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### How does a mathematician choose on which problem to work?

Main question:
How does a mathematician choose on which problem to work?
An example approach to framing one's answer:
What is a mathematical problem - big or small - that you solved or are ...

**1**

vote

**1**answer

55 views

### Discrete summation of Gaussian functions. Decay time problem

I am facing the following problem. I have a function which is defined through a discrete sum of Gaussians
$$F_M(t) = 2\sum\limits_{n=1}^{M}e^{-t^2 \sigma^2 n^2}\times \sum\limits_{k=n}^{M}p_k p_{k-n} ...

**16**

votes

**4**answers

752 views

### What is the term for combining functions $f_1,f_2,\dots,f_n$ into a tuple $(f_1,\dots,f_n)$?

This is an embarrassingly simple question, but I was not able to find a definitive answer from literature search.
Suppose one has some collection of functions $f_1: X \to Y_1, \dots, f_n: X \to Y_n$ ...

**7**

votes

**1**answer

239 views

### Geometric meaning of unimodular matrix

Rotations are given by unitary matrices.
What is the geometric meaning of unimodular matrices that are not unitary?

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**0**answers

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### Find Moment condition for generalized method of moments

Consider a scalar system with 2K outputs and K+2 unknowns
$y_{k,1}=x_ka_1+n_{k,1} \quad y_{k,2}=x_ka_2+n_{k,1}$.
The variables $n_{k,\ell}$ are zero mean noise variables.
To estimate $a_1$ and $a_2$, ...

**6**

votes

**1**answer

730 views

### Windows into new mathematical worlds [closed]

Yitang Zhang's Annals of Mathematics primes-gap result
opened a new window, which
Polymath's reduction from $70\times 10^6$ to $246$ attests.
Perhaps
Harald Helfgott's
celebrated proof of the odd ...

**5**

votes

**1**answer

113 views

### Solution to $(A+x^2)e^x=B$ with Lambert W function

Is it possible to obtain a analytical solution for $(A+x^2)e^x=B$, where we want to solve for $x$ with $A,B$ as constants?

**2**

votes

**1**answer

452 views

### What is the rate of convergence? [closed]

How quickly does the series defined by $$x_0 = 0, \ x_{n+1} = \frac{x_n^2+1}{2}$$ converge to $1$?

**15**

votes

**7**answers

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### Is this a rational function?

Is $$\sum_{n=1}^{\infty} \frac{z^n}{2^n-1} \in \mathbb{C}(z)\ ?$$
In a slightly different vein, given a sequence of real numbers $\{a_n\}_{n=0}^\infty$, what are some necessary and sufficient ...

**4**

votes

**2**answers

183 views

### Find the expansion of the exact solution (beyond Taylor)

In a paper by Kitagawa & Ueda Squeezed spin states they give an argument that the minimum variance in one-axis twisting Hamiltonian scales like $V_{min} \propto S^{-2/3}$. I will shortly describe ...

**16**

votes

**1**answer

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### Why do people use “formal calculation” to describe informal calculations?

Many times, I see the word formal being used to describe a calculation that is not rigorous. I would think that such calculations should rather be termed informal than formal. What is the explanation ...

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vote

**0**answers

119 views

### General procedure to find the determinant of an operator?

I want to learn to find the determinant of an operator.
I am given an operator like
$\Sigma _{\alpha\beta}=-k^2g_{\alpha\beta}+i\theta\epsilon_{\alpha\beta\gamma} k^\gamma$
$k^2=k^μk_μ$, $g^{αβ}$ ...

**18**

votes

**3**answers

1k views

### Which way for reading the proofs?

I am a master student in mathematics. For me a large part of doing mathematics is thinking about, reading and verifying the proof of theorems that I find them in my field of study. I can do this ...

**15**

votes

**2**answers

915 views

### What are the applications of operator algebras to other areas?

Question: What are the applications of operator algebras to other areas?
More precisely, I would like to know the results in mathematical areas outside of operator algebras which were proved by ...

**3**

votes

**1**answer

673 views

### Mathematics of Computer science and AI [closed]

Computer science and Artificial Intelligence have been fertile grounds for research for decades, not only for Engineers but particularly for Mathematicians. What kinds of Mathematics have emerged ...

