Math Bytes: Google Bombs, Chocolate-Covered Pi, and Other Cool Bits in Computing

Math Bytes: Google Bombs, Chocolate-Covered Pi, and Other Cool Bits in Computing

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by Tim Chartier
     
 

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This book provides a fun, hands-on approach to learning how mathematics and computing relate to the world around us and help us to better understand it. How can reposting on Twitter kill a movie’s opening weekend? How can you use mathematics to find your celebrity look-alike? What is Homer Simpson’s method for disproving Fermat’s Last Theorem?

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Overview

This book provides a fun, hands-on approach to learning how mathematics and computing relate to the world around us and help us to better understand it. How can reposting on Twitter kill a movie’s opening weekend? How can you use mathematics to find your celebrity look-alike? What is Homer Simpson’s method for disproving Fermat’s Last Theorem? Each topic in this refreshingly inviting book illustrates a famous mathematical algorithm or result--such as Google’s PageRank and the traveling salesman problem--and the applications grow more challenging as you progress through the chapters. But don’t worry, helpful solutions are provided each step of the way.

Math Bytes shows you how to do calculus using a bag of chocolate chips, and how to prove the Euler characteristic simply by doodling. Generously illustrated in color throughout, this lively and entertaining book also explains how to create fractal landscapes with a roll of the dice, pick a competitive bracket for March Madness, decipher the math that makes it possible to resize a computer font or launch an Angry Bird--and much, much more. All of the applications are presented in an accessible and engaging way, enabling beginners and advanced readers alike to learn and explore at their own pace--a bit and a byte at a time.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 2014

"[Math Bytes] manages to fulfill its aim of providing a 'tasty byte of math and computing' while following a clear, concise, and to-the-point format. . . . [P]rovides interesting insights to some of the complex, highly sophisticated algorithms that lie behind some of our most widely used technological resources."--Rachael Skyner, Science

"The author's humanistic, sincere enjoyment of communicating his selections permeates and I think defines the book. . . . The choice of topics and exposition details make the book entertainingly relevant."--Alexander Bogomolny, Cut the Knot

"Math Bytes is fun and full of puzzles and brainteasers in a mashup of mathematics, social media, and pop culture referencing Beyoncé, Google, and Twitter among others. . . . This reviewer is simply a fool for math puzzles (though some readers might stop at simply a fool). Math Bytes scratches that itch quite nicely."--Robert Schaefer, New York Journal of Books

"Printed on glossy paper and filled with colourful photographs, illustrations and diagrams on nearly every page, this book discusses mathematical ideas that can help us make sense of the digital world. The author's offbeat viewpoint comes from a truly unusual background; he studied mime with the legendary Marcel Marceau whilst pursuing his doctorate in applied maths."--Devorah Bennu, GrrlScientist, The Guardian

"Tim Chartier, a professor of mathematics at Davidson College, has put together a delightful book of recreational mathematics. His presentation of a large array of topics is accompanied by excellent graphics, many in color. . . . In sum, a fun book."--Philip J. Davis, SIAM News

"The mathematical topics are interesting and informative; if you teach at the college level, you are likely to find some interesting fodder for your courses here. You also may, as I did, learn some new things yourself. . . . This book, which is filled with photos, drawings, and anecdotes, is a treasure trove of amusing mathematical vignettes. It makes for very pleasant summer reading."--Mark Hunacek, MAA Reviews

"The reader is constantly challenged to think about it or answer certain questions and to solve some problems (some solutions are provided at the end). Most of all, it's such a lovely little booklet that does not give you the time to get bored with. The average chapter length, including the many illustrations, is only 10 pages. Just enough to catch your interest and get bitten by the mathematics."--A. Bultheel, European Mathematical Society

"For readers who love math, computing and puzzles, Math Bytes will be a welcome gift."--George Erdosh, San Francisco Book Review

"[L]ively and entertaining book. . . . All of the applications are presented in an accessible and engaging way, enabling beginners and advanced readers alike to learn and explore at their own pace--a bit and a byte at a time."--Zentralblatt MATH

"A mathematical Pandora's box released is perhaps the best way to describe this book. It overflows with ideas, flitting from one fascinating topic to the next, often without an apparent connection. The range is impressive. . . . Everyone should find a 'math byte' of interest in this book, and perhaps end up finding other topics of interest as well."--
Choice

"I definitely learnt a few new things and was entertained as I did so. Furthermore, anything that spreads the message that mathematics is both interesting and useful has to be a good thing, so I wish this book success."--Rob Ashmore, Mathematics Today

"A fun collection of mathematical applications that has something for everyone, even mathphobes."--Anne Quinn, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781400851423
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
04/06/2014
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
152
File size:
10 MB

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Tim Chartier is associate professor of mathematics at Davidson College. He is the coauthor of Numerical Methods (Princeton).

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Math Bytes: Google Bombs, Chocolate Covered Pi, and Other Cool Bits in Computing 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
FRINGEINDEPENEDENTREVIEW More than 1 year ago
Are you new to math, studying math or a few years since you have really use it? If you are, then this book is for you. Author Tim Chartier, has written an outstanding book that discusses mathematical techniques that can recognize a disguised celebrity and rank web pages with the roll of a pair of dice. The author begins by applying mathematics to a variety of topics. Next, he shows you how even the most foundational mathematical operation can be tricky and requires attention. Then, the author discusses various mathematical techniques, which are similar to a search algorithm in computer science, known as a binary search, which can find an entry called the search key in a sorted list. In addition, he examines how to create an image point by point (which can be very difficult and, indeed quite time consuming), which is called a fractal and known as Sierpinski’s triangle. Also, the author shows you how functions like y = 3x + 1 and y = 5 - x² enable a computer to create a font like the one that comprises these words or plot the path of an Angry Bird through the air. He then begins doodling as inspired by E.B. Burger and, by the end, use a math theorem to create a maze. Next, the author continues by showing you how to mathematically transform a digital image into a stylized portrait. Then, he shows you how the sugary surface of your cake can be a workplace to perform some calculus or calculate an estimate to the value of pi. In addition, he explains how computers allow for easy methods of image manipulation. Also, the author then works with a library of grayscale images of 16 famous people (with regards to facial recognition), in order to find the combination of these pictures that best approximates a target image. He then explains the mathematical complexities of predicting the 64-team bracket during March Madness; of which there are 9 quintillion ways to fill out a 64-team bracket. Next, the author shows you how to answer the question: What are some of the math and computing issues involved in returning web pages in an orderly fashion? Finally, with this bit of mathematics, he encourages all of us to use what he has explored in this book, as a springboard into a large array of exciting areas of mathematical studies. Throughout this excellent book, you’ll find hands-on activities from using chocolate, to estimating pi, to computing a trajectory of flight in Angry Birds. In other words, he hopes that this great book will broaden a reader’s perspective of how math can be used!