News Archive

2014 Mathematics Awareness Month

On Tuesday, April 1, 2014, from 4-6PM in Olin Hall 107, S. Brent Morris will present his talk "Magic Tricks, Card Shuffling, Dynamic Computer Memories." Not to be missed, this talk begins with a magic trick.

Math, Magic & Mystery

Math, Magic & