The Last Supper (Free) Lunch

[This post is dedicated to the Babba, the past-master of concocting Gtalk chats from thin air, the Sole Diety Worthy Of Worship of younglings trying to follow in his hallowed footsteps, and most importantly, Supreme Guide To The Most Important Matters Français]

Our grad-school app group was graced by this piece of glorious news sometime ago:

Junta

[The SSSaviour, name withheld till grad-school deadlines are past] has just told me that he would not entertain any more app recos with him. So please drop your plans to meet him for recos. he is kinda serious about it ..

Anyways all the best to all .. happy apping :)

Regards

After that, Messrs. Master-Sleuth Private Eye, Ear, Nose, Keylogger and Other Allied Services Pvt. Ltd. bravely fought their way to the battlefront to exclusively bring the users of this blog the Truth, the whole Truth, and way much more than just the Truth. In the face of murderous onslaughts, risking our very lives, we bring to you, and to you only, gentle reader and patron, a GTalk conversation overkeylogged with highly advanced Intelligence Technology.

[You might have heard from anti-social elements attempting to discredit the authority of this blog and slander its impeccable reputation, that (I'm sorry, I can't hold back a snicker now) (mmppfff) the chat that ( Ha ha ha ha ) follows is ( LOL LOL LOLZ even ) - why the very thought ( ROFLMAO !! Har Har Har Har Har! ) - is - OMG, imaginary. I mean, I'm appalled at the kinds of suggestions people think other people are foolish enough to believe! This ? Imaginary ? That's like alleging that complex numbers are somehow 'imaginary'! Absurd ! Why, even the smileys are blue!

--

pumpits: Machaa... free afty daa, I'm so bored..
suggest some movie plzzz :) :) :)

t0rb1ne: Me too bored da...no bugger is there on DC :(
and I've seen all the remaining moviezzz thrice over

pumpits: IIT during vacations sux maan :'(

t0rb1ne: Hey! I just got a brilliant idea! Let's go take a reco from [The SSSaviour, name withheld till grad-school deadlines are past] ! ;)

pumpits: What ? Macha how da ?
We've done only two courses under him..
and the second one was a general bonanza..
and to top it all we aren't even apping da,
why do you want reco ?

t0rb1ne: No da you cupper, you could never see the big picture
Just imagine
its night
or early evening
a warm room
a fireplace
u're an old man
your grandson is sitting on ur lap
and there's a small ember that suddenly lights up in the fire
and there is a glint from a frame on the wall
your grandson is frightened
but you console him
he asks you what that framed thing is
your eyes become moist
you become a young man again
a smart young man who made the decision to take His course

pumpits: ya ya
too smart :)

t0rb1ne: CUPPER. DONT INTERRRUPQT !
those days.. the pump and turbine and dump scheme

pumpits: sorry da, go on go on

t0rb1ne: bunking all classes
in fact being requested to bunk classes by the prof himself
prof giving out quiz paper before exam
junta cogging assignment after coming to class
after taking paper and pen from the poor mtechs
Re 1.50 for the entirety of TRR's and Blob's notes xeroxes
And only two classes portions for the end sem
and finally
(number of Ss) > (number of As) + (number of Bs)
And that frame on the wall..your eyes totally well up with tears!
a reco from HIM ! Him even, with just the H capitalized !! THE MAN HIMSELF !
it will make for such a wonderful story
so beautiful
lets go take it
cupper, you will never understand the romantic side of things

pumpits: ooh
ya da
so nice
so beautiful
let us go!!

And so they went, and probably so did 40-50 others, took many, many paper only [1] recommendation letters from Him (electronic recos aren't one-tenth as romantic), finished off three reams of his personal letterhead, and lived happily ever after.

The End.[2]

--

[0] - Anybody who's been through His course knows that saying those courses were Free Lunch is the understatement of the millennium. Free Gala Banquet By The Poolside With Cute Young Things To Carry You Back To Your Room Harem After You're Totally Loaded would be closer to it. Pooh, who needs Leonardo and his meager offering ?

[1] - For the happy people unaware of the tortures of the grad-app process, paper recos are an instrument that Universities use to try the Will of even the most motivated of applicants, something akin to being asked to tie one of those big iron balls to your leg and swim the Atlantic Ocean, when you have a hypersonic jet (with reclinable beds and French airhostesses (thank you, Babba O kind Master) chicks generally ambling about) ready and waiting for you (in other words, electronic recos). My heart goes out to all and sundry who are unfortunate enough to be subjected to this grave test, all my sympathies and good wishes are with you.

[2] - I sincerely hope this is completely unnecessary, and I've completely failed if I made you need to read this, but just in case: All characters in this purely fictional gtalk chat are completely imaginary. Any resemblance to any entity living, dead, or anywhere in between is purely coincidental.

:-)

Fermion, Spin 1/2, No strong interactions

This, Ladies and Gentlemen, is what I call a Leap of Faith:



Misbah's run out in the 1st India vs. Pakistan test

--
The title describes a family of elementary particles called Leptons. The friendly neighborhood electron is a [gasp! who could have even guessed?] Lepton!

Lepton - Leapt-on, get it? Hello? Anyone home? You still are my friend, aren't you? Please? Uhhh..

:-)

Where Vision Gets Built

I see it was a pretty good day for both of us :


:-)

Mukund and I were having one of those deeply erudite and philosophical discussions, and we came up with this. It is called [chest fully forward] The Asymptote-translated Hemi-truncated Rectangular-hyperbolic Model of the Mind in Matters of Mass Employability :

:-)

Mostly jobless

aaand we have the 7th sem drawing to a spectacular close! Phew, time sure does fly like an arrow (and fruit flies like a banana) , it looks like only yesterday that cries of ' Vive la libération !!' rented the air.

--

Mostly jobless was what 7th sem was (in hindsight, at least) and what the future threatens to be, given our eminent unemployability. Pota fished out this brilliant early Bill Watterson comic from wherever it is that Pota fishes out such things:



:-)

Apping

With the air (and the Name: fields of application forms of poor unsuspecting grad-schools) thick with such mouthfuls of tortuous verbosity as Anantagopalavenkatasubramaniam and Immadithirumalailakshmikumaran, I was reminded of this delightful old-school joke which Kiran related a long time ago:

During the after-birth ceremony, the newborn is named JalakreedasamasaktagopIvastrapaharaka (after one of Lord Krishna's exploits, of stealing clothes of gopikas when they were playing by the river). Someone quipped: "Poor kid, his father didn't name him. He sentenced him."

