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### Re: Algorithm questions...

by Elias (Pilgrim)
 on Nov 23, 2000 at 16:09 UTC ( #43125=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

I think you will really enjoy reading

The crest of the peacock, non-european roots of mathematics
by George Gheverghese Joseph
Penguin Books 2000 (new edition), 455 pages.
ISBN: 0-14-027778-1

It has nice examples of very logical, but completely different ways of performing calculations (have you ever multiplied 2x2 with Mayan numerals?) which range from the blatantly obvious (the Aztec representation of 5) to the bizarre (the way the Babylonians handled irrational numbers).

If your interviewee can handle these, it is likely that he or she can also manage complex algorithms.

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Re^2: Algorithm questions...
by kaif (Friar) on Apr 15, 2006 at 01:03 UTC
Five and a half years later: How did the Babylonians handle irrational numbers? Or should I just look at the book?
Apparently not wittingly, but they dit work on approximations to the root of 2. Babylonians had the basic concept of pythagoras's theorem, but the greeks gave birth to irrational numbers as such. It was one of pythagoras's pupils - Hipposus - who first struggled with the root of 2 and came to the conclusion that some numbers where irrational. Faced with such irrationality from one of his pupils, Pythagoras ordered Hipposus to be drowned.

(I can think of a student or two I may have done something similar to for lesser reasons ;).

http://www.geocities.com/mathimoh/irrational.html
http://members.aol.com/bbyars1/first.html
http://www-groups.dcs.st-and.ac.uk/~history/HistTopics/Real_numbers_1.html

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