Categorie: Wiskunde

Newcombs paradox

Newcomb’s paradox

Let’s suppose that we have a game with two players. One is a person that will make a decision and the other is a supercomputer that will try and predict that decision beforehand. This computer has been tested many times and the testers have worked out that the computer can predict the decision of the player with 99% accuracy. The game works as follows: two boxes are placed in front of the player. One box is clear and contains a visible 1,000 euros. The other box is opaque, which means the contents are unknown to […]

15 april • Door David Anthonio Tijd om te lezen Estimated reading time: 5 minuten
perpetual motion

The conundrum of perpetual motion

It is no surprise that the 19th  century was a time of scientific breakthroughs and wondrous inventions. However, for the people of Philadelphia, this meant that for only one dollar they could admire the most amazing machine in the world: a machine that stayed in motion forever without any external source of energy. The inventor of this device was a gentleman called Charles Redheffer, and his invention attracted a lot of spectators from all over the state. His machine stayed in motion due to two weights which, using gravity, pushed a large horizontal gear away […]

06 april • Door Fenna Beentjes Tijd om te lezen Estimated reading time: 6 minuten

Is OLS a thing of the past?

One of the most popular regression methods an econometrician learns is the Ordinary Least Squares (OLS). It is a simple and elegant way of estimating parameters in linear regression. However, there is another technique to perform linear regression using concepts from machine learning. This concept is called gradient boosting and is also related to decision trees.    Decision trees A decision tree uses a tree-like model of decisions and possible consequences. It is a very common data mining algorithm used for operations research, specifically in decision analysis. The idea behind it can easily be understood […]

23 februari • Door Sam Ansari Tijd om te lezen Estimated reading time: 10 minuten
family name

Will your family name ever go extinct?

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 Tijd om te lezen Estimated reading time: 4 minuten

Are jugglers actually math enthusiasts?

Juggling, something we have all tried at least once in our life. For some, it resulted in the great satisfaction of three balls flying in perfect harmony through the air. For others, it was a traumatic experience of balls flying everywhere except for the right place. It is a quite challenging, but rewarding hobby. Some studies have even shown that people who learn to juggle have a boost in their brain development. Learning to juggle accelerates the growth of neural connections related to memory, focus, movement, and vision. But despite what some people might think, […]

19 januari • Door Deirdre Westenbrink Tijd om te lezen Estimated reading time: 5 minuten

Christmas with a mathematical touch

At first, you may think that mathematics has nothing to do with Christmas. The only link I could think of was calculating whether you have enough budget to buy that all those present for your family. However, mathematicians will always think of a way to integrate mathematics and thus, also for Christmas. One of the most popular applications of mathematics to Christmas is analyzing the song “Twelve Days of Christmas”. In this song, a surprising mathematical pattern is used to find out how many presents the singer receives during the twelve days of Christmas. Furthermore, […]

22 december • Door Renske Zijm Tijd om te lezen Estimated reading time: 3 minuten

Reversion to mediocrity

Nowadays, research in many fields involves statistics. Whether it comes down to a government’s decisions on measures fighting a pandemic or the Red Bull formula 1 racing team deciding on whether Verstappen should swap tires in the next lap, it sounds like a good idea to back the decision with statistics. For a fair amount of time, appliance of statistics has seemed one of the most irrefutable means of proving a claim or, in other situations, coming to the right conclusion. In their essence, statistics seem, when employed properly, to be telling the story as-is, […]

15 december • Door Pieter Dilg Tijd om te lezen Estimated reading time: 5 minuten
"one-way" speed of light

Measuring the speed of light

299,792,458 metres per second. That is the speed of light as we concluded ourselves. Even the definition of a metre is based on this. One metre namely is equal to the distance light travels in 1/ 299,792,458 of a second. Even though this sounds like a joke, as it is so straightforward, it is actually true. It shows that we are really sure about the speed at which light travels. However, should we be so sure that this number is correct? The answer should be no, as we actually do not know the “one-way” speed […]

03 december • Door Casper de Vries Tijd om te lezen Estimated reading time: 5 minuten

Who will conquer the world?

  Risk has been one of the most beloved board games since its release more than sixty years ago. With this classic board game, a fun evening with your friends or family can soon turn into an hours-long war where alliances are forged, troops are lost and battles are won. This family game has brought a lot of joy as well as quarrels and has produced many victors over the years. But what exactly is the best way to conquer the world? Is there a way to ensure your victory? In this article I will […]

24 november • Door Fenna Beentjes Tijd om te lezen Estimated reading time: 9 minuten

Rethink the way you think about randomness!

Imagine you get the opportunity to flip a coin for only 1 dollar : if it turns up heads, you win 50% and if it turns up tails you lose 40% of your initial bet. Of course we’re all familiar with calculating expected payoffs: since this bet has an expected payoff of 0.5*1.5 + 0.5*0.6=1.05, you should take it. Right? Well, it might be a little less obvious.   Suppose you flip the coin another time. Your wealth will, depending on the flips, either be 2.25 (two heads), 0.9 (one heads, one tails),  or 0.36 […]

12 november • Door Simon Elgersma Tijd om te lezen Estimated reading time: 5 minuten

A look at an economic application of the Lotka-Volterra equations

The Lotka-Volterra model is mostly referred to as the predator-prey model. This model is used to describe lots of commonly encountered ecological processes. One of the more famous ones is the rabbit and the fox model. This is a cyclical relation between the amount of rabbits and foxes. More on this will be explained further on. In economics, we also encounter lots of cycles and that is why another application of this model could find a place in economics. Therefore, the Lotka-Volterra equations are potentially very useful in such an economic setting and may be […]

10 november • Door David Anthonio Tijd om te lezen Estimated reading time: 6 minuten

Donald Duck and the magic wheel

Donald Duck, the unfortunate duck that we all know and love, has had it. He angrily shouts at Scrooge McDuck: “every single day I’m brushing coins for you, and yet you barely pay me enough to buy food for my own nephews. I demand a raise!” Scrooge responds: “No way! A lazybones like you should be happy that I’m not firing you! But if you really want a shot at earning more money, you can have this magic wheel that I got from the prince of Farawayland as part of a trading deal. He told […]

03 november • Door Sjors Keet Tijd om te lezen Estimated reading time: 7 minuten

By Daniele Zedda • 18 February


By Daniele Zedda • 18 February

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