Tuesday, January 16, 2007

interesting thought...

Found this on a webpage about wavelet transforms...you never know what you will find where.

At the beginning of my journey, I was naive. I didn't yet know that answers vanish as one continues to travel, that there is only further complexity, that there are still more interrelationships, and more questions.

Robert D. Kaplan, The Ends of the Earth: a journey to the frountiers of anarchy, Vintage Press, 1996

Sunday, January 07, 2007

When Genius Failed...

The latest book I have read is titled "When Genius Failed" by Roger Lowenstein.

It is about the meteoric rise and equally spectacular fall of LONG TERM CAPITAL MANAGEMENT. A hedge fund by nature,it had on board star traders from Wall Street and Merton and Scholes(Nobel Laureates) whose work forms the basis of all modern finance.

With such a stellar cast and the backing of all the major banks on Wall Street LTCM had all the right credentials to make it big. Their trades were cold,calculated bets based on MATHEMATICS. Their behaviour in the good times brings only one word, repeated many times in the book, to mind:

George Soros, in a lecture in IISc, said that ours is the age of fallibility.
Human beings tend to do irrational things. It is LTCM's inability to include this human factor in their trades that contributed greatly to their fall apart from their
(over)confidence in their "models".

All in all, a very good read though the Rs. 500/- price tag is a bit of a pinch on the pocket.

Looking forward to Hannibal Rising.


This is my favourite TV series while I still watched TV(along with the Star Treks). In the pilot episode itself math is used to track a serial murderer.

Somewhere the assumptions go wrong and it all blows up in their face (only to be sorted out later ...obviously).
Was watching this episode as I waited for the clock to tick down pending my departure from home on 31st December.
Liked this dialogue between the Mathematician Charles Eppes and the physicist Larry Fleihnardt that I wrote it down.
CE : Larry something went wrong and I don't know what. Now it looks like I can't even think.
LF: Let me guess...you tried to solve a problem involving human behaviour and it blew up in your face.
.(will not bore you with the rest of it)

LF : And Charlie, when you're dealing with human problems there's going to be pain and disappointment. You got to ask yourself IS IT WORTH IT?

Aired on November 12th,2005 on AXN in India.