Nowadays, in most countries, everyone has a surname. Some names are very common, like “de Jong” in the Netherlands, or for example “Nguyễn” in Vietnam, where almost 40% of the population has this surname. On the other hand, some surnames are extremely rare. For instance in Thailand, where surnames were largely introduced in 1913 and no family was allowed to duplicate any existing surnames. Perhaps, you have a very rare surname yourself. Then you might have asked yourself this question: will my family name ever go extinct? In this article, I will demonstrate a mathematical […]

21 januari •
Door
Stan Koobs
• Estimated reading time: 4 minuten

If you are a basketball fan, you are probably familiar with the term: the hot hand. This is often used when a player is on a scoring streak and it seems likely that he will also score the next point. He is very confident, he feels good, and therefore it seems like his hand is just “on fire”. Former Chicago Bulls coach Doug Collins famously told about their tactic at the end of the match when Michael Jordan was doing well: “Get the ball to Michael and everybody get the f*** out of the way”. […]

01 december •
Door
Stan Koobs
• Estimated reading time: 8 minuten

When you were still a little child, you were probably told that all babies were delivered by storks. Later, when you got older, you found out that this idea is total nonsense. However, imagine that you are still in doubt whether this idea is true, and to discover the truth, you want to use your statistical abilities. As it turns out, from a statistical point of view it seems that storks really do deliver babies. Or does it not? Robert Matthews In the year 2000, Robert Matthews, professor at Aston University, published an academic paper […]

15 oktober •
Door
Stan Koobs
• Estimated reading time: 3 minuten

A lot of different opinions circulate through society about the ongoing corona crisis. One thinks that the government imposed ridiculous measures, another believes that the government is being far too lenient and maybe you feel that it is fine this way. Even among researchers, there is still a lot of dissension. Where does this radical difference of opinions come from if everyone has the same data? Motivated reasoning Obviously, fighting the coronavirus is a complex problem and therefore, there is not one simple solution. However, this polarity among experts in the field can partially be […]

01 september •
Door
Stan Koobs
• Estimated reading time: 6 minuten

Elon Musk has always been known as a man of revolutionary ideas, but the following idea might be the most revolutionary of them all. Last week on the 7th of May, he joined the Joe Rogan podcast. Here he revealed new details about his company Neuralink. The idea of this company is to implant very thin electrode wires in the human brain. In this way, it can cure almost any disease which has something to do with the brain. Furthermore, these devices would even allow us to communicate with each other without speaking. The technique […]

14 mei •
Door
Stan Koobs
• Estimated reading time: 4 minuten

At the moment we live in a big crisis, the corona crisis. Already more than one million people over the world are infected and more than 60,000 people died. A lot of countries are having big outbreaks and the health care is having capacity problems. This is also one the many articles which you probably have seen about the coronavirus. What distinguishes this article from the rest is that it will dive a lot deeper into the mathematical models which researchers use to forecast the spread of the coronavirus. It is of course extremely important […]

07 april •
Door
Stan Koobs
• Estimated reading time: 6 minuten

Feeling spontaneous, the mayor of Groningen wants to help all singles in the city. He wants to do this by organizing a date for every single in town. Since he thinks that you are pretty smart, because you study econometrics, he gives you the job of making all the combinations for the dates. How would you do this? In this case, we assume that we know the preferences of everyone. So from every man, we get a list with a ranking of women he prefers and from every woman we get a list with a […]

06 februari •
Door
Stan Koobs
• Estimated reading time: 3 minuten

It is almost that time of the year again: 5 December. In the Netherlands we also call it ‘pakjesavond’. Especially the children look forward to it throughout the whole year. A well known tradition around this time of the year is drawing lots: everybody gets a lot with the name of somebody else and you should buy a gift and write a poem for that person. An often encountered problem is that you do not draw another person but that you draw yourself. But how likely is it that this will happen? When I […]

03 december •
Door
Stan Koobs
• Estimated reading time: 5 minuten

Normally, when we apply mathematics in the real world it is to find patterns, to find the underlying dynamics of something which is complex at first sight. We use it for example to predict earthquakes, to compute the premium of an insurance or to find the optimal strategy how to run our business. These are things which follow patterns, they do not happen out of the blue and there is some underlying logic. However, not everything can easily be described by math. On that side, I would put love. Love is mysterious and a lot […]

15 oktober •
Door
Stan Koobs
• Estimated reading time: 4 minuten

Today we live in a world where data science and machine learning are getting bigger and bigger. The current output of data in the world is roughly 2.5 quintillion bytes a day and a quintillion means a number followed by 18 zeros! But what about situations when there is very little data but actions need to be taken? For example, when the coast guard is searching for a person lost at sea. The United States Coast Guard (USCG) encounters about 20,000 search and rescue cases in a year. This can be anything: a person who […]

03 september •
Door
Stan Koobs
• Estimated reading time: 6 minuten

You have probably already heard about this sequence during one of your math classes. It is a famous one and it is called the Fibonacci sequence. This is of course a really simple sequence which everyone can understand. However, it turns out that it has some beautiful properties which we recognize in almost everything. Back in 1202, the Italian mathematician Leonardo Fibonacci wrote in his book “Liber Abaci” about a simple mathematical sequence. This sequence starts with the numbers 0 and 1 and the next number is just the sum of the two numbers before. […]

30 mei •
Door
Stan Koobs
• Estimated reading time: 3 minuten

How did Google become so successful? What did the first search engine look like? The answer to these questions is related to a pretty basic mathematical concept which was revolutionary in that time. In this article I will tell you about the PageRank algorithm, which is the first and best known algorithm that Google uses. You may have heard the name earlier, Larry Page, he is one of the founders of Google and also one of the richest men in the world. He studied computer science at the University of Michigan and at Stanford University. […]

02 april •
Door
Stan Koobs
• Estimated reading time: 6 minuten