:D

Update: I was curious to know what other versions of this joke were floating around the net, and after some googling came by this lovely, lovely post on new additions to the Kannada lexicon after the recent government imbroglio. The best:

(Yeddy is the media's chosen nick for Yeddyurappa, the (now former) 7-day ruler of Namma Cheluva Kannada Naadu )

Yeddy: The abominable show man. Now you see him as chief minister, now you don’t.
:D

(x,y) => (x+y, x+2y) mod 1

My suggestion for XKCD after getting mauled in today's exam:

Click...Click Click....Click...`Ok, now we do the measurement'. [open] MMMEOW!! [wild mutated half-dead shriek] [lightning-fast paw slash] [deathly silence]

Alt text: Today's Geiger counters don't make as much noise, and I will defend to death my claim that the exam is as probabilistic as the experiment (if not more).

Before I forget, the best 'All the best' line must be Pota's GTalk status yesterday: 'Tomorrow, may you all be curiosity personified!'. Why? Because curiosity killed the CAT! :P

--

The title is the core transformation relation of this jaw-droppingly amazing idea called Arnold's cat map.


Update: I found this lovely, lovely cartoon here :D

Information Entropy

[This post is dedicated in its entirety to Raghu, for his status message roused the entire institute from its collective torpor and alerted it to the unspeakable dangers long, happy weekends.]

If you can prove to me that these two statements convey fundamentally different information, I'll give you $1 million.

Statement A:
You see the whole country of the system is juxtaposed in the haemoglobin of the atmosphere because you are a sophisticated rhetorician intoxicated by the exuberance of your own verbosity!

Statement B:

Organizational communication as an evolutionary, culturally dependent process of sharing information and creating relationships in environments designed for manageable, goal oriented behaviour sustains and enlivens organizations.


The first line is from that most delightful song in Amar, Akbar, Anthony , My Name Is Anthony Gonsalves. [In my humble opinion, in the history of all possible experimentations with the human gait, there has been no dance-step more graceful than Amitabh cantering out of the Easter egg. Please, for the love of humanity, see the whole song! ]

The second is taken straight from a Business Ethics presentation I'm mugging as part of a regrettable exercise in squandering the proletarian taxpayer's hard-earned money, more popularly known as Professional Ethics 101.

Update: Why, the nerve! Some anti-social elements of ill-repute have dared to question the authenticity of my honorable challenge! Gentle reader, let me take this opportunity to reassure you that I am ever hard at work to ensure that my esteemed audience always receives unmatchable value-added services. I am confident that my insatiable thirst for knowledge, unwavering dedication, superior competence and commitment will help me leave an indelible mark on my field of resea- hey wait, scratch that line, wrong SoP [utters assorted curses at Stanford's Dec 4 deadline]

Fly, thought, on wings of gold

In a post in some blog (whose name I do not care to recall) [1] I found one of those gentlemen who directs the MIT Laboratory for Financial Engineering, manages a $250 million hedge fund, teaches 6 odd courses and has an amazing sense of humor to boot. Don't believe me? Read his hilarious article on How to tell if you might be a quant. ( Small PDF )

Here's some general background on what it is like to be in world's best p(l)aying field :-)

--

Ladies and Gentlemen, Crowdsourcing has just left the oh-that's-a-cute-little-word building and is raking in the big bucks. It's just what the name suggests: you outsource your work to a crowd ! This is now more than a year old, but I tell you, I have never seen a more devious design for mass public enslavement and hard manual labor extraction than Google's Image Labeler. From the site:

Welcome to Google Image Labeler, a feature of Google Search that allows you to label images and help improve the quality of Google's image search results. (Emphasis mine)

And I must admit, the darn thing is actually addictive ! Over the last year, it's been a huge success, and people are starting to take crowdsourcing quite seriously.

The second most amazing crowdsourced site I've seen ( the first is Wikipedia, of course :) ) is Wikinvest.com. ( Harsha found it in some obscure corner of Crunchbase. Verily, the man has superior lit search genes ! (Irrelevant note: Facebook is now officially cooler than Orkut, and Microsoft has officially gone mad. Which other soc-net portal do you know that was valued at $1 billion in September 2006, $6 billion in July 2007, $10 billion in September 2007, and is currently at 15 billion? (Something tells me I'm going to love Lisp when I get the time to learn it ) [2])) WikInvest smacks Google Finance and Yahoo! Finance right in the face when it comes to detailed analysis, stock charts and predictions. Have a look!

I also came across this extremely well written article on Evolution and the Wisdom of Crowds. It analyzes three very successful instances of when crowdsourcing has worked wonders: Wikipedia, Prediction markets and Recommendation systems. The part on prediction markets is especially well written, you should definitely have a look at that.

--

I hit upon this most delightful social experiment on BoingBoing a few days ago, the "What is your Formula?" project :

John Brockman's Edge "World Question Center" and the Seprentine Gallery in London debuted a new collaborative project where they asked dozens of smart people--scientists, authors, big thinkers--this question: "What is your formula? Your Equation? Your Algorithm?" People like Craig Venter, Keith Devlin, Freeman Dyson, Drew Endy, Brian Eno, and Douglas Rushkoff answered.

The project site is here, and the responses are absolutely mindblowing. I started off on this node, and rarely have I spent a more enlightening evening !

--

[0] Now for the customary fundaes on the cryptic title: it is lifted straight from Verdi's famous opera chorus, Va Pensiero

N.B: Wings made of any other publicly traded, instantly liquifiable, predictably seasonal, resale-value-preserving commodity with an average price gain of about 25% (Image) per year may also be considered :-)

[1] I was going through a Wikipedia list of the top bestselling books of all time, and was very surprised to see Don Quixote listed right up there with the Holy Bible and the Quran al kareem ! The first line of that book happens to be: "In a place at La Mancha, whose name I do not care to recall, not very long ago lived a noble, one of those nobles who keep a lance in the lance-rack, an ancient shield, a skinny old horse, and a fast greyhound."

The italicized line apparently is a classic Spanish cliché, and this is a humble hat-tip :-)

[2] Lisp is one of the most amazing computer languages ever, and was one of the first languages adopted by the CS academic research community, especially the part working on Artificial Intelligence. What's really great about it is that the language inspired many brilliant ideas like OOP, trees, automated garbage collection and compilers that could compile their own code !

