Mathematics

A University of Leicester mathematician has been working with scientists in Japan and The Netherlands to develop a new technique that produces accurate mathematical models of the actual behaviour of nerve (neural) cells. Developing such models requires detailed information about the dynamics of components responsible for the spike generation in the cell.

The main barrier between mathematical modelling and reality is that the most of intrinsic variables of living cell are not available for direct observation. Dr Ivan Tyukin and his colleagues developed a method for automatic reconstructing of hidden variables describing the cell dynamics using only the recordings of evoked electric activity of the cell.

So, you've seen the WSOP on ESPN—big money, big personalities, big bluffs. But what these highlight reels forget to mention is the fact that, at the highest level, there's method behind the blood-pumping madness. Behind every good bluff is a strong foundation of numbers. And here it is: the equation that defines when to pull the trigger, even if you're holding three-six offsuit.

Plug your numbers into this equation (or into the attached spreadsheet calculator) to calculate the percentage that you should bluff. Note—this works well for a specific situation: No Limit Texas Hold' Em, just after seeing the flop.

Rather than waxing poetic, it seems best to look at the variables in order:

In yacht racing, a one percent difference in boat resistance leads to a gain or loss of more than 30 seconds in a match race.

Computational fluid dynamics research done by the winning Swiss Alinghi America's Cup syndicate led to gains of 2-5 percent in drag reduction on appendages like the keel, bulb and winglets, absolutely essential gains when you take into consideration that opponent Emirates Team New Zealand won two of the first three races but lost when the wind was more difficult.

Advanced numerical methods have come a long way, it seems.

The 2007 America's Cup was the first time every major contender used applied mathematics and computer simulation. As competition gets more fierce, the optimization of every part becomes more important.

New Scientist has written an article stating that new quantum technology can run a routine called Shor’s algorithm and that means the most dangerous threat posed by quantum computing, the ability to break the codes that protect our personal data, is now a step closer to reality.

Worse, they report this feat has been performed by not one but two research groups, acting independently; one led by Andrew White at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, and the other by Chao-Yang Lu of the University of Science and Technology of China, in Hefei. Both teams have built laser-based quantum computers that can implement Shor’s algorithm and defeat today’s most common encryption systems.

Full article: http://www.newscientist.com

University of Cincinnati Assistant Professor Michael Fry and student Andrew Lundberg have an interesting approach to the fantasy football draft: all you really need to know is what set of players is not going to be available when your turn comes up.

Fry and Lundberg published their results in the Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports with co-author Jeffrey Ohlmann from the University of Iowa.

Fantasy sports drafts have a sequential order in which owners choose players from the available remaining pool of players.

Did a group of Indian scholars out-math Newton hundreds of years before he was born?

Dr George Gheverghese Joseph from The University of Manchester says the ‘Kerala School’ in India identified the ‘infinite series’- one of the founding principles of modern mathematics and a basic component of calculus - in about 1350.

Circumstantial evidence listed by Gheverghese also says that the Indians passed on their discoveries to mathematically knowledgeable Jesuit missionaries who visited India during the fifteenth century and that knowledge may have been passed on to Sir Isaac later.

The discovery is attributed ( wrongly, says Gheverghese ) to Newton and Gottfried Leibnitz at the end of the seventeenth centuries.

The team from the Universities of Manchester and Exeter reveal the Kerala

The answer is, of course... it depends. But with gas prices as high as they are these days, it’s good to know when it’s worthwhile to drive a few miles to save five cents a gallon, or when it’s just better to fill up at the station around the corner.

To determine where you should top off your tank, it’s just a matter of running the numbers.

A new way of looking at a previously abandoned mathematical model might help astronomers study and accurately identify an exotic clan of gravitational waves.

The waves in question come from small black holes or neutron stars in extremely elongated orbits around vastly larger black holes, says Dr. Lior Burko, an assistant physics professor at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH). "This reopens an area of research that was closed several years ago."

The exotic gravitational waves are generated (as predicted by general relativity theory) when an orbiting compact object changes speed, accelerating as it approaches the larger black hole and slowing as it moves away.

Have you ever been trying to solve a Sudoku puzzle and been gripped by a sinking feeling that maybe you were stuck with a lemon? That maybe the puzzle you are struggling with actually has no solution at all and, if you do find a solution, how can you be sure it's the only one? What if half an hour ago you had written 5 instead of 3---would you then have gone down a path to a completely different solution?

The authors of a new study use tools from the branch of mathematics called graph theory to systematically analyze Sudoku puzzles.

'Tis the season—the real estate season—and though this one isn't shaping up to be the boomer of two years ago, or even the desperate sell-off of last summer, people will nevertheless be buying houses. If you are one of these people, read on. It's a buyers market this year (or so my real estate agent tells me), but which house is right for you? Use this equation to find out—it works surprisingly well.