[CV: Prof. Oded Margalit has a PhD in computer science from Tel Aviv University under the supervision of Prof. Zvi Galil. He has worked at IBM Research – Haifa in the areas of machine learning, constraint satisfaction, verification, and more. Currently, he is the CTO of the IBM Cybersecurity Center of Excellence in Beer Sheva, Israel. Oded helps organize several computer science competitions, like the international IEEEXtreme and the Israeli national CodeGuru competition. He loves riddles and authors the IBM Research monthly challenge corner Ponder This.]
The IBM Ponder This monthly challenge
School of Mathematics Colloquium
Tuesday, April 10, 2018 - 11:00am
1 hour (actually 50 minutes)
For the sake of puzzle-lovers worldwide, IBM Research offers a monthly mathematical challenge known as Ponder This. Every month, a new challenge is posted together with the solution for the previous month's riddle. Prof. Oded Margalit has served as the Ponder This puzzlemaster for the last decade. In this talk, he’ll survey some of most interesting riddles posted over the years, and tell some anecdotes about various challenges and regular solvers, such as one person who sent in his solution from an intensive care unit. Several challenges have led to conference and journal papers, such as a PRL paper born from a riddle on random walks, and an ITA 2014 paper on a water hose model (using quantum entanglement to break location-based encryption). Other monthly challenges have riffed on games such as 2048, Kakuro, an infinite chess game, the probability of backgammon ending with a double, Fischer Random Chess, and more. Other challenges have been more purely mathematic, focusing on minimal hash functions, combinatorial test design, or finding a natural number n such that round ((1+2 cos(20))^n) is divisible by 10^9. The talk will present a still-open question about a permutation-firing cannon. The talk will be self contained.