*Hidden Figures* tells the story of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson, three black women who played crucial roles in one of NASA's finest hours: launching an American into orbit for the first time. As the film's first trailer shows, their story is not only important, it's long overdue.

**Source: **20th Century Fox

You've probably been asked to prove a math solution at some point, but never like this. Researchers have created the world's largest math proof while solving the Boolean Pythagorean triples problem, consuming a whopping 200TB of data -- the previous record was 'just' 13GB. The sheer size came from having to consider the sheer range (nearly 1 trillion) of possibilities involved in coloring integers. You could technically use a 68GB compressed version at home, but it'd take about 30,000 hours of processing time to crunch the data.

**Via: **Nature, Popular Mechanics

**Source: **ArXiv.org

Math isn't everyone's strong suit, especially those who haven't stretched that part of their brain since college. Thanks to the wonders of image recognition technology, we now have Mathpix, an iOS app that lets you point your phone camera at a problem and calculates solutions in seconds.

**Source: **Motherboard

It's no mean feat to find the factors of a very large number -- even a supercomputer can take years to find all the multipliers. However, MIT researchers have found a way to clear this massive hurdle. They've built a quantum computer that discovers number factors using just five atoms. Four of the atoms are turned into logic gates using laser pulses that put them into superpositions (where they maintain two different energy states at once), while the fifth atom stores and delivers answers. The result is a computer that not only calculates solutions much more efficiently than existing quantum systems, but scales relatively easily. Need to get the factors for a larger number? Introduce more atoms.

**Source: **MIT News

Fractal art can already be mesmerizing when you're staring at a 2D picture, but artist Matteo Zamagni has found a way to kick things up a notch. His Nature Abstraction art project has you diving into 3D fractals thanks to both an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset and the almost psychedelic imagery from Google's neural network-based Deepdream. The result, as you'll see below, is rather hypnotic -- you're floating through formula-based shapes that are at once familiar and completely alien. Zamagni sees it as a way to challenge the accuracy of your perceptions. You're sadly too late to see this installation in person (it was part of an exhibit at London's Barbican this August), but here's hoping that it resurfaces... it looks like a wild mind trip.

**Via: **The Creators Project

**Source: **Alt-O

You probably know that the screen on your computer or phone can display millions of colors, if not more. However, have you wondered what it would look like if you tried to represent all of those colors in a single piece of art? Well, you're looking at it. Qubit researcher and math guru Mike Swarbrick Jones has posted a code-driven animation that shows all the colors in a 24-bit RGB palette exactly once. The technique (which relies on mapping colors to voxels, or 3D pixels) produces a kind of "rainbow smoke" that, as you can see in the clip below, is rather hypnotic -- it's tempting to watch it on a loop and meditate. While this won't produce a masterpiece, it's proof that a good idea and the right calculations can lead to some truly eye-catching (not to mention mind-bending) visuals.

**Source: **Mike Swarbrick Jones

*No Man's Sky* is impressive. It's a mind-bogglingly massive game and from what we've seen, it's pretty to boot. But enough about that -- let's talk about *math*. Specifically, the math that makes this game possible. The YouTube channel *PBS Game/Show* has collected the numerical information that makes *No Man's Sky* tick and presents it in a lovely, straightforward fashion for everyone to enjoy. *No Man's Sky* lead Sean Murray makes a few appearances in the video, of course, and we got a one-on-one, hands-on demo of the game with him during E3. Suffice it to say, 10 minutes isn't long enough to properly enjoy *No Man's Sky* -- but a lifetime probably won't be long enough, either. See for yourself below.

Dr. John Nash, the Nobel Prize-winning mathematician whose work included noncooperative game theory, has died aged 86. Known as Nash equilibrium, the theory is used in a broad range of fields, including economics, other social sciences, evolutionary biology as well as influencing computing and artificial intelligence. His work and life were turned into the film *A Beautiful Mind*, starring Russell Crowe, which won an Oscar for Best Picture in 2001, also putting focus on the stigma of mental illness. Nash's famed work in math and other fields extended beyond the game theory work that won him the Nobel Prize.

**Source: **BBC

You're never going to beat *Tetris*. Sorry. You might be asking why I'm so pessimistic and even though that's perfectly natural, *PBS*' *Game/Show* will back me up here. While the seven multicolored falling bricks (officially called "tetrominoes") all fit together pretty nicely, they only occupy a space that's eight tiles wide when fully combined. Coupled with the size of the playing space -- the "well," as it's called, is ten tiles wide -- there's always going to be room for screw-ups that are out of your control. There's a ton of math, studies of probability and statistics to explain it all, too. As host Jamin Warren tells it (citing a research paper from 1996), failure is due in no small part to how the "bag" randomly generates pieces that're dropping.

**Source: **PBS Game/Show (YouTube)

If you were an NFL player, what would you do in between games? Live the high life? Spend more time working out? The Baltimore Ravens' John Urschel does something decidedly geekier: co-author math papers. The offensive lineman recently helped publish details of a "cascadic multigrid algorithm for computing the Fiedler vector of graph Laplacians" (no, we don't get it either), which would be impressive for any aspiring mathematician -- let alone one who spends his days crushing rivals on the football field. This isn't his first such paper, but it's notable that he's keeping up his academic pursuits even after graduating from Penn State and joining the big leagues.

**Source: **ArXiv.org

Who said that graphing calculators were dead in the smartphone era? Certainly not Texas Instruments -- if anything, it's showing that there's still plenty of life left in dedicated math machines. Its new TI-84 Plus CE is 30 percent thinner and 30 percent lighter than the regular Plus, making for a surprisingly sleek-looking way to crunch numbers. It has six times the memory, too, so you can store more color graphs and images (and, let's be honest, a fresh copy of *Drugwars* for goofing off mid-class). TI hasn't divulged pricing for the Plus CE, although its new design and advanced feature set hint that it'll be relatively costly when it arrives in the spring. Look at it this way, though: you might just be the envy of your fellow students when you take this svelte plotter out of your backpack.

**Via: **Cemetech

Or, as another commenter puts it, CCP has basically "stolen our young adult lives." Click past the cut to see the clip.

**Source: **YouTube

Answer: Don't Be Stupid is a game that makes you feel ever so slightly, well, stupid. That's because it's based off of simple math problems most of us learned in the first grade. However, when put in this format, it's not so easy. The objective is to determine if the number on the left is less than, equal to or greater than the sum of the numbers on the right as quickly as possible. If you're not quick enough, you lose. If you're wrong, you lose. Time to recharge that brain with fast-moving numbers. The game is free for iPhone and iPad and requires iOS 7.0 or later.

In every round, a blue box holding a random number is steadily in place on the left. A mathematical expression slides in on the right in its own box, creeping closer to the other number. Before the two boxes touch, you must use the three buttons below: the less-than symbol, the equal symbol or the greater-than symbol. Tap these in accordance with the numbers and expressions and how they relate to each other.

Don't worry, the expressions don't get too out of hand. For instance, if the number in the blue box is nine and the expression is eight plus one, tap the Equal button. The game is in a constant rapid fire mode, so there's no time to pause and celebrate each time you finish. After the first level, you're on to the next.

As Answer progresses, it gets more difficult. The expression on the right starts sliding at a faster pace giving you less time to choose the correct answer. The numbers get more complex, too, growing larger and eventually broadening to include all integers rather than solely natural numbers. This means you might come across some negatives.

I have yet to get far enough to see if Answer transitions into harder problems like multiplication or division. There's some subtraction at times, but my suspicion is that it doesn't go beyond that based on the app description stating it's for "practicing addition."

Answer has two modes to boot: Normal and Hard. The Hard difficulty seemingly just starts off on a similar intensity to when Normal is about 25 levels in. Math was always a pretty strong subject for me in school, but don't let that fool you. The "Don't Be Stupid" slogan in the title gets somewhat challenging to fulfill. To score well, you have to act quickly, wisely and under pressure.

The game integrates with Game Center to store your rankings and unlock badges for each level you pass. You won't find a multiplayer mode, in-app purchases or settings. Down the road, it might be nice to have modes for multiplication, division and other kinds of math so Answer can train your brain to learn more than just addition.

Answer is a fun title that simultaneously gets easier and harder the more you play. The levels get more difficult, but it really does train your brain to respond quicker and with the correct answers. "Fun" and "educational" are two concepts that don't always coexist, but Answer: Don't Be Stupid accomplishes just that. Get it in the App Store for free. ]]>

Wrapping your head around quantum physics is tricky, no matter how well-educated you are -- if it were easy, there wouldn't be problems making quantum computers. However, researchers at the National University of Singapore believe they've found a way to make things simpler. They've determined that wave-particle duality (where quantum objects behave like waves) is really a manifestation of the uncertainty principle, which limits your ability to know two related properties of a quantum particle. As it turns out, you can rework the math for wave-particle duality to apply to certain uncertainty relations. They're just two sides of the same coin.

**Via: **Phys.org

**Source: **arXiv.org

Calvertr (US$2.99) is a clever evolution of the standard calculator and conversions app. As a calculator it is pretty basic, but where it really shines is in its conversion abilities. As a currency converter, for example, it supports 157 different monetary systems around the world. Categories or types are searchable, conversion data can be shared with friends, and the app lets you share a note along with results. There are literally conversions for almost anything: astronomical, calendar days between dates, radioactivity, ROI, fuel consumption, and the list goes on and on from the mundane (like calculating tips at restaurants) to the more arcane like viscosity and torque conversions.

