Archive for the Kids Category

down with theocracies!

Posted in Kids, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 24, 2022 by xi'an

twenty-four to nil

Posted in Books, Kids, Statistics with tags , , , on September 16, 2022 by xi'an

Another puzzling question on X validated, where the expectation of a random sum of deterministic vectors is to be computed. (That is, the sum involves a random number of terms.) Without enough detail to understand why this proves a difficulty, given that each deterministic vector is to be invoked at most once. Nonetheless, my (straightforward) answer there

Y_1\underbrace{\mathbb P(\tau\ge 1)}_{=1}+Y_2\mathbb P(\tau\ge 2)+\cdots+Y_N\underbrace{\mathbb P(\tau=N)}_{=0}

proved much more popular (in terms of votes) that many of my much more involved answers there. Possibly because both question and answer are straightforward.

Hugo Awards 2022

Posted in Books, Kids, pictures with tags , , , , , , on September 16, 2022 by xi'an

Here are the results of the Hugo Awards this year, at least those connected with my reads:

Best Novel

Best Novella

Lodestar Award for Best Young Adult Book (not a Hugo)

  • WINNER: The Last Graduate by Naomi Novik (Del Rey Books) [just finished this second volume, too YA by miles!]

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form

  • WINNER: Dune, screenplay by Jon Spaihts, Denis Villeneuve, and Eric Roth; directed by Denis Villeneuve; based on the novel Dune by Frank Herbert (Warner Bros / Legendary Entertainment) [to watch]
  • Space Sweepers, written and directed by Jo Sung-hee (Bidangil Pictures) [funny but very light]


why is this algorithm simulating a Normal variate?

Posted in Books, Kids, R, Statistics with tags , , , , , , , on September 15, 2022 by xi'an

A backward question from X validated as to why the above is a valid Normal generator based on exponential generations. Which can be found in most textbooks (if not ours). And in The Bible, albeit as an exercise. The validation proceeds from the (standard) Exponential density dominating the (standard) Normal density and, according to Devroye, may have originated from von Neumann himself. But with a brilliant reverse engineering resolution by W. Huber on X validated. While a neat exercise, it requires on average 2.64 Uniform generations per Normal generation, against a 1/1 ratio for Box-Muller (1958) polar approach, or 1/0.86 for the Marsaglia-Bray (1964) composition-rejection method. The apex of the simulation jungle is however Marsaglia and Tsang (2000) ziggurat algorithm. At least on CPUs since, Note however that “The ziggurat algorithm gives a more efficient method for scalar processors (e.g. old CPUs), while the Box–Muller transform is superior for processors with vector units (e.g. GPUs or modern CPUs)” according to Wikipedia.

To draw a comparison between this Normal generator (that I will consider as von Neumann’s) and the Box-Müller polar generator,



here are the relative computing times

> system.time(bm(1e8))
utilisateur     système      écoulé 
     7.015       0.649       7.674 
> system.time(vn(1e8))
utilisateur     système      écoulé 
     42.483       5.713      48.222 

the sandman

Posted in Books, Kids with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 5, 2022 by xi'an
“What is missing – regrettable for a story made of this material – is the strangeness and the anxiety that immediately distinguished The Sandman from all other comics.” , Le Monde
Although I never read any of The Sandman comic books, and could not finish Gaiman’s American Gods, I nonetheless watched (decidedly Netflixy!) Netflix’s rendering over the past week, which I found mostly pleasant if on the light (although dark) side. Except for a few gems like Morpheus’ stroll with Death in Richmond and Hammersmith. And the unbearably lengthy “24 hours” episode about an endless spiral into primal violence, induced by the psychopath John Dee and Morpheus’ ruby. The actors are mostly terrific, starting with Tom Sturridge playing Morpheus as a young Robert Smith! But also Vivienne Acheampong as Dream’s librarian or Stephen Fry as … Fiddler’s Green! As a aside, I found out that the (much lighter) Netflix’s series Lucifer is also inspired by the corresponding Sandman character.
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