Lisp is distinct because of its syntax: it's fully parantesized. Just look at this example:
((lambda (x) (list x (list 'quote x))) '(lambda (x)
(
list x (list 'quote x))))

The customary brilliant quotes by Phillip Greenspun:

SQL, Lisp, and Haskell are the only programming languages that I've seen where one spends more time thinking than typing.

Any sufficiently complicated C or Fortran program contains an ad-hoc, informally-specified bug-ridden slow implementation of half of Common Lisp. - Greenspun's Tenth Rule.

And the XKCD bit:



:-)

m'I [0]

"Many moons have waned since this grim nook of the internet reveled in the luxury of human attention..." Naah, too clichéd, how many times can you record your undying admiration of The Seven Crystal Balls anyway?

"I've been very busy and haven't found time to post anything so far..." Nope, your readers aren't really going "OMG!!1!!\lim_{x\to 0}{sin(x)/x}!11!!1[a] At last! A post! My life has meaning again!"

"Let's cut straight to .." CUT THAT OUT! You're using that phrase almost like a Piliyar[b] symbol!

Oh well, it would be less embarrassing for all of us if we choose not to pay too much attention to trifles like dates, and just get along. And so, Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls ( and in humble deference to established canon, Makam ), I'm back!

--

Ah yes, my trip back. I'm seriously considering filing a class-action lawsuit against Lufthansa GmBH. They lost my luggage, but that's OK, after all international travel is defined by "Breakfast in London, Dinner in New York, Luggage in Brazil". Their seats were a size too small for me and that gets terribly, terribly painful in an 18 hour flight, but that's OK too, maybe it's a gentle hint that I was too generous with myself and my gastronomical experiments were a tad too successful.

But what is patently NOT OK, was the fact that they played the kuntry-est and warasht {B|K}ollywood songs all through the flight. On the common TV screen for everyone's viewing pleasure reigned songs from the days of yore, when directors were tickled to the bone by the idea of having an army of dancers dressed in such a wide spectrum of pupil-splitting colors that it would give the term Additive White Gaussian Noise[c] a totally different meaning.

Songs mercilessly ravaged by English subtitles, songs whose poetic spirit was so sublimely wedded to the local sentiments that even an attempt at translation would maul the sensitive emotional underpinnings. Most hesitantly, I provide an example: The sheer poetic beauty of the line "Love-unna Love-u, Man-ennai-stove-u" was ravaged as "Love is Love, Kerosene Stove ".[d] Gentle reader, need I say more ?

The horror of having to look at my poor wide-eyed co-passengers' bewildered expressions after being bombarded by the tremendous multiplicity of sensory inputs ( from each of the discordant dance-steps writhings of the aforementioned army ) is a fate that I would not wish upon my bitterest enemy. If you have been subjected to this, too, please, I ask you, please get in touch with me right away. I know you are numb with shock, but I'm confident we can take solace from each other's experiences.

--

The next person to tell me GRE is a 'trivial exam da' is going to get punched in the throat. Pointless, perhaps, but no way trivial! Anyway, it was fun studying for it, and Barron's does have its share of nice example sentences. Here are some which I liked:

alimentary ADJ. supplying nourishment. When asked the name of the digestive tract, Holmes replied, "Alimentary, my dear Watson".

caldron ADJ. large kettle. "Why, Mr. Crusoe," said the savage heating the giant caldron, "we'd love to have you for dinner!" ROFLMAO!

--

Scott Adams got it absolutely spot on, but perhaps the Pointy Haired Boss can learn a thing or two from the guys on top here. At a meeting to discuss certain ruinous pernicious policies the insti has of late been promulgating with great gusto, a group of students was clearly demonstrated the fundamental truth of the statement, "If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved, and never will achieve, its full potential, that word would be `meetings' "

The single most effective way to end a conversation with a 21+eps year old is to simply say "You're only 21 ! What's the hurry? You can always find time to do it later in life!" "You want to do Research? Pooh! You have the entirety of the Rest of your Life to do it!" (That 'pooh', delivered in an extended semi-nasal tone, coupled with a wave of the hand is arguably the single most irritating gesture among all forms of human communication) "You're not interested in working in the industry? Bah! What do you know of interest? That's not genuine interest." Genuine interest, ne'er has a more convenient phrase been concocted by a scheming human mind.

And yes, the next time you want to pique someone to the bone, just remember Stephen Covey's idea of a 'Proactive' outlook and blow it out of proportion. "You don't get good projects? You should FIND good projects for yourself!" "You don't have good facilities in industries? You should do the best you can with the facilities you have! You know, in 1833, when I was at Bi-bi Industries, I had to find all my work on my own. Or the time I was at Basin Bridge Rivets and Fasteners in 1296. Why, Rivets and Fasteners weren't even invented back then. But did that stop me from working there dawn to dusk, and not go cribbing that e v e r y one else had more interesting things to do? No! "

Grr, Gerontocracies suck so bad. Somehow though, I get this feeling that the entire concept of Generation Gap is a very convenient excuse for one or both of the sides to not think.

--

[0]. I know, I'm sorry. No more painful rebuses in the title in the future, I promise.

[a]. That little gem is from Maddox's inimitable butchering of the iPhone

[b]. For ye heathens: a symbol that looks like a 2 with a double underline, written by us staunch Believers on top of all answer sheets to tele-hypnotize the evaluator into overlooking all mistakes, generously dole out 'grace marks', and in general bring good luck. Reminds me of this quote:
Pray, v. To ask the laws of the universe to be annulled on behalf of a
single petitioner confessedly unworthy. -Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914), [The
Devil's Dictionary, 1906]

[c]. A humble tribute to The BoFi. Now that little phrase is a part of ancient insti lore. Everyone who's written the GRE knows that the ultimate way to crack the Analytical Writing section is to gently introduce a couple of ( preferably >6 syllabled, High Latin ) terms from Economics and Statistics. But that is for mere mortals! Our man the BoFi went a step ahead, and brought in terms from Signal Processing and Communication Theory, and demonstrated that a certain statistical measurement mentioned in the essay would be irreparably affected by Additive White Gaussian Noise. All Hail !

[d]. You definitely MUST read these hilarious articles by Mahadevan Ramesh on the soaring standards of Tamizh lyrics in today's cinema.