**2**

votes

**2**answers

575 views

### Popular books written by great mathematicians [closed]

I read:
H. Poincare. Value of science
F. Klein. Development of Mathematics in the 19th Century
J.E. Littlewood. A Mathematicians Miscellany
G.H. Hardy. A Mathematician’s Apology
R. Courant, ...

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votes

**1**answer

169 views

### Compiling self-referential forms

Fix $1\leq d\in\mathbb{N}$ and set $D:=\{0,1,\ldots,d-1\}$.
Consider the system of equations
\begin{equation}
x_i=c_i + \sum_{j\in D}\delta_{x_j,i}
\end{equation}
with $c_i\in D$ given and $x_i\in D$ ...

**25**

votes

**5**answers

2k views

### Collaboration or acknowledgment?

This post is a sequel of: When should a supervisor be a co-author?
This time the topic is about the interaction between two professional mathematicians (in particular junior-senior, but not ...

**3**

votes

**1**answer

117 views

### Extension of an involutive automorphism

Suppose that $g$ is a complex semi-simple Lie algebra and $g'$ its reductive subalgebra.
If $\tau$ is an involutive automorphism of $g'$, can $\tau$ be extended to an involutive automorphism of $g$ ...

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votes

**2**answers

181 views

### Websites for Math Shopping [closed]

I was wondering if anyone knows about good websites or stores to buy math related products. On etsy there are normal distribution plushes and famous mathematicians in coasters. However when I search ...

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vote

**2**answers

162 views

### iterative solution better than analytic solution? [closed]

My supervisor and I were discussing a specific optimisation problem this afternoon.
To be simple: solve for $R$ in the equation $Rx=y$, where $x$, $y$ are made of samples in two difference ...

**1**

vote

**1**answer

222 views

### Concept of synchronizability

This thread is about the concept of synchronizability. It's a concept I tried to formalize in its most general sense but without success. The goal of this thread is therefore to try to formalize it in ...

**0**

votes

**1**answer

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### How to solve $e^{f(x)} + a f(x) + bx = 0$ [closed]

How should determine solutions to equations of this form?
$$e^{-f(x)} + b f(x) = ax$$
Here $f(x)>0$ is real valued. Also $a>0$, $b>0$.

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votes

**2**answers

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### The impact of large cardinals in mathematics [closed]

What are the main applications of large cardinals in ordinary mathematics, and what is the philosophy behind using them. In particular:
Question 1. What is the philosophy behind accepting large ...

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votes

**1**answer

221 views

### Constructing a function from preimages

This question was inspired by Can we build a continuous function from "fibers"/preimages defined over a topological base?
Let $X,Y$ be sets and $L\subseteq \mathcal{P}(Y)$. Suppose $L$ has ...

**-4**

votes

**1**answer

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### geometry formula adjacent neighbour of a N dimensional cube [closed]

A question from a curious.
How many adjacent N dimensional cube there is when they are regularly distributed on a "grid".
By N dimensional cube I mean:
a point is a OD cube
a segment is a 1D cube
...

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**6**answers

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### Negative impact of wrong or non-rigorous proofs

The recent talks of Voevodsky (for example, http://www.math.ias.edu/~vladimir/Site3/Univalent_Foundations_files/2014_IAS.pdf), which describe subtle errors in proofs by him as well as others, as well ...

**6**

votes

**5**answers

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### Proof or citation?

I'm writing an article. I suppose that I'll submit it to a more or less decent journal (in English). I have doubts about the following: I have a lemma (with quite a trivial proof). I don't want to ...

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### Conjectures on fractions where each digit appears once in numerator and denominator

This is a highly redacted version of a question that was asked before. Please see Criteria of considering relevance of the question to the domain of research topics for details.
Some numerical ...

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### Do you have examples of such “transitive” elements?

(I've asked the same question at the MSE, so far with no answers, so I thought I'd try it here as well. If there's some clash with any site rules, please let me know and I'll abide.)
Let $A$ be a set ...

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votes

**2**answers

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### Are there any organized websites for seminar/conference videos?

These days, there are many conference centers and universities recording seminars and conference talks and make them available on the web. Some examples:
http://www.fields.utoronto.ca/video-archive
...

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votes

**8**answers

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### Have you solved problems in your sleep?

I have hit upon major (for me—relative to my trivial accomplishments)
insights in my research
in various sleep-deprived altered states of consciousness,
e.g., long solo car-drives extending ...

