the Royal Society Prize for Science Books

2019 Shortlist for the Royal Society Prize for Science Books

Since 1988, the Royal Society has celebrated outstanding popular science writing and authors.

Each year, a panel of expert judges choose the book that they believe makes popular science writing compelling and accessible to the public.

Over the decades, the Prize has celebrated some notable winners including Bill Bryson and Stephen Hawking.

The author of the winning book receives £25,000 and £2,500 is awarded to each of the five shortlisted books. And this year’s shortlist includes some definite must-reads on data and statistics!

Infinite Powers – by Steven Strogatz

The captivating story of mathematics’ greatest ever idea: calculus. Without it, there would be no computers, no microwave ovens, no GPS, and no space travel. But before it gave modern man almost infinite powers, calculus was behind centuries of controversy, competition, and even death. 

Taking us on a thrilling journey through three millennia, Professor Steven Strogatz charts the development of this seminal achievement, from the days of Archimedes to today’s breakthroughs in chaos theory and artificial intelligence. Filled with idiosyncratic characters from Pythagoras to Fourier, Infinite Powers is a compelling human drama that reveals the legacy of calculus in nearly every aspect of modern civilisation, including science, politics, medicine, philosophy, and more.

https://royalsociety.org/grants-schemes-awards/book-prizes/science-book-prize/2019/infinite-powers/

Invisible Women – by Caroline Criado Perez

Imagine a world where your phone is too big for your hand, where your doctor prescribes a drug that is wrong for your body, where in a car accident you are 47% more likely to be seriously injured, where every week the countless hours of work you do are not recognised or valued. If any of this sounds familiar, chances are that you’re a woman.

Invisible Women shows us how, in a world largely built for and by men, we are systematically ignoring half the population. It exposes the gender data gap–a gap in our knowledge that is at the root of perpetual, systemic discrimination against women, and that has created a pervasive but invisible bias with a profound effect on women’s lives. From government policy and medical research, to technology, workplaces, urban planning and the media, Invisible Women reveals the biased data that excludes women.

https://royalsociety.org/grants-schemes-awards/book-prizes/science-book-prize/2019/invisible-women/

Six Impossible Things – by John Gribbin

This book does not deal with data or statistics specifically, but might even be more interesting, as it covers the topic of quantum physics:

Quantum physics is strange. It tells us that a particle can be in two places at once. That particle is also a wave, and everything in the quantum world can be described entirely in terms of waves, or entirely in terms of particles, whichever you prefer. 

All of this was clear by the end of the 1920s, but to the great distress of many physicists, let alone ordinary mortals, nobody has ever been able to come up with a common sense explanation of what is going on. Physicists have sought ‘quanta of solace’ in a variety of more or less convincing interpretations. 

This short guide presents us with the six theories that try to explain the wild wonders of quantum. All of them are crazy, and some are crazier than others, but in this world crazy does not necessarily mean wrong, and being crazier does not necessarily mean more wrong.

https://royalsociety.org/grants-schemes-awards/book-prizes/science-book-prize/2019/six-impossible-things/

The other shortlisted books