An Algorithmic Approach To Modern Tamil Verse

Latest Algorithm from Poet Vairamuthu

("Mentor Graphics Stock pola irangi vandhavale" This guy is just the god! Here's the wiki page for the company, and here's the Google Finance page. Scroll back to around mid 1997. ( Random rant: AJAX code unreachable by the URL sucks, I should be able to specify every possible state of a page with just the URL ) )

Naavu bandEva amErikakke

Greetings! Let's cut straight to the chase: I'm far too lazy to try to sum up my experiences in nice, coherent paragraphs, so I'm going to employ a ruse that's been refined and perfected so much that it is now an art form. (Seriously now, that confounded *!@)^@ defies all my attempts at understanding it :X)

[The story till now: Yours Truly was one of the lucky ones who managed to get both himself and his grades an intern at Purdue University for the summer. (Please ignore that statement if it sounded weird). Clothes were bought and monies exchanged and bags were filled and supernatural Packing Fractions achieved in autorickshaws and goodbyes bid, and then, ...
]

  • I had flown only once before when I was a kid, and was surprised to see that most of the speed gained before takeoff was in the final 15-20 seconds. Interesting!
  • It seems to be that a large part of bearing His Mild Yoke is in having all those dreams of cute young females as co-travelers being shattered repeatedly and ruthlessly. Accordingly, mine happened to be very old, very sleepy and very big gents, thereby effectively eliminating all forms of visual, communicative and ambulatory comfort. Wonderful.
  • Lufthansa's idea of in-flight entertainment is no doubt an expression of the famed Teutonic Precision and Endurance. There was this TV set that showed the trajectory of the plane and the current position, updated by a GPS every 2-3 seconds, and the most exciting thing happening ( the kind that causes the audience jump up from their seats ) was the dot representing our plane actually moving a pixel! Most entertaining! The trajectory was interesting though, we'd fly over Bangalore, Bombay, Lahore, Tashkent, the Black Sea, most of Belgium and then land at Frankfurt.
  • I can't believe I'm saying this, but the in-flight food was actually tolerable. I may even venture so far as to say it was good ! Gone are the halcyon days when grumpy old aunties masquerading as air hostesses would throw you a packet ostensibly containing idlis, and it would make a loud clink! and chip away the edge when it hit the plastic table.. sigh!
  • Day broke, and we were over the Black Sea. Most of it seemed frozen, and the sight was awesome! I noticed that the TV I mentioned above also occasionally showed the outside temperature, and shiver me timbers, it was -55 degrees Celsius, in broad daylight ! Wow, I had never thought of that! Steel, which is one of the best materials available that can withstand tension, will crumble like chalk when cooled below -10 degrees! -55 degrees is amazing! Nearly all our SOM fundaes are shaken!
  • Frankfurt looks queer from above; nearly every building seemed to have a steeply gabled (triangular) roof! Like those quaint postcard towns! The roads look lovely, too!
  • Frankfurt airport is insane! Between the time we landed and taxied to a halt, three other planes had landed on the same runway! It's mighty scary if you see it happen, trust me!
  • The airport is HUGE, and I generally followed the directions to my other plane's bay. A second round of security checks, they checked my laptop for explosives and all. Oh, and finally, some visual delights at long last!
  • This time it was two very old, very big ladies, but thankfully they were rather talkative and friendly, so there was something to do. Very soon we flew over London and over the Atlantic ocean. A strange flight trajectory again, we'd fly very high north, pass over Greenland, over Canada, and head almost directly southward to Chicago.
  • The cloud cover was pretty thick in the beginning, but when it broke, it was the most wonderful sight I had seen! The ocean is exactly the same color as the sky, and for a moment, you won't know which is which! Awesome !
  • I landed in Chicago and thankfully the customs didn't bother to check anything. I caught an almost empty bus to West Lafayette, but happily the driver was rather talkative too, so there was some company.
  • People have noticed many lovely and romantic and sexy `first things' in the USA, but the first thing I noticed, gentle reader, was Rivets. ( Utters assorted maledictions upon that thinly-veiled conspiracy to thwart any morsel of Engineering talent in students, that terrorizing exercise in tyranny euphemistically known as (furtively looks around) (low voice) Machine drawing ). Rivets, rivets and more rivets! On trailers and roads and trucks and buses and signs and billboards! Everywhere!
  • I thought that the vague depressing colors in the film Mystic River were entirely artificial. Not so, I see. The first impression I had of Chicago was that the whole place looked a lot less colorful and pale. The highways are made of concrete, and are a vague gray, the sky isn't as blue, the trees are a rather pale green, too.
  • Talking of Highways, I was on an Interstate : Interstates are these countrywide network of huge 12-lane North-South and East-West roads, and the normal speed in the slower lanes was some 120 kmph! I later learned that these Interstates were inspired by the German Autobahns, and more than 70% of the German Autobahns don't have speed limits! The wiki article tells me that the `recommended' speed is 130 kmph, which means people usually go at 180 kmph :)
    Many modern cars are capable of speeds of over 200 km/h (124 mph), and most large manufacturers of luxury cars follow a gentlemen's agreement by technically limiting the top speed of their cars to 250 km/h (155 mph) for safety reasons
  • 250 kmph, that is insane!
  • I also saw this nice neat way of collecting tolls, called the I-Pass system. Your car has a magnetic strip on its top, and toll gates have readers that deduct a certain sum from your account when you pass through them!
  • Purdue is pronounced `Puh-doo' ( I was saying something closer `Purrr-dew' ) is located in all around a town called West Lafayette. No in-gate or out-gate, that was interesting :) The labs are spread everywhere, right from the airport to the river bank ( There's loong river called the Wabash that flows through the town ).
  • The place looks and feels exactly like vintage Bangalore! The just-cold weather, the nip in the air, lots and lots of trees, no bustle, sunlight through the foliage, even sparrows! The works!
    I was all the more surprised when I met my Prof. He told me he was from Bangalore, from IITM and from Tapti Hostel! Talk about coincidences! Sometime in the conversation,
    Me: I have done a first course in linear optimization under Prof. `T.T.Narendran'
    Prof: Uhhh (eyes searching) ... (brightening up) Oh, you mean Mama ! How is he doing?
    That totally broke the ice :-)
  • I'm still not very comfortable drinking water right off the tap, but my roomie insists that it's ok. The days are VERY long, the sun is up by 6 AM and sets only by 9 PM. I remarked that these guys had all the luck, and my roomie told it was the other way in the winter, with the sun up by only 7 AM and setting by 4 PM. I still don't think it makes up, though, reminds me of this joke about statisticians:
    Three statisticians go duck hunting. Their dog chases out a duck and it starts to fly. The first statistician aims and takes his shot, it misses a foot too high. The second statistician aims and takes his shot, it misses a foot too low. The third statistician says, "We got him!"
  • Another thing I noticed was that everything here, right from squirrels to soda cans to chocolates to rabbits to sandwiches, is BIG ! BIG BIG BIG! And the chocolates I've had here till now suck big time! After plowing through a `Milky Bar' yesterday the only thing on my mind was this C&H cartoon:



