GISHWHES Erdos Number challenge

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onychonycteris
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GISHWHES Erdos Number challenge

Postby onychonycteris » Sun Aug 03, 2014 4:25 pm UTC

Hello dear xkcd interwubs!

I'm participating in a crazy internet-based international scavenger hunt of kindness and silliness called GISHWHES (Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen) this week. One of the items is to facilitate the lowering of the mastermind's Erdos number. The mastermind is question is the cult-famous actor, philanthropist and all-around-weirdo Misha Collins.

Is anyone working on a math paper that could use 1.5 million adoring fans, publicity, or some actors as a resource, in exchange for a co-authorship? Or anything else you think you could use from him? Or just wants to list a co-author with a good story behind it? I'm a long-time xkcd reader, and I figure this community is just awesome enough to maybe make this happen!

Suggestions welcome for other ways to mathmatify Misha!

(PS: GISHWHES is the biggest contributor to the growing non-profit charity Random Acts, which tackles homelessness and poverty in creative ways, so the publicity is contributing to a good cause!)

Thanks,
Daisy

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Lopsidation
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Re: GISHWHES Erdos Number challenge

Postby Lopsidation » Mon Aug 04, 2014 4:33 pm UTC

Hmm. This sounds like a worthy cause.

I'm currently finishing up a paper about the computational complexity of the video game Braid. It's not the kind of research that will appear in a conference any time soon. But it was a surprisingly difficult question, so the paper should count for Erdos number purposes.

My Erdos number is 2 (through Ronald Graham), so if I give Misha a co-authorship, he will have Erdos number 3.

The paper isn't finished yet, but with this kind of motivation I could get it done in the next couple of days. :)

EDIT: Where should I put the paper when I'm done writing it? Presumably the hunt has some kind of guideline. I'll submit it to arxiv no matter what, but there's not enough time left in the hunt for their normal review/publishing process.

onychonycteris
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Re: GISHWHES Erdos Number challenge

Postby onychonycteris » Wed Aug 06, 2014 4:16 am UTC

This is fantastic, thank you so much! I looked up Braid, and while I'm not really up on my computational complexity (natural sciences educator here!), the Wikipedia article makes it sound very interesting. I'll be giving your paper a read when it's published!

Is there a arxiv submission screen and abstract you could send me screen shots of? That would be brilliant, as the Hunt requires an image demonstrating the item was accomplished.

Thanks again,
Daisy
daisy[dot]frabell[at]gmail[dot]com

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Dopefish
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Re: GISHWHES Erdos Number challenge

Postby Dopefish » Wed Aug 06, 2014 4:46 am UTC

Out of curiosity, is giving people who had essentially no contribution to the academic content of a paper coauthorship a standard thing?

Not intended as a judgement of the practice, it's just the first I've actually heard of it (although my academic life hasn't gone past undergrad so not much exposure to the paper writing world).

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Re: GISHWHES Erdos Number challenge

Postby Angua » Wed Aug 06, 2014 6:10 am UTC

I know someone who was responsible for convincing the authors to put Cobley, U T on a paper instead of et al.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncle_Tom_Cobley
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Lopsidation
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Re: GISHWHES Erdos Number challenge

Postby Lopsidation » Wed Aug 06, 2014 3:38 pm UTC

Dopefish wrote:Out of curiosity, is giving people who had essentially no contribution to the academic content of a paper coauthorship a standard thing?
I doubt it. I have heard of cases where person A invents an interesting problem, and then person B solves it, and gives A coauthorship credit.

I wouldn't be surprised if, after this paper, the consensus is "Misha Collins has Erdos number 3, but OK, really he has Erdos number 11 (or whatever it was before)."

I'm willing to give a random person coauthorship credit this time, for one reason. GISHWHES is intended to produce fun and interesting content, to drum up publicity for a worthy-looking charity. This charity will help more people than a correct attribution on a paper analyzing a video game would :P

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z4lis
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Re: GISHWHES Erdos Number challenge

Postby z4lis » Wed Aug 06, 2014 7:41 pm UTC

I'd believe that footnote explaining the situation would be acceptable. Of course, the journal the paper is published in might think otherwise.
What they (mathematicians) define as interesting depends on their particular field of study; mathematical anaylsts find pain and extreme confusion interesting, whereas geometers are interested in beauty.