The app supports AirDrop sharing and printing if you are so equipped. Calvertr also supports the new iOS 8 Notifications Center widgets, which lets you select your most-used functions and have them available instantly in Notifications Center.

The look and feel of the app is attractive, with screens that are easy to read and understand. When you first launch the app there are help screens to get you started. To go back to any previous page, just flick the screen to the right.

After seeing so many calculator apps and conversion apps, it's nice to see some fresh thinking. I'd like the calculator to take on more functions, though. It seems out of balance with the terrific conversions side of the app. I found one rather interesting bug: in calculating days between any two dates i could not get any date other than today on both ends of the calculation -- that will clearly need to be fixed, and soon.

The app is worth the money, and the widget support is a welcome feature. Calvertr requires iOS 7 or greater. It's a universal app and it is optimized for the iPhone 5 and 6 series of iPhones.

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Need a little help getting through your next big math exam? MicroBlink has an app that could help you study more effectively -- perhaps *too* effectively. Its newly unveiled PhotoMath for iOS and Windows Phone (Android is due in early 2015) uses your smartphone's camera to scan math equations and not only solve them, but show the steps involved. Officially, it's meant to save you time flipping through a textbook to check answers when you're doing homework or cramming for a test. However, there's a concern that this could trivialize learning -- just because it shows you how to solve a problem doesn't mean that the knowledge will actually sink in. And if teachers don't confiscate smartphones at the door, unscrupulous students could cheat when no one is looking. The chances of that happening aren't very high at this stage, but apps like this suggest that schools might have to be vigilant in the future.

**Via: **Quartz, TechCrunch

**Source: **PhotoMath

Tired of waiting for George R. R. Martin to finish the next book in the Song of Ice and Fire series? So is the University of Canterbury's Richard Vale: he's created a statistical model based on the series' previous tomes to predict what might be in the next book. Don't worry though, it's mostly spoiler free. Vale's analysis of Game of Thrones doesn't account for plot or foreshadowing -- it's strictly a numbers game.

**Via: **Medium

**Source: **Cornell University Library

The Xprize organization has inspired people to take on some pretty lofty goals, ranging from sequencing genomes to literal moonshots. Today, though, it's focusing on a very practical objective: improving education for hundreds of millions of kids. Its new Global Learning Xprize will offer a total of $15 million to teams that build open source, easily scaled software that lets young ones in developing countries teach themselves math, reading and writing. Anyone hoping to join in will have 18 months to craft their tools, which will be tested in at least 100 villages. The top five entrants will get $1 million each, while the winning entry will get a hefty $10 million. It may not be the flashiest competition, but it could go a long, long way toward tackling the chronic shortages of schools and teachers that ultimately hurt kids' futures.

[Image credit: Saeed Khan/AFP/Getty Images]

]]>I've learned even more practical things than that from my years in MMOs. I've learned leadership skills, honed math and spreadsheet skills, and worked on mastering the art of patience -- OK, so I'm still working on that one. I've also watched ESL guildies perfect their language and writing skills and seen still others parlay this hobby of ours into careers in gaming and coding and journalism.

What about you? What real-world lessons or skills have you learned thanks to MMOs?

The Apple calculator in iOS and OS X have remained pretty much unchanged since both were released. They work fine, but the Numerical calculator for iOS (free for a limited time) takes cues from the iOS 7 design language and adds some features that are terrific, but might take some getting used to.

The app bills itself as a "Calculator without Equal' and that is literally true -- there is no equals button. You enter your numbers, like 2+2 and 4 appears.

As you work, Numerical creates a history of your calculations, and there is an undo key that lets you delete your last entries. Many actions are done using swipes, which work for undo, redo and saving an answer. The app also supports the clipboard.

If you do something wrong like divide a number by zero, the app gives you a plain English answer as to what is wrong. That's most welcome.

The app isn't perfect -- there is no percentages button or localized decimals, but both are about to be added. It's not a specialized scientific calculator with dedicated function keys, which Apple's iOS version turns into in landscape mode. The Numerical calculator sounds can be turned off or on, and it only works in portrait orientation.

Numerical is getting good reviews from users, and it really is some fresh thinking for people who use calculators frequently. The app requires iOS 7, and it's optimized for the iPhone 5. When it's not free, it's US$2.99, so if you are interested make a quick trip to the App Store today.

