RIP Sir Michael Atiyah

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Rest in peace, Sir Michael Atiyah. Many scientists have called Atiyah the best mathematician in Britain since Isaac Newton.

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Source: New York Times

Michael Atiyah, a British mathematician who united mathematics and physics during the 1960s in a way not seen since the days of Isaac Newton, died on Friday. He was 89.

The Royal Society in London, of which he was president in the 1990s, confirmed the death but gave no details. Dr. Atiyah, who was retired, had been an honorary professor in the School of Mathematics at the University of Edinburgh.

Dr. Atiyah, who spent many years at Oxford and Cambridge universities, revealed an unforeseen connection between mathematics and physics through a theorem he proved in collaboration with Isadore Singer, one of the most…

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The amazing power of word vectors

the morning paper

For today’s post, I’ve drawn material not just from one paper, but from five! The subject matter is ‘word2vec’ – the work of Mikolov et al. at Google on efficient vector representations of words (and what you can do with them). The papers are:

From the first of these papers (‘Efficient estimation…’) we get a description of the Continuous Bag-of-Words and Continuous Skip-gram models for learning word vectors (we’ll talk about what a word vector is in a moment…). From the second paper we get more illustrations of the…

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The Hardest H3 Math Question (Combinatorics)

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I think this may be one of the hardest H3 Math Questions in history. It is taken from RI H3 Prelim 2018. It seems that even in top schools like RI, there are less than 50 people taking H3 Maths in any given year. Part (d) is extremely hard to get the formula for general r. In fact during the exam it is probably wise to skip such questions or give partial answers (e.g. the formula for r=3) as it is not worth the time for 3 marks.

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H3 Mathematics Resource Page

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H3 Mathematics is the pinnacle of the Junior College Mathematics syllabus in Singapore. It contains a glimpse of actual Math that Mathematicians do, and it requires true mathematical understanding and technique to do well. (H1/H2 math requires a lot of practice, but not true understanding. It is quite common for students to “apply the method” and get the correct answer without having any idea of what they are actually doing.)

Topics in H3 Mathematics include Functions, Sequence and Series, Combinatorics, and even Number Theory. Certain schools also include topics like Linear Algebra and Differential Equations. Certainly, the H3 Math questions have a Math Olympiad style to them.

Here are some practice questions for H3 Math (more will be added in the future), with some hints. Questions are adapted from actual H3 prelim papers.

Functions

Q1) The function $latex f$ is such that $latex f(x+2)=af(x+1)-f(x)$, for all real $latex x$ and…

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