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Re: GISHWHES Erdos Number challenge

Postby Tirian » Wed Aug 06, 2014 7:51 pm UTC

If you're willing to misrepresent scholarship for a good cause, why not list Erdos as a co-author as well?

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Re: GISHWHES Erdos Number challenge

Postby jestingrabbit » Wed Aug 06, 2014 8:38 pm UTC

Tirian wrote:If you're willing to misrepresent scholarship for a good cause, why not list Erdos as a co-author as well?


Because Erdos has not consented.
ameretrifle wrote:Magic space feudalism is therefore a viable idea.

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Lopsidation
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Re: GISHWHES Erdos Number challenge

Postby Lopsidation » Wed Aug 06, 2014 9:13 pm UTC

Tirian, I take it by your wording that you think this is a bad idea? Can you elaborate? Or am I taking your post the wrong way?

EDIT: Also, does anybody else think that this is a bad idea? I'm only an undergrad, and I don't want some big coauthorship scandal to kill my career.

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Re: GISHWHES Erdos Number challenge

Postby jestingrabbit » Wed Aug 06, 2014 9:53 pm UTC

Lopsidation wrote:Tirian, I take it by your wording that you think this is a bad idea? Can you elaborate? Or am I taking your post the wrong way?

EDIT: Also, does anybody else think that this is a bad idea? I'm only an undergrad, and I don't want some big coauthorship scandal to kill my career.


I'd say the fact that its unlikely to be submitted to journals, that its for charity, that you're being open about what you're doing, all mitigate any "falsification" charges that might be leveled.

I do think it would be good if Mr Collins had a basic familiarity with the material, too, but that's more a "commitment to the bit" concern than anything else.
ameretrifle wrote:Magic space feudalism is therefore a viable idea.

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Re: GISHWHES Erdos Number challenge

Postby Tirian » Wed Aug 06, 2014 10:02 pm UTC

I couldn't care less. It's not my game. I'm neither a player (yet) nor the editor of a journal. I asked the question to prompt you to consider the value of the Erdős number relative to the value of authentic reporting of academic collaboration.

If you want my advice, it would be to look at the table of Erdős–Bacon numbers and to recognize that you'd be giving Misha Collins a very notable score of 5. That's not a record, but it's better than Danica McKellar and Natalie Portman. It might well become the top few hits in a Google search of your name. Are you prepared to defend that decision in a job interview? (I'm not saying that it is indefensible to commit an act of charity for a celebrity, just that you should be prepared to defend it.)

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Lopsidation
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Re: GISHWHES Erdos Number challenge

Postby Lopsidation » Wed Aug 06, 2014 10:51 pm UTC

That's true.
I can always put the paper on my website with Misha Collins' name on it (and a note explaining the situation), and remove his name from the version I later submit to arxiv and CoRR.

BTW, the paper will be finished tomorrow. It's ~16 pages long. The first half is approachable to readers unfamiliar with complexity theory. It proves that the problem "Is this Braid level solvable?" is formally undecidable. One consequence of this, is that I can build a reasonably small Braid level which is solvable if and only if the Riemann Hypothesis is false.

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Lopsidation
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Re: GISHWHES Erdos Number challenge

Postby Lopsidation » Thu Aug 07, 2014 1:00 am UTC

Sorry for the double post, but I've finished a draft of the paper. You can find it here. I still have to look through it and comb for errors, sand the wording of some rough sentences, and hyper-quintuple-check that I didn't make any mistakes.

Sections 1-4 are, for the most part, approachable for those unfamiliar with complexity theory. Especially if you've played Braid.
Sections 5 and 6, containing the second main result, require familiarity with concepts like "Turing machine" and "EXPSPACE".

@onychonycteris: You need one image, right? You should probably include at least:
- part of page 1 of this PDF (something to show Misha Collins' name is there)
- the URL to this PDF
- this webpage showing that I have Erdos number 2
Good luck in the rest of the hunt!
Last edited by Lopsidation on Thu Aug 07, 2014 1:45 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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z4lis
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Re: GISHWHES Erdos Number challenge

Postby z4lis » Thu Aug 07, 2014 1:41 am UTC

Lopsidation wrote:That's true.
I can always put the paper on my website with Misha Collins' name on it (and a note explaining the situation), and remove his name from the version I later submit to arxiv and CoRR.

