## Digital Dice: |

Some probability problems are so difficult that they stump the smartest mathematicians. But even the hardest of these problems can often be solved with a computer and a Monte Carlo simulation, in which a random-number generator simulates a physical process, such as a million rolls of a pair of dice. This is what Popular-math writer Paul Nahin challenges readers to solve twenty-one difficult but fun problems, from determining the odds of coin-flipping games to figuring out the behavior of elevators. Problems build from relatively easy (deciding whether a dishwasher who breaks most of the dishes at a restaurant during a given week is clumsy or just the victim of randomness) to the very difficult (tackling branching processes of the kind that had to be solved by Manhattan Project mathematician Stanislaw Ulam). In his characteristic style, Nahin brings the problems to life with interesting and odd historical anecdotes. Readers learn, for example, not just how to determine the optimal stopping point in any selection process but that astronomer Johannes Kepler selected his second wife by interviewing eleven women. The book shows readers how to write elementary computer codes using any common programming language, and provides solutions and line-by-line walk-throughs of a MATLAB code for each problem.
"The problems are accessible but still realistic enough to be engaging, and the solutions in the back of the book will get you through any sticky spots. Writing your own versions of a few of these programs will acquaint you with a useful approach to problem solving and a novel style of thinking." " "[An] enjoyable read, as [Nahin] writes clearly, with humour and is not afraid to include equations where necessary. Nahin spices the book throughout with factual and anecdotal snippets. "[T]he book is targeted at teachers and students of probability theory or computer science, as well as aficionados of recreational mathematics, but anyone who is familiar with the basics of probability and is capable of writing simple computer programs will have no problem working their way through this interesting and rewarding book." "After the appearance of the author's earlier book on probability problems, [ "This well-written entertaining collection of twenty-one probability problems presents their origin and history as well as their computer solutions. . . . These problems could be used in a computer programming course or a probability course that includes Monte Carlo simulations."
- Chases and Escapes: The Mathematics of Pursuit and Evasion. [Paperback]
- Dr. Euler's Fabulous Formula: Cures Many Mathematical Ills. [Paperback]
- Duelling Idiots and Other Probability Puzzlers. [Paperback]
- An Imaginary Tale: The Story of i [the square root of minus one]. [Paperback]
- The Logician and the Engineer: How George Boole and Claude Shannon Created the Information Age. [Hardcover]
- Mrs. Perkins's Electric Quilt: And Other Intriguing Stories of Mathematical Physics. [Hardcover]
- Number-Crunching: Taming Unruly Computational Problems from Mathematical Physics to Science Fiction. [Hardcover]
- When Least Is Best: How Mathematicians Discovered Many Clever Ways to Make Things as Small (or as Large) as Possible. [Paperback]
- Will You Be Alive 10 Years from Now? And Numerous Other Curious Questions in Probability. [Hardcover]
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