    MFFPBTH!! S-SW-SW SWEET!!I never thought that could actually happen!
  • I seriously think that the town here is designed to be navigable by maps, more than the other way round! I mean, without a map you can hardly make out one building from the other, while with one, you are almost as good as a native.
  • In related news, I realized I know more about the topography, locations and roads of West Lafayette than I do of Chennai or even Bangalore. This happy circumstance came about because of a Quest for a Plug Adapter, and some maps that made me realize the necessity of each clause, and sufficiency as a whole, of the phrase ``The Truth, The Whole Truth And Nothing But The Truth''. One map didn't tell the Truth, no, there was no Radioshack on Happy Hollow road, another didn't tell the whole truth, it omitted the fact that its scaling was non-linear, and I had to trudge for 2 hours up and down unfriendly terrain to figure it out, and another told a little more than just The Truth, no, Sagamore Packway does not have sidewalks, and you might even get run over, trying to walk on a State highway :X
  • I'm courting a new muse, cooking ! I had originally believed there existed only three gastronomical singularities known to mankind : home food, Pani Puri at one of those roadside stores with kerosene lamps, and Benne Masala Dosa at a Darshini. (By Gastronomical Singularity, I mean food that you will like no matter what, no matter when. Of course, a necessary prerequisite to fully understanding gastronomical singularities is to undergo rigorous training at an IITM mess, preferably Sakthi Kitchen.) By these exertions, and by the wise counsel of my roomie, I have come to realize one more startling addition: Food cooked by you! Believe me, you will definitely like the food you cook!
  • Remember all those big wise grownups debunking the existence of the all-powerful, life-giving Elixir ? They even went so far as to tell me that it was a figment of someone's imagination! Phooey! My good man, Elixir verily exists, and is currently being sold under the brand name `Hershey's Chocolate Syrup', for only $3.99 ! If you would prefer a less liquid form, fear not, Ferrero's Nutella will save the day!
  • In a related insight, I came to realize just how anyone could come to be interested in a topic as esoteric as measuring the coastline of Britain, or in devising elaborate set-theoretic constructs to get absurd conclusions. The study of my first Chapati's boundary is a fascinating excursion into fields and ideas including but not limited to: Lebesgue measure, the Zermelo-Frankel set theory, the Banach-Tarski Paradox, Fractal Theory, Chaos, and Cellular automata.

Phew, and that, gentle Reader, is the story of my first few days in the US of A, and I'd quite agree: Amerika really ist Wunderbar!

:-)

Liberation !!

I fart in your general direction, all you positive real numbers < 10 truncated to two decimal places! Vive la libération !

Fatal Hilarity

(Update: I humbly and profusely apologize for the unimaginable degree of hurt I have most carelessly inflicted on the memories of all those who wrote the 2004 TNPCEE exam. Only unlettered, ignorant fools such as I will make a claim so ludicrous as 6000 deg C being the temperature of the Sun; even an Engineer with a modest idea of the State Board 12th Standard textbook will testify that the temperature of the sun is 6000 K, and not a degree more or less. This has been proven beyond doubt by the TNPCEE exam which asked this very question, and gave the choices as "a. 6000 deg C, b. 6000 K, c. 6500 deg C, d. 6500 K". )

(This post is dedicated to Mojan, without whose valiant efforts the world would never have known somebody's singular admiration of Namitha)

--
MSB corridor - Scheduled time of RAC exam : 9:00 AM to 12 noon

Me(along with about 30 others): Sir, please let us in, It is still 8:54.
Namitha : The Circular states that you should be here at 8:50.
Me : But sir, even the answer books haven't been distributed ! Some of the invigilators are coming to the rooms only now! Please !
N : No, go wait in my office. I will come there after my rounds.
.
N's Office, Wednesday 9:20 AM
.
N : I will not let you write the exam without an id card.
A : But sir, that is why I am here to ask you in person, I have lost my ID card.
N : Did I ask you to lose it?
.
N : Now, all those who came late, come in one by one, and fill in this form.
.
25 minutes on Maiya's paper gyaan. A most auspicious start indeed.

--

Exam Hall, Wednesday 11:50 AM

The Friendly, Neighborhood Buffoon: AaL yoo gentil men, tai app yuwar answer sheets yimmediately !

(comes around in a great huff, snatches off my untied mass of paper)

We do naat care if you do naat write anyTHing man, you should have (eyes narrowed, snout protruding, bald head shining, kind of like the Persian dude in 300 who says 'Our arrows shall block out the sun') disssipppplin.

Much further buffonery ensues.

--

Sulli's room, Thursday 2:15 AM

Me: WTF, no question on VCRS today. 40 marks on VARS! How could you possibly do the second VARS question, with a double-effect thrown in? I didn't even continue after reading that!

Mojan: Uh oh, the VARS was a typo, he corrected it a few minutes before you came in after your honeymoon with N.

15 marks. Whoosh.

--

Sulli's room, Thursday 4:15 AM

(A particularly unwieldy formula for a purely experimental correlation concerning Fluidized Bed Combustion and Centrifugal Precipitation and suchlike, fine concepts about which Mothers tell their fretful babies: 'So ja beta, so ja. Varna Fluidized Bed Combustion ke formula mug karna padega' , was physically, logically, and dimensionally incorrect. However, there was talk that this was a _particularly_ probable question, so we were breaking our heads trying to mug it up. )

Mojan: Mapullais, I know what you are doing wrong.
Makam: Oh, peace, you got it, eh? what ?
Mojan: You are not trying to understand concepts from a scientific perspective. The Spirit of Inquiry is what is missing.

Mojan did not speak or move after that. And he has developed a most inexplicable limp.

--

Power Plant Engineering Exam, Thursday 10:45 AM

Question 5: A 400m long, 2.5m wide parabolic trough concentrator [yakkity yakkity yakkity yak]...Water enters the focal line at 38 degrees Celsius. Calculate the exit conditions of water. .
.
Doing a simple energy balance, we (all of us) find the exit temperature of water be a slightly warm 35,000 degrees Celsius. Tungsten vaporizes at 5600 degrees Celsius. Hot.
Oh, and the Second Law of Thermodynamics ( 35,000 deg C > 6,000 deg C K, Temperature of the sun) is for sissies, we're Mechanical Engineers now.