BTW, the paper will be finished tomorrow. It's ~16 pages long. The first half is approachable to readers unfamiliar with complexity theory. It proves that the problem "Is this Braid level solvable?" is formally undecidable. One consequence of this, is that I can build a reasonably small Braid level which is solvable if and only if the Riemann Hypothesis is false.


Can you actually create this level, or is the proof nonconstructive? I want to play it very badly.
What they (mathematicians) define as interesting depends on their particular field of study; mathematical anaylsts find pain and extreme confusion interesting, whereas geometers are interested in beauty.

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Lopsidation
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Re: GISHWHES Erdos Number challenge

Postby Lopsidation » Thu Aug 07, 2014 2:09 am UTC

I can actually create this level! But I don't think you want to play it.

First of all, it would take a long time to create, because the Riemann Hypothesis is a complicated statement. OK, let's say I encode a simpler statement, like the Goldbach conjecture.

To beat this level, you would first run around a loop and pull a lever n times, where n is some even number bigger than 4 that can't be written as the sum of two primes. Then, you would run around some more loops about n3 times (or n4 maybe, I dunno), while monstars walk around and check that n works.

BTW, the latest computer search for Goldbach's conjecture tells us that n > 1018. So clear up a whole afternoon for this level. Also make sure that your computer has at least 4,000,000,000 GB of RAM.

In other words, it would be only slightly more difficult than the Nova Braid mod :wink:

If you want to play a video game level generated by a math proof, check out this awesome thread.

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Re: GISHWHES Erdos Number challenge

Postby MySwordMyBowMySax » Thu Aug 07, 2014 4:50 am UTC

onychonycteris wrote:Hello dear xkcd interwubs!

I'm participating in a crazy internet-based international scavenger hunt of kindness and silliness called GISHWHES (Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen) this week. One of the items is to facilitate the lowering of the mastermind's Erdos number. The mastermind is question is the cult-famous actor, philanthropist and all-around-weirdo Misha Collins.

Is anyone working on a math paper that could use 1.5 million adoring fans, publicity, or some actors as a resource, in exchange for a co-authorship? Or anything else you think you could use from him? Or just wants to list a co-author with a good story behind it? I'm a long-time xkcd reader, and I figure this community is just awesome enough to maybe make this happen!

Suggestions welcome for other ways to mathmatify Misha!

(PS: GISHWHES is the biggest contributor to the growing non-profit charity Random Acts, which tackles homelessness and poverty in creative ways, so the publicity is contributing to a good cause!)


Thanks,
Daisy



Hi Daisy,
I'm a fellow gisher and stumbled upon your thread. If you haven't already fulfilled item #6, I think there could be mutually beneficial way to do it. PM me.

- Robyn
myswordmybowmysaxlovesghostfacers

TarynShea
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Re: GISHWHES Erdos Number challenge

Postby TarynShea » Fri Aug 08, 2014 1:20 am UTC

Also a gisher, do you mind if I use this also?

If either of you would like to help me with #6 as well, that would be awesome.

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Lopsidation
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Re: GISHWHES Erdos Number challenge

Postby Lopsidation » Fri Aug 08, 2014 1:23 pm UTC

The official rules wrote:25. Video/Image Plagiarism - You shall not submit any items that were created by another team. Any team that is caught submitting another team’s item shall be eligible for disqualification. You may not submit any items that were taken before this year’s hunt. You may not submit any items that trigger any gluten allergies or excessive abdominal gas with the viewer.
Let's see. I'm not on a GISHWHES team, so the first two sentences don't apply. I wrote the vast majority of this paper after seeing this thread, so the third sentence doesn't apply. So you're probably fine, TarynShea. Tho' if I were you, I'd include a little note, so the judges don't say "These two teams submitted the same 17-page paper, obviously they broke rule 25!"

Just remember: if you win, invite me along on that pirate ship!

EDIT: Uh-oh, folks, looks like we've got a contender

TarynShea
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Re: GISHWHES Erdos Number challenge

Postby TarynShea » Sat Aug 09, 2014 5:15 am UTC

Yeah, I've been looking at that. It shouldn't be an issue because you're not on a team and because this was posted on a public thread. But I will make sure to include the link to this just in case. I was mostly asking because I wanted to make sure you were alright with me using your work.
If we win you will most definitely get an invite. :D


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