Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Cross-check: Poetic masterpiece of Claude Shannon, father of information theory, published for the first time [Scientific American]

See the article link below for the poem (and ten footnotes)

To commemorate the 10th anniversary of Shannon's death, I'm publishing his poem, "A Rubric on Rubik Cubics," which captures Shannon's legendary playfulness. (Shannon once told me, proudly, that "financial value, or value to the world," never motivated him and that he had "spent lots of time on totally useless problems.") Here is the poem's provenance: In a letter dated December 1, 1981, Shannon wrote to Dennis Flanagan, then editor of Scientific American, concerning an article that Shannon was supposed to be writing about the physics of juggling.

Excerpt:

The issue's joined in steely grip:
Man's mind against computer chip.

With theorems wrought by Conway's eight
'Gainst programs writ by Thistlethwait.
Can multibillion-neuron brains
Beat multimegabit machines?
The thrust of this theistic schism—
To ferret out God's algorism!

Cross-check: Poetic masterpiece of Claude Shannon, father of information theory, published for the first time

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