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A Beautiful 2 by 2 Matrix Identity

While working on a variation of the RcppDynProg algorithm we derived the following beautiful identity of 2 by 2 real matrices:

The superscript “top” denoting the transpose operation, the ||.||^2_2 denoting sum of squares norm, and the single |.| denoting determinant.

This is derived from one of the check equations for the Moore–Penrose inverse and we have details of the derivation here, and details of the messy algebra here.

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Proof style in the Erdős-Ko-Rado theorem

I recently wrote a tiny bit about the style of the original published proof of the Erdős-Ko-Rado theorem. In this note I’ll write a bit about the theorem and a bit more about the style of some later proofs. In particular I want to write about two different readings of Katona’s proof. Continue reading Proof style in the Erdős-Ko-Rado theorem

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Erdős writing like a programmer

Here is a neat example of famous mathematician Pál Erdős (often rendered in English as Paul Erdős) writing like a programmer in 1961. He goes to some trouble to introduce notation that allows him to index everything from zero. Continue reading Erdős writing like a programmer

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The Mathematician’s Dilemma

A recent run of too many articles on the same topic (exhibits: A, B and C) puts me in a position where I feel the need to explain my motivation. Which itself becomes yet another article related to the original topic. The explanation I offer is: this is the way mathematicians think. To us mathematicians the tension is that there are far too many observable patterns in the world to be attributed to mere chance. So our dilemma is: for which patterns/regularities should we derive some underlying law and which ones are not worth worrying about. Or which conjectures should try to work all the way to proof or counter-example? Continue reading The Mathematician’s Dilemma