Month: September 2012

Who has been given the cash changing problem?
Some class, somewhere, has obviously been given the recursive money changing problem as a piece of work, because I have had several hundred visits in the last week from people seeking to get a grip on it. Here’s the best solution, either buy Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs or simply read it for free online. […]

A (partial) reply to @pootblog
This has been sitting around for a few days now, because I don’t really want to have a flame war with someone I like, but here goes anyway… Damian Counsell (@pootblog) objected to what I wrote about grammar schools, so I thought I’d do a proper reply. His comments in italics. Those 75% of students—sorry: “victims”—”thrown […]

Shoe laces and psychopathy
When I think back to my time in the mid1970s at Holy Child Primary School in Andersonstown in West Belfast I often conclude that the principal qualification for teaching most staff there had was either a hatred of children or a psychopathic desire to do them physical and mental harm. (I am not joking by […]

How to destroy our science base
This is a first (for me) – writing a blog inside a university library – photographic evidence attached. Term does not start for another fortnight – Freshers’ Week is next week – and so there are not that many of us in the library. Of those of us here I’d guess about 50%, perhaps more, […]

Not a proof that aleph null and the order of the continuum are the same
One final point from Wheels, Life and Other Mathematical Amusements– this time a “nonproof”. Some argue that the order of the counting numbers, is the same as that of the continuum – in other words that there is no difference in the scale of these two infinities. Here is an argument that is sometimes advanced […]

Subsets of the continuum
Following on from the discussion of the set of all the integers, with order , and the set of all its subsets– the continuum, of order with – what can we say about the set of all subsets of the continuum? Like any other set of order we can say it has order , in this […]

Another way of looking at the alephs
This is another insight gained from Wheels, Life and Other Mathematical Amusements– this time about the transfinite numbers. The smallest transfinite number, so called is that of the countable infinity, or the counting numbers (the integers). Start at 1 (or 0) and keep going. But how many sets can one make from the counting numbers? […]

‘O’ levels versus GCSEs
I have 11 ‘O’ and 2 ‘Advanced Ordinary’ (AO) GCEs to my name, so I reckon I was in the upper decile of that exam system before it was replaced by the GCSE. But I have no love for it and the proposal that it or something like it should be brought back is populist […]

Feeling a little bit thrilled about this
Peter J. Denning has referenced my MSc project on the working set in a (draft) article he has written for the CRC Handbook of Computer Science and Engineering.

Weasel words from the DWP on Universal Credit?
Britain is once more being an IT pioneer, with the world’s biggest “agile” software development project – for the Universal Credit that will, the law states, replace a myriad of different state benefits in the autumn of 2013. If you know anything about software development the above sentence ought to make you feel, at the […]