Archive for Le Monde

weapons of math destruction [fan]

Posted in Statistics with tags , , , , , , , , on September 20, 2017 by xi'an

As a [new] member of Parliement, Cédric Villani is now in charge of a committee on artificial intelligence, which goal is to assess the positive and negative sides of AI. And refers in Le Monde interview below to Weapons of Maths Destruction as impacting his views on the topic! Let us hope Superintelligence is no next on his reading list…

Le Monde puzzle [#1021]

Posted in Books, Kids, R with tags , , , , , on September 17, 2017 by xi'an

A puzzling Le Monde mathematical puzzle for which I could find no answer in the allotted time!:

A most democratic electoral system allows every voter to have at least one representative by having each of the N voters picking exactly m candidates among the M running candidates and setting the size n of the representative council towards this goal, prior to the votes. If there are M=25 candidates, m=10 choices made by the voters, and n=10 representatives, what is the maximal possible value of N? And if N=55,555 and M=33, what is the minimum value of n for which m=n is always possible?

I tried a brute force approach by simulating votes from N voters at random and attempting to find the minimal number of councillors for this vote, which only provides an upper bound of the minimum [for one vote], and a lower bound in the end [over all votes]. Something like

for (i in 1:N) votz[i,]=sample(1:M,n)
#exploration by majority
  remz=1:N;conz=NULL
  while (length(remz)>0){
    seatz=order(-hist(votz[remz,],
    breaks=(0:M)+0.5,plot=FALSE)$density)[1]
    conz=c(conz,seatz);nuremz=NULL
    for (v in remz)
      if (!(seatz%in%votz[v,])) nuremz=c(nuremz,v)
    remz=nuremz}
  solz=length(conz)
#exploration at random
   kandz=matrix(0,N,M)
   for (i in 1:N) kandz[i,votz[i,]]=1
   for (t in 1:1e3){
#random choice of councillors
    zz=sample(c(0,1),M,rep=TRUE)
    while (min(kandz%*%zz)!=1)
      zz=sample(c(0,1),M,rep=TRUE)
    solz=min(solz,sum(zz))
#random choice of remaining councillor per voter
    remz=1:N;conz=NULL
    while (length(remz)>0){
      seatz=sample(votz[remz[1],],1)
      conz=c(conz,seatz);nuremz=NULL
      for (i in remz)
        if (!(seatz%in%votz[i,])) nuremz=c(nuremz,i)
      remz=nuremz}
    solz=min(solz,length(conz))}
maxz=max(solz,maxz)}

which leads to a value near N=4050 for the first question, with 0% confidence… Obviously, the problem can be rephrased as a binary integer linear programming problem of the form

n= \max_A \min_{c;\,\min Ac=1}\mathbf{1}^\text{T}c

where A is the NxM matrix of votes and c is the vector of selected councillors. But I do not see a quick way to fix it!

Le Monde puzzle [#1020]

Posted in Books, Kids, R with tags , , , on September 15, 2017 by xi'an

A collection of liars in this Le Monde mathematical puzzle:

  1. A circle of 16 liars and truth-tellers is such that everyone states that their immediate neighbours are both liars. How many liars can there be?
  2. A circle of 12 liars and truth-tellers is such that everyone state that their immediate neighbours are one liar plus one truth-teller. How many liars can there be?
  3.  A circle of 8 liars and truth-tellers is such that four state that their immediate neighbours are one liar plus one truth-teller and four state that their immediate neighbours are both liars . How many liars can there be?

These questions can easily be solved by brute force simulation. For the first setting, using 1 to code truth-tellers and -1 liars, I simulate acceptable configurations as

tabz=rep(0,16)
tabz[1]=1 #at least one
tabz[2]=tabz[16]=-1
for (i in 3:15){
  if (tabz[i-1]==1){
   tabz[i]=-1}else{
   if (tabz[i+1]==-1){
    tabz[i]=1}else{
    if (tabz[i+1]==1){
     tabz[i]=-1}else{
     if (tabz[i-2]==-1){
      tabz[i]=1}else{
       tabz[i]=sample(c(-1,1),1)
}}}}}

which produces 8, 9, and 10 as possible (and obvious) values.

The second puzzle is associated with the similar R code

tabz=sample(c(-1,1),12,rep=TRUE)
rong=FALSE
while (!rong){
 for (i in sample(12)){
  if (tabz[i-1+12*(i==1)]*tabz[i%%12+1]==-1){
   tabz[i]=1}else{ 
   tabz[i]=sample(c(-1,1),1)}
  }
  rong=TRUE
  for (i in (1:12)[tabz==1])
    rong=rong&(tabz[i-1+12*(i==1)]*tabz[i%%12+1]==-1)
  if (rong){
   for (i in (1:12)[tabz==-1])
     rong=rong&(tabz[i-1+12*(i==1)]*tabz[i%%12+1]!=-1)
   }}

with numbers of liars (-1) either 12 (obvious) or 4.

