Saturday, February 26, 2022
Wow!... this isn't focused on math per se, but no doubt there is math included in the subjects referenced in this piece (H/T to Ivan Oransky):
Friday, February 25, 2022
A nice wrap-up of mathematical news bits for February, from The Aperiodical:
Wednesday, February 23, 2022
Tuesday, February 22, 2022
Sunday, February 20, 2022
In case you enjoy twisting your brain in knots:
Friday, February 18, 2022
Jim Propp muses about the nature of the primes:
Wednesday, February 16, 2022
Wednesday, February 9, 2022
Michael Harris stirs the pot (...the Association for Mathematical Research):
Monday, February 7, 2022
Lest you miss it, Grant Sanderson (3blue1brown) has entered the Wordle fray now:
[Less empirically, I wrote a little about Wordle less than a week ago HERE.]
One thing I'm not completely clear on, BTW, is when many of these recent pieces analyzing Wordle talk about "letter frequency" is whether they are simply employing well-published figures for letter frequency in English, or are they in fact using (as they ought be) letter frequency specifically in 5-letter words, as easily computable from the Wordle corpus of use? I would expect those two figures to be similar but not the same, and hopefully they are using the latter.
Also, there's tremendous emphasis placed on first word choice in the game, and more and more second word choice seems key to me for winning in 3 to 4 guesses. At least I'm finding increasingly that I can generally get the target word in 4 tries almost regardless of my first word choice so long as I spend enough analysis time on my 2nd and 3rd choices. Certain first word options simply incrementally increase the chance of 3rd guess winners.
It would be interesting to actually run a competition between some real word-maven aficionados (who have a "feel" for the game) versus some strictly (brute force) algorithmic programs and see who would achieve best scores (no time limit), and by what amount.
Sunday, February 6, 2022
Saturday, February 5, 2022
Friday, February 4, 2022
RJ Lipton ponders the future, for the "next big thing":
Wednesday, February 2, 2022
Everybody seems to be doin' it, thinking about it, or just seein' and wonderin' about it! Longish piece from The Aperiodical on the latest online viral hit game, "Wordle":
Though, like many, they compare it to the classic game "Mastermind," for at least a few of us oldsters it is even more reminiscent of "Jotto," my favorite (word) game growing up in the 50's and 60's, and still available in online versions (in fact, I find it a bit ironic and funny that some guy has suddenly made a ton of $$$ with Wordle, when Jotto has been quietly around for... well, a verrrry much longer time!)
As to "best" starting words for Wordle (a much discussed/theorized topic) I'm surprised that more people haven't settled on my two starters: "ADIEU" or "AUDIO" -- with these starters I rarely require more than 4 entries to get the target word, and probably at least 20% of the time 3 entries suffice (...but then I'm a pretty good guesser once I get it down to 4 or fewer word possibilities).
The 2nd word choice obviously is also very key to this game, but it is highly dependent on the results of the first word choice. Most often though, my second word will derive from these letters: r, s, t, y, either o or e, and one of the letters pinpointed by the 1st word guess; however, c, h, l, or n, may end up subbing for one of those choices in some instances; and the exact results of the first word choice may, more rarely, lead to still other letter choices for guess #2.
Now, with the NY Times purchasing Wordle for a tidy little sum, not certain what its future will be, for the game or its millions of addicts for whom Wordle is as much a start of the day as is coffee.
Having read a number of articles now touting various "best" starting words, pointing to the sort I used to use based upon letter frequency, I went back and tried that approach again, fairly successfully. Then I started trying unlikely starting words (zebra, radar, oozes, queen, excel, etc.), and what I'm largely discovering is that I can most often solve Wordles within 4 guesses by the careful, thoughtful selection of the 2nd and if needed 3rd guess, REGARDLESS of the first word choice! 'Rules' for the selection of the 2nd & 3rd word choice are what really need to be spelled out, though they are difficult because they are so dependent upon the the highly variable results of first word choice. Anyway, it all says something interesting about the redundancy and patterning of language.