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Math Bytes: Google Bombs, Chocolate-Covered Pi, and Other Cool Bits in Computing

Popular Science

By: Tim Chartier (Author)

152 pages, 19 b/w photos, 89 colour & 20 b/w illustrations, 10 tables

Princeton University Press

Hardback | Apr 2014 | #211375 | ISBN-13: 9780691160603
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £16.95 $21/€19 approx

About this book

Math Bytes provides a fun, hands-on approach to learning how mathematics and computing relate to the world around us and help us to better understand it. How can reposting on Twitter kill a movie's opening weekend? How can you use mathematics to find your celebrity look-alike? What is Homer Simpson's method for disproving Fermat's Last Theorem? Each topic in this refreshingly inviting book illustrates a famous mathematical algorithm or result – such as Google's PageRank and the traveling salesman problem – and the applications grow more challenging as you progress through the chapters.

But don't worry, helpful solutions are provided each step of the way. Math Bytes shows you how to do calculus using a bag of chocolate chips, and how to prove the Euler characteristic simply by doodling. Generously illustrated in color throughout, this lively and entertaining book also explains how to create fractal landscapes with a roll of the dice, pick a competitive bracket for March Madness, decipher the math that makes it possible to resize a computer font or launch an Angry Bird – and much, much more. All of the applications are presented in an accessible and engaging way, enabling beginners and advanced readers alike to learn and explore at their own pace – a bit and a byte at a time.

"How can you tell, by just looking, that 178212 + 184112 = 192212 is not a true statement? When you search for something on the web, how does Google know how to respond with the most relevant hits first? Chartier tells you how in this book. Each new discussion illustrates the almost supernatural explanatory nature of mathematics, promising many hours of enjoyment."
– Paul J. Nahin, author of Will You Be Alive 10 Years from Now?: And Numerous Other Curious Questions in Probability

"A magnificent and curious romp through a wonderful array of mathematical topics and applications: maze creation, Google's PageRank algorithm, doodling, the traveling salesman problem, math on The Simpsons, Fermat's Last Theorem, viral tweets, fractals, and so much more. Buy this book and feed your brain."
– Clifford A. Pickover, author of The Math Book

"Math Bytes is a playful and inviting collection of interesting mathematical examples and applications, sometimes in surprising places. Many of these applications are unique or put a new spin on things. The link to computing helps make many of the topics tangible to a general audience."
– Matt Lane, creator of the Math Goes Pop! Blog

"Readable and fun. There are few books like this one that engage with mathematics at this level of accessibility and tie into real-world contexts in a humorous yet rigorous way. Math Bytes reinforces the excitement of mathematics and its relevance to modern culture."
– Peter McOwan, Queen Mary, University of London

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Tim Chartier is associate professor of mathematics at Davidson College. He is the coauthor of Numerical Methods (Princeton).

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