Friday, November 09, 2007

The Cutting Edge!

In a radical departure from the usual freshman-level math class, I am going to be teaching some very modern mathematics today.

Often freshmen tend to be learning about algebra (techniques developed 500-1000 years ago) or calculus (about 300 years ago). Mix in some ancient Greek geometry (2300 years ago), and there you have it.

Today in the honor gen-ed class I'm starting on cake-cutting (fair division) problems. The general problem for n people was solved in 1995.

One of the algorithms that I'll be talking about was developed about four months ago by a high school student who lives near Chicago. I saw him give a talk on his work when I was at MIT this summer, and he sent me a pdf of his manuscript.