The final puzzle is more puzzling in that figuring out the validating function (is an allocation correct?) took me a while, the ride back home plus some. I ended up with the following code that samples liars (-1) and thruth-seekers (1) at random, plus forces wrong and right answers (in 0,1,2) on these, and check for the number of answers of both types:

rong=FALSE
while (!rong){
 tabz=sample(c(-1,1),8,rep=TRUE) #truth
 tabz[1]=1;tabz[sample(2:8,1)]=-1
 tt=(1:8)[tabz==1];lr=(1:8)[tabz==-1]
 statz=rep(0,8) #stmt
 statz[tt]=(tabz[tt-1+8*(tt==1)]*tabz[tt%%8+1]==-1)+
           2*(tabz[tt-1+8*(tt==1)]+tabz[tt%%8+1]==-2)
 #answering 0 never works
 statz[lr]=2*(tabz[lr-1+8*(lr==1)]*tabz[lr%%8+1]==-1)+
          (tabz[lr-1+8*(lr==1)]+tabz[lr%%8+1]==-1)+
           sample(c(1,2),8,rep=TRUE)[lr]*
           (tabz[lr-1+8*(lr==1)]+tabz[lr%%8+1]==1)
 rong=(sum(statz==1)==4)&(sum(statz==2)==4)}

with solutions 3, 4, 5 and 6.

Texan black swan

Posted in Books, pictures with tags , , , , , , , , on September 12, 2017 by xi'an

“Un événement improbable aux conséquences d’autant plus désastreuses que l’on ne s’y est pas préparé.”

This weekend, there was a short article in Le Monde about the Harvey storm as a Texan illustration of Taleb’s black swan. An analysis that would imply every extreme event like this “once-in-a-thousand year” event (?) can be called a black swan… “An improbable event with catastrophic consequences, the more because it had not been provisioned”, as the above quote translates. Ironically, there is another article in the same journal, about the catastrophe being “ordinary” and “not unexpected”! While such massive floods are indeed impacting a huge number of people and companies, because the storm happened to pour an unusual amount of rain right on top of Houston, they indeed remain within the predictable and not so improbable in terms of the amount of water deposited in the area and in terms of damages, given the amount and style of construction over flood plains. For instance, Houston is less than 50 feet above sea level, has fairly old drainage and pipe systems, and lacks a zoning code. With mostly one or two-story high buildings rather than higher rises. (Incidentally, I appreciated the juxtaposition of the article with the add for Le Monde des Religions and its picture of a devilesque black goat!)

 

Le Monde puzzle [#1019]

Posted in Books, Kids with tags , , , , , , on September 7, 2017 by xi'an

A gamey (and verbose) Le Monde mathematical puzzle:

A two-player game involves n+2 cards in a row, blue on one side and red on the other. Each player can pick any blue card among the n first ones and flip it plus both following ones. The game stops when no blue card is left to turn. The gain for the last player turning cards is 20-t, where t is the number of times cards were flipped, with gain t for its opponent. Both players aim at maximising their gain.

1. When n=4 and all cards are blue, can the first player win? If not, what is the best score for this player?

2. Among all 16 configurations at start, how many lead to the first player to win?

3. When n=10 and all cards are blue, how many cards are flipped an odd number of times for the winning configuration?

The first two questions can easily be processed by an R code like the following recursive function:

liplop <- function(x,n,i){
  if (max(x[1:n])==0){
    return(i)
  }else{
    sol=NULL
    for (j in (1:n)[x[1:n]==1]){
      y=x;y[j:(j+2)]=1-y[j:(j+2)]
      sol=c(sol,20-liplop(y,n,i+1))}
    return(max(sol))}}

Returning

> liplop(rep(1,6),4,0)
[1] 6

Meaning the first player cannot win, by running at most six rounds. Calling the same function for all 4⁴=16 possible configurations leads to 8 winning ones:

[1] 0 0 0 1
[1] 0 0 1 1
[1] 0 1 0 1
[1] 0 1 1 1
[1] 1 0 0 0
[1] 1 0 1 0
[1] 1 1 0 0
[1] 1 1 1 0

Solving the same problem with n=10 is not feasible with this function. (Even n=6 seems out of reach!)

