“So what have you been into this semester?” ~ My Doctor “Well I’ve been having issues, not with the amount of work but with the content of two of my classes.” I reply “Oh what would those be?”  “Let’s write papers about your family and war crimes.” The response to me is an indicator of […]

Waves, Hazards, and Guesses

Some matters of gravity in science Moshe Vardi is famous for many things, including his brilliant turn as the Editor-in-Chief of the Communications of the ACM. In the current issue he contributed an Editor’s Letter titled “The Moral Hazard of Complexity-Theoretic Assumptions.” Today Ken and I want to comment on Moshe’s piece and the larger […]

The Dragon Hiding in the Tree – Robert Fathauer

“This short movie demonstrates an unexpected relationship between the canonical Pythagorean Tree and the Dragon Curve. This is based on folding the tree according to a particular sets of rules, shown in an animation created using Mathematica and Photoshop. A naturalistic fractal tree based on this construct is also shown. Relationships between binary Pythagorean Trees […]

Quantum Chess

Two years ago, as a graduate student in Physics at USC,  I began work on a game whose mechanics were based on quantum mechanics. When I had a playable version ready, my graduate adviser, Todd Brun, put me in contact with IQIM’s Spiros Michalakis, who had already worked with Google to design qCraft, a mod […]

Almost disjoint sets

It is intuitive and easy to see that if is a countable set and , where , is a disjoint collection of subsets, then is countable. (Although one has to be careful with saying “intuitive” and “easy to see” in set theory.) A natural question is, what happens if we allow the sets to have […]


Sometimes you loose perspective, you get caught up in the all consuming vat of flaming quicksand that is academia, you obsess over deadlines, hate yourself over percieved expectations, you sacrifice your health, you worry about burning out. Then something happens, not to you or really someone really that close to you and it all telescopes. […]


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