Archive for the ‘probability’ Category

A Power Law

10May13

One of my advisees this semester, George Okeowo, investigated the error messages produced by Python, using a corpus of 600000 buggy programs submitted by students to the Computer Science Circles website. The project was focused on writing beginner-understandable versions of error messages, focusing on the most common errors. A side-effect of the investigation was to […]


Last weekend I attended a conference in Budapest where I saw a nice trick in an unexpected place. (A longer report about the whole trip will appear on the CS Theory Blog.) Wikipedia calls it de Moivre’s martingale and the reason that I liked it is that it somehow gives me some intuition, that I formerly […]


I was reading a book called “Luck, Logic & White Lies” over the weekend, to prepare to teach a game theory course next term. It pointed out a couple of other “solved” games of a different nature. Checkers is a game with no hidden information and no simultaneous moves. Any game of this sort always […]


Cheating Taxes

16May07

I saw a talk today with (for once!) some useful advice. It was by Bala Ravikumar and he discussed Benford’s law, which says that in “real life” the first digit of numbers tend to be small. (Benford’s law basically says that the distribution of miscellaneous data is uniform on a logarithmic scale. On a logarithmic […]


I gave an informal talk today on random walks. (Blog entry pre-dated to actual talk date.) In a random walk on the d-dimensional grid, we start at the origin of Zd. At each step, pick one of the d coordinates (uniformly) at random, then flip a coin, and depending on the outcome add +1 or […]