--

Question 6: An induced draft wet cooling tower [blah blah yada yada]. It receives 4,50,000 kgs of air per minute, and 68,000 kgs of water per minute. [Some arbit question requiring the use of a psychrometric chart.]
.
For any reasonable size of the cooling tower, the mass flow rates involved will cause the velocity of air to be comparable the speed of light in vacuum.

Relativistic Heat and Mass Transfer In Conventional Cooling Towers. Joy.

--

Question 9: A nuclear reactor with 50 tonnes of natural Uranium [neutron flux, nuclear cross section area, and other such delightful morsels of information follow]. Calculate the rating of the reactor.
.
Possibly the most suitable candidate for the honor of The World's Most Subjective Question, we have got values ranging from Mojan's 10.47 W ( => 50 tonnes of Uranium will not quite power a rickety old bog bulb) to somebody's 3327.8 Terawatt , enough to satisfy the energy requirements of all possible earth-like civilizations within 100 A.U of the solar system.

--

Now question 11 requires some perspective. Reasonable men would look at a power plant, and ask in moments of deep introspection: If I put in a kg of coal here, how much electrical energy am I going to get out of the other side? Reasonable men will go ahead, put many, many kgs of coal, and publish their findings as performance characterstics.

Agent Solar, on the other hand, waves away such efforts as mere child's play. Real Men, he contends, find expressions for the input of a power plant as a function of its output.

All is well, till that function happens to be a cubic polynomial. With two real, positive roots and one negative root. What does that mean? It means you drop in a kg of coal, and pray. Pray hard, and the output tends to the larger of the three roots. Else, be warned, sinner ! Your power plant could end up drawing power, if the equation is to be believed !! Behold Divine Retribution !

--

This will go on our official mech t-shirt, along with all the other pearls of wisdom we've gathered over the years :


We're even thinking of making an AYBABTU (video)-like meme :-)
--

And with that, we're done with Core Mech. Khattam-Shud even. Transcendental Peace descends so low, that I can almost touch with the tip of my nose if I stand on my toes.

0:-)

The DUIBot Lives!

Ain't this just the sweetest place to be?






You might be wondering what that cataclysmic monstrosity in my room is. Well, that is a proof-of-concept prototype for a term project for a Design Synthesis course Makam, Pota, Mukund and I are doing. It is an automatic library cataloging robot, designed especially for the slightly-less-than-stellar IITM library. By the end of the project, you walk into the library and type the name of your book, and buzz-whirr-crank-pfft! you get the X,Y,Z location of the book :-)

The challenge lies not in doing it from scratch, for several places like the New York City Library already have a similar, more efficient system working, but in retrofitting a system into the delightfully ill-designed ( delightful because of the immense dose of confidence you get in yourself after seeing professionals do such work ) IITM library. I'll probably write a more detailed post on it soon, but during the course of the project, from image processing to bargaining with timber shops in Vels to cursing Aluminum L sections for their low Moment of Inertia to heated arguments in the library over beam deflection formulas to microcontroller programming to fighting about bump sensors to pattern recognition to tearing up Pota's literally fat prize cheques to scientific thought to..erm, shall we say, Result Oriented Engineering Thought to laughing our asses off at Pota's hilarious 'Commercial Prospects' section in the report to fighting with \clear:page to Sod's Law to 2^9 books to 2^25 books to 2 books to "Hmm, should we show a live demo, or will a video suffice?" to Hofstadter’s law to truss design to slanted members to wobbling powerscrews to high torque motors to low torque motors to no torque motors to cheap 100Kpix webcams to pathetic 4fps frame rates at 16 colors to more vehement cursing to singular disagreement about the merits of RFID to unequivocal consensus on the demerits and the incompetence of the library as a whole to fishing out 70 books from the nether recesses of my room to finding Nitin Chandrachoodan's old Ap-mech book passed on by seniors' legacy to Verdant Fantasies manifesting themselves in encoded barcodes to 'Eesabeku, Iddu Jayisabeku!' to 'lite ra mama' to "Shit, we just rediscovered the Gantry" to "Hey, we just rediscovered the four-bar" to the Joy of Rediscovery to the realization that aligning the powerscrews is the solution to this problem to the realization that getting better components is the solution to this problem to the realization that image doctoring is the ultimate solution to this problem to the realization that image doctoring is the ultimate solution to all Engineering problems to "Hey, check Intensity(t) vs t" to "That’s Ok, check dI(t)/dt" to "Hm, check FFT(I(t))" to "Dash it, try d(FFT(I(t)))/df)" to "Ok da, try d(FFT(dI/dt))/df" to "Go ask the Intensity to f**k itself sideways" to the joys of Canny's Edge Detection algorithm to the Matlab Image Processing blog to Contiguous Block Matching to Pota's ludicrous suggestion of putting up our 30 page lab report as a blogpost to the acute embarrassment of the entire class getting to know all my sources of ,ahem, entertainment when I inadvertently connected my laptop to the projector without closing all windows to finally doing the presentation well, phew, we've seen it all !

:-)





Oh, and by the way, our last slide was this:



Does that ring a bell somewhere?

:-)

Screech

I was reading one of my senior's (Supradeep's) old blogs today, and came across what I thought was a particularly interesting observation:

Theorem on Frequency - Intelligence Interdependence

P x I = constant where,

P = pitch of the voice ( frequency of the fundamental harmonic)
I = An intelligence measure.

To put the statement in non mathematical terms, the intelligence of a person is inversely proportional to the pitch of his voice.

Although I don't agree with the theorem itself, this Corollary seems to make sense very much:

Cor 2 : The theorem applies to the same person at different instants of time. If at any point, you are all squeaky and shouting, then believe me, you are acting dumb. When you are calm and relaxed and voice your opinion in low frequencies, you are most probably right.

I've seen that happen with me infinite times :-)

Chaos



The Logistic Map : Pure, Absolute, Unadulterated, Euphoric Ecstasy abounds!

That, and Italics shouldn't be a binary state of a piece of text, there should be more degrees of slant.

