HAKMEM

So, this time of the year is approaching again (well, round two of “this time of the year”) and I am trying my best to find interest in endless strings of exciting problems involving decks of cards being shuffled and drawn randomly (that’s the warm up part, nearly fun in comparison to the rest), Gaussian distributions and Kolmogorov-Smirnov tests (that’s the part where you wish every Russian great minds had focused solely on refining vodka filtering processes instead of coming up with barbaric statistical formula)…

All these coins tossed a million times, checkmate combinations, statistics and game theory stuff reminded me of something I used to read with much more passion (back when I could still summon some sort of enthusiasm for math-related stuff): MIT AI Lab Memo 239 aka HAKMEM.

The HAKMEM is a compilation of tips, tricks and riddles for the math and computer geek.

Some of them are very outmoded (unless PDP-10 programming is your thing), but most are still entirely relevant (notably a handful of small theorems and empirical results, some of which still haven’t been proven to this day, afaik). There is also a lot of small numerical tricks, à la TAOCP that can be really useful in [near-]everyday software development.

Anyway if geeky math is your thing and you feel bored, then you should probably check it out. And if that sounds like rather uninteresting stuff, let me assure you that what I’m reading right now is a thousand times worse.

This, also to announce that post frequency on this blog is going to be lowered dramatically over the next 15 days (by a forecasted 58% ±6.3%, with a posting average standard deviation of 0.276), due to intensive last-minute efforts to reverse the adverse effects of a life of mind-altering substance abuse and cram two years of university Math & Physics program in whatever’s left of my brain.

After that, expect to see a lot of pretty pictures of European cities including many depictions of yours truly in miscellaneous advanced states of drunkenness, celebrating either his miraculous success in this venture or, quite possibly, his utter failure and ensuing humiliation at the hands of a hord of vicious French university scholars.

Leave a Reply