## Braess’ Paradox and power grids

In class today we talked briefly about Braess’s Paradox. If you need a reminder (or if you were zoning out), it’s the concept that adding extra paths to a directed network (like a network showing the possible roads from starting point A to destination B) might actually decrease the overall performance of the network. This […]

## The next up and coming food craze

If you are a fervent coffee drinker, you’ve probably heard of the pumpkin spice latte concocted by the reigning coffee maker in America: Starbucks. This drink appears yearly on the menu around the Thanksgiving period as a specialty drink and Starbucks has since sold more than 200 million pumpkin spice lattes since its conception in […]

## Applying Nash Equilibrium to Rock, Paper, and Scissors

Nash Equilibrium is a pair of strategies in which each player’s strategy is a best response to the other player’s strategy. In a game like Prisoner’s Dilemma, there is one pure Nash Equilibrium where both players will choose to confess. However, the players only have two choices: to confess or not to confess. What happens […]

## ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and Game Theory

http://www.valuewalk.com/2014/08/ice-bucket-dilemma/ An interesting application of what we’ve learned from Game Theory so far. ‘ The author enlisted his daughters as prisoners and wardens with the following conditions: Each prisoner had the choice to go Green or Red. If both prisoners go Green, the warden will donate \$100 to ALS in the name of both of […]

## The Erdos Number

Paul Erdos was an eccentric mathematician, and known for his many collaborations in the field. He placed little value on possessions, and so he lived his life traveling between homes of colleagues throughout the world. For only a few days at a time, he would stay to collaborate on a paper before moving on to […]

## The Ebola Outbreak

Concern has been growing about the wide-spread Ebola breakout in West Africa. While small and localized outbreaks are not uncommon, a breakout of this scale and spread rate is alarming. Usually Ebola outbreaks are contained in rural areas, but this one is spreading in urban centers. Ebola is deadly, once the disease is contracted 90% […]

## The Power of a Strong LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn is a professional social networking service that was first launched in May of 2003. Since its birth, the service has grown to over 200 million users as of this past summer. But why is it that so many people are rapidly introducing LinkedIn to their suite of social media and online communication systems? The […]

## Three degrees of separation: breaking down the NSA’s ‘hops’ surveillance method

We have all heard of the NSA surveillance due to the Snowden leaks. One aspect of their spying apparatus was their ability to collect information from people up to “3 hops” away from their target. This means that legally, the NSA was able to collect data on their target, his/her friends, all the friends of […]

## Applying Artificial Neural Networks

An Artificial Neural Network (ANN) is a machine-learning algorithm for function approximation. Essentially an ANN consists of a bunch of input nodes with edges to a bunch of output nodes. There can also be hidden layers between the input and output nodes like this: http://goo.gl/zk67Ir. Unlike most of the networks we have discussed so far in […]