By Assad Ebrahim, on May 21st, 2014 (1,743 views)
Topic: General Interest
Duelling with pistols. If you were the one issuing the challenge, your dilemma was that custom dictated that your adversary be allowed to shoot first. Only then, if you were still able to shoot, would you be permitted to seek “satisfaction”.
How much of an advantage does the first shooter really have? In this article, we build a simple probability model, and implement a numerical model in a few lines of R code.
Two gentleman face off in the snow. Convention dictates the challenged shoots first.
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By Assad Ebrahim, on April 15th, 2010 (6,758 views)
Topic: Education
Students who are hardworking and otherwise successful, but whose peers, mentors, and home environment are mostly nontechnical and disengaged from the ideas behind science and technology, are at substantially higher risk of disorientation, dissatisfaction, and disillusionment with mathematics and science.
In this article, I’ll develop this conjecture and suggest an approach that incorporates philosophical and humanistic elements into technical subjects. To reach and engage a broader popluation of students is critical if mathematics education is to directly contribute to the technical (& technological) literacy of a broader population of students.
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By Assad Ebrahim, on April 15th, 2010 (6,493 views)
Topic: Education, Phenomenology
An examination of mathematical methods and the search for mathematical meaning.
During your studies of mathematics, physics and engineering, you may find yourself distracted or troubled by meta questions about mathematics — questions that fall outside the syllabi of most of the coursework that you’ll take.
For those for whom this itch is persistent, what follows is an outline and reading list for a Course in the Philosophy and Foundations of Mathematics. Among the topics included are the relation of mathematics to science, the examination of mathematical method, and the search for mathematical meaning.
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By Assad Ebrahim and Carol Ouellette, on April 2nd, 2010 (5,791 views)
Topic: Mathematics, Technical
By Assad Ebrahim, on February 25th, 2010 (28,198 views)
Topic: Mathematics, Technical
Updated! February 5, 2017
The value of zero raised to the zero power, , has been discussed since the time of Euler in the 18th century (1700s). There are three reasonable choices: 1,0, or “indeterminate”. Despite consensus amongst mathematicians that the correct answer is one, computing platforms seem to have reached a variety of conclusions: Google, R, Octave, Ruby, and Microsoft Calculator choose 1; Hexelon Max and TI36 calculator choose 0; and Maxima and Excel throw an error (indeterminate). In this article, I’ll explain why, for discrete mathematics, the correct answer cannot be anything other than 0^0=1, for reasons that go beyond consistency with the Binomial Theorem (Knuth’s argument).
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Reading List… MathematicsApplications
MathematicsTechnical
MathematicsPhenomenology
Mathematics Education
Advanced Technology
Programming / Software Engineering

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