Mathematician says Candy Crush is really, really hard

I confess that I occasionally laugh at my mathematician friends. (They laugh at me all the time.)

What stirs me is the stimulus/response mechanism that urges them to reduce everything to math. It doesn't matte whether it's global warming or intercontinental warring, they can find a mathematical answer.

I know it's not (always) their fault, but when they start to discuss who ate what at dinner, in order to split the check, my teeth begin to talk among themselves.

I am secretly overjoyed, therefore, that mathematicians have declared that something mundane is quite difficult for them.… Read more

Google subtracts MathML from Chrome, and anger multiplies

MathML, a years-old technology for displaying mathematical equations and formulas on the Web that has strong advocates at scholars and researchers, stands at a crossroads.

Firefox and Safari support it, but Internet Explorer does not. Google could help tip the balance in favor of MathML, but it's concluded the technology isn't justified. It's supporting a workaround called MathJax that instead uses JavaScript, the Web's programming language, but the company's position has displeased some who want mathematics to be a native citizen of the Web, not a slower-performing outsider.

Google -- a company with a research cultureRead more

Yep, Apple's A7 looks twice as fast -- at least for fractal math

Is Apple's A7 chip twice as fast at processing and graphics, as Apple promised when announcing the new iPhone 5S? At least for Ben Weiss, the answer is yes -- but his app is unusually well suited to take advantage of the new processor's features.

The app in question is Iter9's new Frax app for generating lavishly detailed fractal imagery by running mathematics calculations on both the CPU and GPU. It gets a major speed boost on the iPhone 5S, Weiss said, evident in faster rendering times for the swirling psychedelic images laboriously calculated one pixel at … Read more

Frax app brings fractal-exploration glory to iOS

In 1983, intrigued by an article on fractals, I wrote a program to display the Mandelbrot set on my family's TRS-80 Color Computer. It had a maximum screen resolution of 256x192 when plugged into our TV, had 16KB of memory after we soldered on new memory chips, and ground through the calculations so slowly that I had to wait for each pixel to show.

My, how times have changed.

On Wednesday, some computer graphics veterans released a new fractal exploration app called Frax for iOS devices. It brings a physical exploration style not just to panning and zooming, but … Read more

Google's Euler doodle highlights an O.G. math star

It's another good day to be a numbers nerd, at least based on Google's doodle tribute to Swiss super-mathematician Leonhard Euler that showed up earlier.

How appropriate that Euler, considered the pre-eminent mathematician of the 18th century, should have been born on our modern Tax Day. Ignoring the IRS' big day is also likely to be much less controversial than failing to acknowledge Easter with a doodle.

If he'd lived to see his 306th birthday today something tells me Euler would either be one rockin' CPA, or the only guy to understand derivatives markets.… Read more

Playful new NY math museum not for squares

Math. The very word can conjure painful memories: long division, square roots, the quadratic equation.

Not only do many of us not like math; we're also not very good at it. In an international test of 15-year-olds, the U.S. placed 24th out of 64 countries.

"We don't currently, in this country, have a cultural expectation that yeah, you're going to learn math just like you're going to learn reading," said Glen Whitney. "It's OK to not be good at math."

Glen Whitney is good at math. He's got a Ph.D. in it, and is trying to change the way we think about one of our least favorite subjects. … Read more

Amateur effort finds new largest prime number

The Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search (GIMPS) project has scored its 14th consecutive victory, discovering the largest prime number so far.

The number, 2 to the power of 57,885,161 minus 1, is a digit that's 17,425,170 digits long. That's big enough that if you want to see the full text, you'll have to brace yourself for a 22.5MB download.

GIMPS, a cooperative project splitting the search across thousands of independent computers, announced the find yesterday after it had been confirmed by other checks. At present, there are 98,980 people and 574 … Read more

Use your handwriting to perform mathematical computations naturally

MyScript Calculator (iOS|Android) is an app for both iOS and Android that lets you perform mathematical operations with freehand writing of expressions on your touch screen. This app won the Mobile App Showdown award at CES 2013 and after some time spent using it, it's easy to see why.

The simple-looking interface mimics the look of graph paper. In the top right of the screen you have buttons for undo and redo, and a trash can for when you want to clear the screen completely. In the upper left you can open a menu where you can access … Read more

Chrome 24 brings math formatting, better offline abilities

Google released the stable version of Chrome 24 today, adding support for IndexedDB for apps that work better offline, mathematics formulas formatted with MathML, and faster JavaScript.

The new version also comes with a range of security fixes, including two $1,000 bounties and one $4,000 bounty paid to people who found high-severity vulnerabilities. Because Chrome automatically downloads updates by default in part to patch holes as fast as possible, people just need to restart the browser to update it.

IndexedDB, under development for years, is geared to store data for use even if a Web site or Web … Read more

Moebius House a super-sized strip of math wonder

The Moebius House doesn't look or sound real. It's designed to be built on a Korean island in a forest growing on volcanic rock. It's inspired by the unending brain teaser known as a Mobius strip.

Design firm Planning Korea has tackled some creative projects in the past, including designs for a mega-bridge over the Han River and a cocoon-shaped house that looks like it could hide a giant insect inside. It's no wonder those same architects saw a Mobius strip as a good basis for a house.… Read more