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votes

**0**answers

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### Jacobi triple product for multidimensional lattices

The Jacobi triple product identity gives as a special case a product formula for the theta function of a 1-dimensional lattice. Is there a more general product formula for the theta function of an ...

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votes

**1**answer

473 views

### Sources of Theorem drafts by the original author

When I look at first time to a theorem and I try to understand it or when I try to memorise a useful theorem I always have difficulties (I am not the only one. For example: I read a question: I always ...

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votes

**1**answer

367 views

### What is an example of a non-axiomatic mathematical system? [closed]

In this wikipedia article on the foundations of mathematics, it says:
In practice, most mathematicians ... do not work from axiomatic systems
Is this correct? If so, what is an example of this?

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### Structures that turn out to exhibit a symmetry even though their definition doesn't

Sometimes (often?) a structure depending on several parameters turns out to be symmetric w.r.t. interchanging two of the parameters, even though the definition gives a priori no clue of that symmetry. ...

**2**

votes

**1**answer

129 views

### Talking about properties of “random” elements

I asked this in MSE but did not get a satisfying answer. I apologize in advance if this is not appropriate for MO.
Suppose that we have some set X and we want to say that a "random" (or generic) ...

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votes

**5**answers

699 views

### Accessible proofs of contemporary results in mathematics

Are there strong results in contemporary mathematical research (last 20 years) which have a proof which every mathematician (holding a PhD) can completely understand within a few days? -- If yes, ...

**3**

votes

**1**answer

657 views

### Equal signs with fancy marks

Some people use $\stackrel{\mathrm{def}}{=}$, $:=$ or $\stackrel{\Delta}{=}$ for definitions.
In more informal contexts, I have also seen $\stackrel{?}{=}$, for "I wish to prove this equality, which ...

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votes

**3**answers

653 views

### Is there any monoid in which the product of two non-invertible elements could be invertible?

I think the title speaks for itself. Thus I just explain the story behind the question. Of course, you may want to skip the story.
Story: Currently, I teach a course in linear algebra and matrices ...

**28**

votes

**2**answers

853 views

### Applications of Lawvere's fixed point theorem

Lawvere's fixed point theorem states that in a cartesian closed category, if there is a morphism $A \to X^A$ which is point-surjective (meaning that $\hom(1,A) \to \hom(1,X^A)$ is surjective), then ...

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### Can one branch of mathematics be completely learned from the perspective of another branch of mathematics? [closed]

This arose from a discussion with a friend (people involved are two engineers) who argued that every result in mathematics should be transformable into another branch. For example, he argued that ...

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**5**answers

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### Online high quality colloquium talks

In my department we're thinking about showing online lectures one day per week at lunch, as sort of a virtual colloquium appropriate to mathematics undergraduates as well as faculty. To start with ...

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votes

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### How should you respond to a student who asks whether a very nice physical example constitutes a proof? [closed]

"Is this really a proof?" is the exact question e-mailed to me today from an undergraduate mathematics student whom I know as a highly competent student. The one sentence question was accompanied with ...

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**4**answers

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### Famous vacuously true statements

I am interested to know other examples vacuously true statements that are non-trivial. My starting example is Turan's result in regards to the Riemann hypothesis, which states
Suppose that for each ...

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**1**answer

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### Relation between math and piano music

What, if any, is the relation between Cantor's function and Ligeti studio: Devil's Staircase?

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**2**answers

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### What might extraterrestrial mathematics look like? [closed]

In an extensive anthropological joint research project concerning the necessities in the development of life and civilisation my group is concerned with mathematics. This forum seems to be extremely ...

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votes

**5**answers

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### procedure-based (as opposed to definition-based) concepts

Euler's work on divergent series was guided by computational procedures, rather than any definition of the "value" of such a series. E.g., he was happy to have half a dozen procedures that indicated ...

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### Mathematics of privacy?

I wonder to which extent the current public debate on privacy issues (not only by state sniffing, but e.g. by microtargetting ads too an issue) offers interesting questions in mathematics?
Can we ...

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### When did you “meet Polya”? [closed]

I guess most of us didn't meet Polya in person (this is the answer to the title)! Perhaps, it is much easier to guess that most of us have met one of his writings (or alike) on problem solving, and ...