Discussion Questions

Submit your answers to Monday's questions

Submit your answers to Wednesday's questions

Monday:

  • Come up with a task that can be solved via several algorithms. Come up with a very bad algorithm. Come up with a good algorithm. Why is one algorithm bad and the other good?
  • What is Arthur Benjamin's multiplication algorithm? How does it compare to algorithms you know for "long multiplication"?
  • Come up with a scenario like Don Norman's "toilet paper algorithms" scenario where choice of algorithms is important.
  • Scott Aaronson's essay gets a bit technical, but try to understand as much as possible. What is the relationship between mathematics and algorithms? Between arithmetic and algorithms?

Wednesday:

  • Come up with a problem (not mentioned in any of the readings) where a solution is easy to check, but finding a solution is hard. Bonus points if your problem is important to some academic interest of yours.
  • Do you think P equals NP or not?
  • What is the positive impact of P not equal to NP? Negative impact?
  • What is the positive impact of P equal NP? Negative impact?

Reading and Media

Articles for the week can be obtained individually from their sources below.

Monday:

Wednesday:

XKCD: Travelling Salesman Problem

 

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