]]>If Bitcoin currency conversion is too trivial a use for you, loyal Bing user, perhaps the *addition* of a calculator will help solve the equation of your unhappiness. Simply type a math problem into Microsoft's search engine and, as *Windows Phone Central* has noticed, an interactive scientific calculator will pop up with the answer. From there you can do as much math within a browser tab as your non-Googling heart desires. *WPC *also notes that while the calculator interface won't be making its way to Windows Phone, entering a math problem into the mobile flavor of Bing will still return the answer to your query. It's no graphing calculator, to be sure, but Mountain View wasn't built in a day, either.

**Source: **Bing

Slice Fractions is a new learning game from Ululab that was designed in collaboration with a team of learning experts from the University of Quebec in Montreal. As its name implies, the app focuses on fractions and presents the math concept in a series of slicing puzzles that are part Cut the Rope, part Fruit Ninja.

The goal of Slice Fractions is to break up chunks of ice and lava as you clear a path for a wooly mammoth that is walking in the forest. Slicing up the chunks is not as easy as it first appears. You must use hanging blocks that are suspended on ropes to blow up the ice and lava on the ground. The challenge is to figure out which ropes you need to cut in order to get the blocks to fall so they demolish the obstacles in your mammoth's path. The puzzles start off easy and gradually increase in difficulty.

As the mammoth meanders in the forest, he encounters new creatures and collects wild-looking hats that he wears on his walk. The animation is top-notch -- each character is incredibly adorable and the background music is delightfully catchy. Even as an adult, I found the game to be endearing and enjoyed playing myself.

Slice Fractions is a great puzzler, but you may be wondering how the concept of fractions fits into the game. For better or worse, the teaching of fractions within the app is subtle. There are no lessons on fractions or any concrete explanation on how fractions fit into the breaking up of ice and lava.

In fact, most of the early stages of the game are meant to introduce your child to solving the puzzles. It's only in the middle to latter stages that you see any mention of fractions, and even then it's up to the child to figure out (or the parent to point out) how the chunks on the ground represent a small part of a whole.

For example, the game may show four blocks of lava on the ground that are contained in a box with six parts, as shown above. Your child would have to notice that the blocks represent four out of six or 4/6. In my experience, my children focused on the puzzle part and completely missed the learning part, even when the fractions were written on the blocks.

Slice Fractions would work well if you had a parent or teacher who used the app as part of a formal lesson on fractions. The instructor could point out the math concepts to the child as he or she progressed through the game. The app is suitable for guided instruction, but it is not an independent learning app that you hand to your children with the expectation they will become a fraction whiz by the time they are done with all the levels.

Slice Fractions is an enjoyable game that challenges your child to solve complex puzzles, while teaching fractions on the side. It's a universal app that'll work on the iPad and iPhone and is available for US$2.99 from the iOS App Store. There are no ads and no in-app purchases.

]]>Concerned that not enough is being done to help kids with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) subjects? Kentucky's Senate has just passed a bill that would count computer-programming classes as foreign language credits. That way, if students wanted to learn to code in favor of, say, French or Spanish, they'd be able to count that study toward their high school graduation. Senate Bill 16 will now pass to the Kentucky State House, but it seems like the sort of sensible policy that we'd expect from the home of Bourbon.

**Via: **The Loop

**Source: **Courier-journal

Raspberry Pi computers have already proven to be valuable educational tools, but they're largely blank slates until teachers (and curious owners) find the right software. As of today, that software search just got a lot easier. The company has reached a deal to bundle Wolfram Research's Mathematica app and its companion Wolfram Language with each copy of Raspbian Linux; every Raspberry Pi owner now has free tools for everything from learning math to sophisticated programming. The deal also brings a Remote Development Kit that lets tinkerers connect the Raspberry Pi to Mathematica on a regular PC. While the updated Raspbian download isn't yet ready, all existing users can run a command to install Wolfram's suite. Only some owners will need the bundle, but it could go a long way toward promoting math to a younger generation.

**Source: **Raspberry Pi, Stephen Wolfram

D-Wave has long wanted to show that its quantum computing technology is the real deal, and it may have just come closer to proving its case. The company now says that its computer has calculated Ramsey numbers, or solutions to optimization-based math problems that are sometimes difficult to find using traditional systems. The computation represented one of the biggest-ever implementations of an algorithm, according to researchers. However, the feat isn't necessarily proof of quantum computing at work. As *Wired* explains, we've seen all of these numbers in previous experiments; the challenge wasn't difficult enough to require the involvement of a quantum computer. However, D-Wave may have better evidence in the future. Its third-generation system, due in 2015, should have enough power to find Ramsay numbers that are theoretically impossible to calculate today.

**Via: **Wired

**Source: **Physical Review Letters