The two curses of dimensionality

The curse of dimensionality made its print appearance in Richard Bellman’s 1957 book Dynamic programming. It was an outcry over the impossibilities of dealing with functions of many variables when a computer with a million bytes of memory seemed beyond imagination.…

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Given a wall, who wins?

Walls guard. Walls constrain. They defy us to break them. And so it has been since the dawn of agriculture. We see defensive walls protecting ancient cities from China through sub-Saharan Africa. Their widespread prevalence is a testment of their desirability.…

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Markov's bound

I find it much easier to understand math from another person than from just reading it. One of my theories of why, is that the painful and tortuous way something gets understood is not the way it gets written up.…

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Grubbs' outliers

When collecting data for analysis strange things happen that make their way into the dataset. Sometimes those strange things are mistakes and we try to get rid of them, other times, they really are part of the data and we have to deal with them.…

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The prisoners' dilemma story

There are too many ways to tell the prisoner’s dillema story. The original is due to Tucker, a version memorialized in a handout dated May 1950, part of which I have transcribed below, as it is so hard to find.…

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