Graphs

Given below are 5 friends and how they are connected. If I ask you to find the shortest path for Peter to reach Tom then you will immediately answer that he should go through Sachin [Peter -> Sachin -> Tom]. It requires some effort if you want to make the computer answer the same question.…

How to lie with statistics

There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and, statistics – Disraeli. I recently finished reading the book – How to lie with statistics by Darrel Huff. This book was first published in 1954. Even today it is very relevant and it explains how an uncritical reader can be fooled by media, politicians, and,…

Trees

Take a look at the org chart of a startup company. There are 7 employees in the company. Each employee can have up to 2 other employees reporting to them. Tree is a data structure which is used to represent this information in computer’s memory. Using the org chart let us understand the vocabulary used in…

The Black Swan

In 1982, large American banks lost all their past earnings, about everything they ever made in the history of American banking. Why? They have been lending money to South and Central American countries that all defaulted at the same time. Larry Page and Sergey Brin studied computer science at Stanford University. They came up with…

Risk vs Volatility

Most of us think that volatility is same as risk. Given a choice we prefer to work for the government or some big corporations. We prefer holding cash and fixed instruments instead of equities. Why? These options are less volatile and hence we consider them as less risky. This assumption is incorrect. Volatility is not the…

Amazon knows what I like

I buy a lot of books from amazon.com. You can view my online bookshelf here. One of the reasons I like amazon.com is because of its recommendations engine. Few days back it recommended me the book Thinking Fast and Slow. It is one of my favorite books. It not only recommended the book but it also…

Prisoner’s Dilemma

Game theory is the science of strategy. It attempts to determine mathematically and logically the actions that players should take to secure the best outcomes for themselves in a wide array of games. Prisoner’s Dilemma is the oldest and most studied model in game theory. In the book  Game Theory 101 – William Spaniel gives the following…