Le Monde puzzle [#1018]

Posted in Books, Kids, R with tags , , , , , on August 29, 2017 by xi'an

An arithmetic Le Monde mathematical puzzle (that first did not seem to involve R programming because of the large number of digits in the quantity involved):

An integer x with less than 100 digits is such that adding the digit 1 on both sides of x produces the integer 99x.  What are the last nine digits of x? And what are the possible numbers of digits of x?

The integer x satisfies the identity

10^{\omega+2}+10x+1=99x

where ω is the number of digits of x. This amounts to

10….01 = 89 x,

where there are ω zeros. Working with long integers in R could bring an immediate solution, but I went for a pedestrian version, handling each digit at a time and starting from the final one which is necessarily 9:

#multiply by 9
rap=0;row=NULL
for (i in length(x):1){
prud=rap+x[i]*9
row=c(prud%%10,row)
rap=prud%/%10}
row=c(rap,row)
#multiply by 80
rep=raw=0
for (i in length(x):1){
prud=rep+x[i]*8
raw=c(prud%%10,raw)
rep=prud%/%10}
#find next digit
y=(row[1]+raw[1]+(length(x)>1))%%10

returning

7 9 7 7 5 2 8 0 9

as the (only) last digits of x. The same code can be exploited to check that the complete multiplication produces a number of the form 10….01, hence to deduce that the length of x is either 21 or 65, with solutions

[1] 1 1 2 3 5 9 5 5 0 5 6 1 7 9 7 7 5 2 8 0 9
[1] 1 1 2 3 5 9 5 5 0 5 6 1 7 9 7 7 5 2 8 0 8 9 8 8 7 6 4 0 4 4 9 4 3 8 2 0 2 2
[39] 4 7 1 9 1 0 1 1 2 3 5 9 5 5 0 5 6 1 7 9 7 7 5 2 8 0 9

The maths question behind is to figure out the powers k of 10 such that

10^k\equiv -1 \text{ mod } (89)

For instance, 10²≡11 mod (89) and 11¹¹≡88 mod (89) leads to the first solution ω=21. And then, since 10⁴⁴≡1 mod (89), ω=21+44=65 is another solution…

Le Monde puzzle [#1707]

Posted in Books, Kids, R with tags , , , , , on July 28, 2017 by xi'an

A geometric Le Monde mathematical puzzle:

  1. Given a pizza of diameter 20cm, what is the way to cut it by two perpendicular lines through a point distant 5cm from the centre towards maximising the surface of two opposite slices?
  2.  Using the same point as the tip of the four slices, what is the way to make four slices with equal arcs in four cuts from the tip again towards maximising the surface of two opposite slices?

For both questions, I did not bother with the maths but went itself to a discretisation of the disk, counting the proportion of points within two opposite slices and letting the inclination of these slices move from zero to π/2. Unsurprisingly, for the first question, the answer is π/4, given that there is no difference between both surfaces at angles 0 and π/2. My R code is as follows, using (5,0) as the tip:

M=100
surfaz=function(alpha){
surfz=0
cosal=cos(alpha);sinal=sin(alpha)
X=Y=seq(-10,10,le=M)
Xcosal=(X-5)*cosal
Xsinal=(X-5)*sinal
for (i in 1:M){
norm=sqrt(X[i]^2+Y^2)
scal1=Xsinal[i]+Y*cosal
scal2=-Xcosal[i]+Y*sinal
surfz=surfz+sum((norm<=10)*(scal1*scal2>0))}
return(4*surfz/M/M/pi)}

The second puzzle can be solved by a similar code, except that the slice area between two lines has to be determined by a cross product:

surfoz=function(alpha,ploz=FALSE){
  sinal=sin(alpha);cosal=cos(alpha)
  X=Y=seq(-10,10,le=M)
  frsterm=cosal*(10*cosal-5)+sinal*(10*sinal-5)
  trdterm=cosal*(10*cosal+5)+sinal*(10*sinal+5)
  surfz=0
  for (i in 1:M){
    norm=sqrt(X[i]^2+Y^2)
    scal1=(10*(Y[i]-5)*cosal-(10*sinal-5)*X)*frsterm
    scal2=-(-10*(Y[i]-5)*sinal-(10*cosal-5)*X)*frsterm
    scal3=(-10*(Y[i]-5)*cosal+(10*sinal+5)*X)*trdterm
    scal4=-(10*(Y[i]-5)*sinal+(10*cosal+5)*X)*trdterm
    surfz=surfz+sum((norm<=10)* 
    ((scal1>0)*(scal2>0)+
     (scal3>0)*(scal4>0)))}
 return(4*surfz/M/M/pi)}

a code that shows that all cuts lead to identical surfaces for bot sets of slices. A fairly surprising result!