:-)

ROFL

I was reading through this gem of a page suggested by Sribharath, and came across this STUPENDOUS bit:

question = 0xFF; // optimized Hamlet

(Hint: q = 2B or not 2B )

ROFLMAO! Thats going to be my sig for life :D

And oh, this too:

Ans: One.
Question: How many psychics does it take to change a light bulb?

:D

Dickens rocks!

I happened to come by this paragraph from Dicken's Nicholas Nickelby today. I remember having read the novel a few years ago, and I was so absolutely impressed by this paragraph that I hunted all around the house for a marker pen, marked it, folded the page, and pasted a bookmark :-) I strongly recommend the book, especially for its amazing humor!

Here it is, from Chapter 40:

(Nicholas is utterly in love with a girl he's had only a glimpse of. For a long time now, he's been surviving only on the 'mental picture' of her that he's conjured up. He's trying everything he can within his (rather limited) means to get to know more of her, and has not been seeing too much success. After a particularly bright ray of hope dimmed, Dickens makes this comment.)

Mystery and disappointment are not absolutely indispensable to the
growth of love, but they are, very often, its powerful auxiliaries.
'Out of sight, out of mind,' is well enough as a proverb applicable
to cases of friendship, though absence is not always necessary to
hollowness of heart, even between friends, and truth and honesty,
like precious stones, are perhaps most easily imitated at a
distance, when the counterfeits often pass for real. Love, however,
is very materially assisted by a warm and active imagination: which
has a long memory, and will thrive, for a considerable time, on very
slight and sparing food. Thus it is, that it often attains its most
luxuriant growth in separation and under circumstances of the utmost
difficulty; and thus it was, that Nicholas, thinking of nothing but
the unknown young lady, from day to day and from hour to hour,
began, at last, to think that he was very desperately in love with
her, and that never was such an ill-used and persecuted lover as he.
What a crack!

In other news, as is my wont in marking events of great significance, here's some crypto: VIBYOR. What did I just do? Nai, Niladri and Ba, this is for you :-)

Quines of the World Unite!

Ladies and Gentlemen, let me introduce our brand new member of the Pantheon, Mr. Jeff Tupper. What has he done to deserve this rich honour ? He invented a Math Quine ! A Quine is a program that reproduces its entire source code. There have been quite a few very interesting ones, but till now I haven't seen anything like a Math Quine. This equation here:



where |_x_| is the floor function and mod(b,m) is the mod function produces this as a graph






when plotted between
(0 <= x <= 106) and (a <= y <= a + 17) where a = 960939379918958884971672962127852754715004339660 1293066515055 1927170280239526642468964284217435 071812126715378277062335599323728087414430789132 596394133772348785773574982392662971551717371699 516523289053822161240323885586618401323558513604 882869333790249145422928866708109618449609170518 345406782773155170 54053816273809676025656250169 814820834187831638491155902256100036523513703438 744618483787372381982248498634650331594100549747 005931383392264972494617515457283667023697454610 1465599793 3798537483143786841806593422227898388 722980000748404719



[This white space is meant for you to let your lower jaw get back into comfortable equilibrium after it fell (probably) 3 feet to the floor]







AMAZING! After the pure joy slowly attenuated, inspired by this guy whom I mentioned in this post, I set out on reverse engineering this equation, with these goals:

0. Make sure he's not bluffing.
1. Find out how it works.
2. Find out how Mr.Tupper could have thought of it.

First, Let us try to think of a method to verify this inequality. How do we do that? Plot it, of course. Nice, now how do we plot it? I ask because it is an implicit inequality, and so I can't seem to get an expression for y in terms of x. So, we'll go to every point in the domain, and try plugging in the inequality.

How many points? The presence of lots of floor()s in the equation seems to suggest that we can probably get a good enough approximation if we look at only the integer lattice points. How many are there? 105*17, that is trivial for any plotter, so off we plot.

I tried plotting it as it is in Matlab, but it didn't work. Why? The value of n was too large, and matlab was treating it as Inf. So, the for y = n : n + 16 loop wasn't running at all. I tried googling if anybody else had done it, but all I found (Thanks Raghu) was a Maple assignment, no proof it having been tried out anywhere.

So, for the moment, let us believe Mr. Tupper. But, if we haven't got it working ourselves, how are going to find out how it works ?

Let us look at the expression, and see if we can get something from it. The outermost function is a floor(), so the expression can only be an integer. Not much to be gained from that, but why would he put > 0.5 in front of an integer? Ok, lets go ahead. The next function is a mod ( [something] , 2) , that is, the remainder of [something] when divided by 2. Aha !! This value can only be between 0 and 2, 2 not included !!!!! ( mod(3.5,2) == 1.5 by the way ).

But then, we're doing floor() of this number, so the expression can only be ZERO OR ONE! Mr. Tupper is plotting like an LED display !!!! He wants us to go to every point in the domain, check if the expression is 1 or 0 (that is what > 1/2 does; it could as well have been > 0.1 or > 0.9), and plot it if is 1 !!

That still doesn't give us any clue on how he figured out that horrendous number, and how he is controlling every pixel in the map! Looking at the inside of the mod(), we see both x and y appear inside floor()s. What could the reason be? It would mean that for every value of x and y between two integers, the function does not change. But of course! Mr.Tupper is making a _finite_ pixel, of width x=1 and y=1 ! So the size of the LED is fixed now!! Also, we see that y appears only as floor(y/17) and mod(y,17), so there is something fishy about 17. Looking at y being so large, and 17 being so fishy, if we put

y = 17*a + t , a and t are integers,

the expression comes down to:

(I'm writing floor(mod(..,2)) as fm(..))

0.5 < fm( a / 2^(17x + t) )

That 17 still is irritating. What is it doing there ? Hmm, how did we think of plotting this graph again? We said we would go to every point in the domain, and calculate fm. How do we go to every point? You need to represent a 2D matrix as a 1-D array, (1D ordered pairs of all points we will go to). AND BINGO! 17x + t is the very familiar scan pattern! That is exactly how your TV or comp screen draws! For a given x, vary y. Then, go to the next x, vary y, voila !! If Mr. Tupper was thinking on paper, he'd have thought along these lines, literally:

But it is more probable he was thinking on a comp, and so he'd have moved _down and up_ instead of up and down, because y increasing downwards is a common convention.

Mr.Tupper's mind is getting clearer and clearer :-)

Now then, that was simply a theory, any proof that was what he did ? If this true, the image must be 17 pixels high. How much is it? Lets check, it is 67 px wide. But that is simply 17*4 - 1 (This 1 pixel row clipping happens lots of times) So Mathworld has simply scaled up the image 4 times ! Clear as a bell!!!

So that is perfectly fine; The mystery still remains, how is this expression lighting up just the right LEDs ? Let us write this expression again:

0.5 < fm ( a / 2^(hx + t) )

So, the whole problem reduces to finding out the value of a, because h is a constant we determine! How is it that the value of a determines everything?

Here, I slightly digressed, and instead of a / 2^(hx + t), I did a * 2^(hx + t) . It essentially does the same job,as you will see. Let us now try to draw this box:


Very simple, 2x2 box. What value of a will make the expression draw this?

The first LED should be 1, the other 3 should be 0. For first one to be on, the fm() expression should be 1. For the fm() expression to be 1, the mod([something],2) expression should be 1. Which means [something] should be greater than (we are allowing fractions here) or equal to 2*n + 1, but lesser than 2(n+1). Great. So, plugging in x = 0, y = 0, and requiring fm = 1, we get

a * 2^0 between 2*n + 1 and 2(n+1)

Fine. Next pixel is zero. What does this mean ? fm(..) is zero. This means

mod([something],2) < 1 (strictly lesser)

How? Possible if something < 2n + 1 but something >= 2n. Putting x = 0, y = 1, and fm = 0, we get

a * 2^1 between 2n and 2(n+1)

Note that this n is not the same n as in the previous equation, it is simply some arbitrary n !!

Similarly for the other two points, we get:

a * 2^2 between 2n and 2(n+1)
a * 2^3 between 2n and 2(n+1)

again,
a - 2n+1 - 2n+2
2a - 2m - 2m+1
4a - 2p - 2p+1
8a - 2q - 2q+1

How are we going to find such a? First, let us put n = 0. We get a between 1 and 2. Next, 2a should be between 2m and 2m+1. Does this change the upper or lower bound of a ? If a were to be slightly higher than its present lower bound, ie, 1, then 2a would be slightly higher than 2, which is an even number. What about the upper bound? Aha! If a goes above 1.5, then 2a goes above 3, and the pixel will turn on! We don't want that! So, the upper bound changes to 1.5. So now, we know a is between 1 and 1.5. Let's go ahead. We want 4a between 2p and 2p+1. Does the lower bound change?

Wait a minute! We are seeing a pattern here! We have _set_ the lower and upper bounds keeping in mind that if we multiply them by 2^[the step we are in], we get an integer, either 2p or 2p+1 depending on whether we want that pixel or on off. So, definitely, if we go into the next step, multiplying LB or UB by 2^[the step + 1] will surely give two even numbers! So, if we are going to turn a pixel off, we must keep a between that integer, and the integer + 1. Let me illustrate. We got a as between 1 and 1.5. How? We did 2*1 and 2*1.5 , and found out that if a stayed within the two, it would satisfy all previous conditions. So surely, 4*1 and 4*1.5 will be even integers! 4 and 6, to be precise. If we want that pixel to be off, we just make sure that it does not go above 5, because otherwise fm() would become 1 or higher. So, if we want to turn off a pixel, its upper bound changes !!! So going ahead, for the third pixel to be off, 4a is between 2p and 2p+1, and so the upper bound becomes 1.25. Similarly, for 8a to be between 2q and 2q+1, upper bound becomes 1.125.

So any value between 1.0 and 1.125 should give that pattern.

Does it?
xlimit =2 ;
ylimit =2 ;
map = zeros(xlimit,ylimit);
a = 1.06;
for x = 1 : xlimit
for y = 1 : ylimit
t = floor(mod(a*2^(((x-1)*ylimit + y-1)),2));
if (t > 0.5)
map(x,y) = 1;
end
end
end
imagesc(map);


IT DOES! PEACE!!

How about if we want this figure?





The first condition is the same, a between 1 and 2. The second pixel is off ( we are counting down and right here), so we get a between 1 and 1.5. Third pixel is off, so a between 1 and 1.25. The fourth pixel is on. If we want it on, we want 8a to be between 2p + 1 and 2p. Just by a similar argument to the one above, we see that the lower bound changes if we want to turn on a pixel ! So, if multiplying a number between 1 and 2 by 8 should give me an odd number + some residue, what should be the min value of that number? Obviously, 1.125 ! So, 1.125 to 1.5 is the range for a to be in, and anything in this range will give the desired output. Does it?



Yes, it does !!

By now, the algorithm to get the value for a is clear; Off pixels will change the upper bound and on pixels will change the lower bounds. So I wrote a small Matlab code, and tried making it output by name. The input matrix I gave was:

target = [
1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 1;
1 1 0 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1;
1 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 1;
];

From this, it calculated a to be between 1.3349100840896426234394311904907226562500 and 1.334910084093280602246522903442382812500

I chose (lower+higher)/2 and plotted it, and voila!!




So the equation of my name is:

0.5 < fm(1.33491008409146160 * 2^(3x + y))
x from 0 to 17, y from 0 to 3

I tried doing a few others, but lower and higher start differing by _very_ (50th decimal place) small amounts. I tried Raghu's name, but got only 'Ra'. So, choosing a * 2^.. will increase the number of decimal digits in a, and similarly, a / 2 ^.. will increase the digits. So, that 541 digit number is all there is to it!

My God, if this was so much fun reverse engineering, I can't imagine how awesome it'd have been to come up with it in the first place. The choice of 2^.. as the function that would be evaluated at every point is PURE genius!

Here is the Matlab code. Put your LED pattern in the 'target' matrix, and look for the value of 'a'. My Matlab distro can't go beyond some 20 elements in the target, how does yours fare?

target = [
1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 1;
1 1 0 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1;
1 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 1;
];
s = size(target);
xlimit = s(1);
ylimit = s(2);
map = zeros(xlimit,ylimit);

lower = 0.00;
higher = 2.00;
count = 0;
for i = 1 : xlimit
for j = 1 : ylimit
mul = 2^count;
if(target(i,j) == 1)
lower = lower + 1/mul;
else
higher = higher - 1/mul;
end
count = count + 1;
end
end

a = (lower+higher)/2;a

for x = 1 : xlimit
for y = 1 : ylimit
t = floor(mod(a*2^(((x-1)*ylimit + y-1)),2));
if (t > 0.5)
map(x,y) = 1;
end
end
end
imagesc(map);

:-)


Update: Here is Pota, with a = 1.8666940472197382



All equations in this post are from this Mathworld article.

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