Math on OranLooney.com
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Sat, 06 Jul 2019 00:00:00 +0000

A Seriously Slow Fibonacci Function
http://www.oranlooney.com/post/slowfibonacci/
Sat, 06 Jul 2019 00:00:00 +0000
http://www.oranlooney.com/post/slowfibonacci/
I recently wrote an article which was ostensibly about the Fibonacci series but was really about optimization techniques. I wanted to follow up on its (extremely moderate) success by going in the exact opposite direction: by writing a Fibonacci function which is as slow as possible.
This is not as easy as it sounds: any program can trivially be made slower, but this is boring. How can we make it slow in a fair and interesting way?

A Fairly Fast Fibonacci Function
http://www.oranlooney.com/post/fibonacci/
Tue, 19 Feb 2019 00:00:00 +0000
http://www.oranlooney.com/post/fibonacci/
A common example of recursion is the function to calculate the \(n\)th Fibonacci number:
def naive_fib(n):
if n < 2:
return n
else:
return naive_fib(n1) + naive_fib(n2)
This follows the mathematical definition very closely but it’s performance is terrible: roughly \(\mathcal{O}(2^n)\). This is commonly patched up with dynamic programming. Specifically, either the memoization:
from functools import lru_cache
@lru_cache(100)
def memoized_fib(n):
if n < 2:
return n
else:
return memoized_fib(n1) + memoized_fib(n2)
or tabulation:

Craps Variants
http://www.oranlooney.com/post/crapsgamevariants/
Wed, 11 Jul 2018 00:00:00 +0000
http://www.oranlooney.com/post/crapsgamevariants/
Craps is a suprisingly fair game. I remember calculating the probability of winning craps for the first time in an undergraduate discrete math class: I went back through my calculations several times, certain there was a mistake somewhere. How could it be closer than $\frac{1}{36}$?
(Spoiler Warning If you haven’t calculated these odds for yourself then you may want to do so before reading further. I’m about to spoil it for you rather thoroughly in the name of exploring a more general case.

Complex Numbers in R, Part II
http://www.oranlooney.com/post/complexrpart2/
Sat, 30 Jun 2018 00:00:00 +0000
http://www.oranlooney.com/post/complexrpart2/
This post is part of a series on complex number functionality in the R programming language. You may want to read Part I before continuing if you are not already comfortable with the basics.
In Part I of this series, we dipped our toes in the water by explicitly creating some complex numbers and showing how they worked with the most basic mathematical operators, functions, and plots.
In this second part, we’ll take a more indepth look at some scenarios where complex numbers arise naturally – where they are less of a choice an more of a necessity.

Complex Numbers in R, Part I
http://www.oranlooney.com/post/complexr/
Sun, 17 Jun 2018 00:00:00 +0000
http://www.oranlooney.com/post/complexr/
R, like many scientific programming languages, has firstclass support for complex numbers. And, just as in most other programming languages, this functionality is ignored by the vast majority of users.
Yet complex numbers can often offer surprisingly elegant formulations and solutions to problems. I want to convince you that familiarizing yourself with R’s excellent complex number functionality is well worth the effort and will pay off in two different ways: first by showing you how they are so amazingly useful you’ll want to go out of your way to use them, and then by showing you how they are so common and fundamental to modern analysis that you couldn’t avoid them if you wanted to.