New Go-playing program teaches itself, beating previous program 100-0

A potentially momentous milestone has been reached in the decades-old battle between human intelligence and artificial intelligence.

Go playing board

Until 18 months ago ago, the ancient Chinese game of Go had firmly resisted attempts to apply computer technology — the best human players were substantially better than the best computer programs. This changed abruptly in March 2016, when a Google computer program named “AlphaGo” defeated the reigning world champion 4-1, a defeat that shocked many observers, who had not expected to see this for many years.

Now a new computer program, called “AlphaGo Zero,” which literally taught itself

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Talks on experimental mathematics

On 3 October 2017 I presented six talks at a seminar on experimental mathematics at the University of Newcastle, in Newcastle, NSW Australia.

Here are the titles and abstracts of these talks, plus URLs for the complete PDF viewgraph files:

1. What is experimental mathematics? (15 minutes)

This overview briefly summarizes what is meant by “experimental mathematics”, as pioneered in large part by the late Jonathan Borwein. We also explain why experimental mathematics offers a unique opportunity to involve a much broader community in the process of mathematical discovery and proof — high school students, undergraduate students, computer scientists,

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Bailey to speak Friday March 15 at Worcester Polytechnic Institute

If any of you are in the Boston area, Bailey will be giving the Levi Conant Prize lecture this Friday (Sep 15) at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. The title of the talk is “Computation and analysis of arbitrary digits of Pi and other mathematical constants”. It summarizes some of the recent discoveries about Pi, including formulas that permit one to calculate digits of Pi (or Pi^2 or numerous other constants), beginning at an arbitrary starting point, without needing to compute any of the previous digits.

Here are the details of the talk, including the Abstract:

Conant Prize lecture

French mathematician completes proof of tessellation conjecture

We have all seen interesting patterns of tiling the plane with interlocking shapes, known as a tessellation. The process of producing a complete inventory of all possible tessellation has resisted solution for over a century, until now.

The honor goes to Michael Rao of the Ecole Normale Superieure de Lyon in France. He has completed a computer-assisted proof to complete the inventory of pentagonal shapes, the last remaining holdout. He identified 371 scenarios for how corners of pentagons might fit together, and then checked, by means of an algorithm, each scenario. In the end, his computer program determined that the

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Jonathan Borwein Commemorative Conference

We are pleased to announce the Jonathan M. Borwein Commemorative Conference, which will be held 25-29 September 2017 in Newcastle, Australia.

The conference will focus on the five areas of Jonathan’s Borwein’s research:

Applied analysis, optimisation and convex functions. Chairs: Regina Burachik and Guolin Li. Education. Chairs: Judy-anne Osborn and Namoi Borwein. Experimental mathematics and visualization. Chair: David H. Bailey. Financial mathematics. Chair: Qiji (Jim) Zhu. Number theory, special functions and pi. Chair: Richard Brent.

A total of 36 speakers will give presentations.

The meeting will be held at Noah’s on the Beach in Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia, which

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Yves Meyer wins the Abel Prize for wavelet work

Yves Meyer, courtesy Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters

The Abel Prize

On 21 March 2017 the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters announced that the 2017 Abel Prize for mathematics, thought by many to be on a par with the Nobel Prize, has been awarded to Yves Meyer for his groundbreaking work on wavelets.

Many of the leading awards made in the field of mathematics are for highly abstract theoretical work. But wavelet theory is certainly in the area of applied mathematics, as it is now used in many different real-world arenas. Applications include data compression, acoustic noise

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Enhancing reproducibility in mathematical and scientific computing

Victoria Stodden, Marcia McNutt (President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science), David H. Bailey, Ewa Deelman, Yolanda Gil, Brooks Hanson, Michael Heroux, John Ioannidis and Michela Taufer have published an article in Science (the principal journal of the AAAS) entitled Enhancing reproducibility in computational methods.

In this article we argue that the field of mathematical and scientific computing lags behind other fields in establishing a culture and tools to ensure reproducibility. All too often, the authors of computations, even those that are published in peer-reviewed conferences and journals, have not fully documented their algorithms, code, input data

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Breakthrough Foundation announces 2017 prizes in math, physics and life sciences

The Breakthrough Foundation has announced a new set of winners of their awards, including recipients in mathematics, physics and life sciences. The founders of the Breakthrough Prize are Sergey Brin (co-founder of Google) and Anne Wojcicki (co-founder of 23andme), Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan (founder of Facebook and his spouse), Yuri Milner and Julia Milner (Russian venture capitalist and his spouse), and Jack Ma and Cathy Zhang (founder of Alibaba and his spouse).

Mathematics prize

The Breakthrough Prize in mathematics (USD$3 million) was awarded to Jean Bourgain of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. Bourgain’s work

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Bailey, Borwein, Mattingly and Wightwick to receive the Levi L. Conant Prize from AMS

The American Mathematical Society has announced that David H. Bailey, Jonathan Borwein, Andrew Mattingly and Glenn Wightwick will receive the 2017 Levi L. Conant Prize. Bailey is a retired senior scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and a research associate at the University of California, Davis. Borwein (deceased 2 August 2016) was a Laureate Professor of Mathematics at the University of Newcastle, Australia. Mattingly is senior information technology architect at IBM Australia. Wightwick is deputy vice-chancellor and vice-president (Research) at the University of Technology Sydney.

This year’s prize was awarded for the recipients’ 2013 article The Computation of Previously

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Jonathan Borwein dies at 65

It is my sad duty to report that our colleague Jonathan Borwein, Laureate Professor of Mathematics at the University of Newcastle, Australia, has passed away at the age of 65. He is survived by his wife Judith and three daughters. For details on his funeral and for making donations to a scholarship fund in his name, see the obituary below.

Jonathan M. Borwein

What can one say about Jon’s professional accomplishments? Adjectives such as “profound,” “vast” and “far-ranging” don’t really do justice to his work, the sheer volume of which is astounding: 388 published journal articles, plus another 103

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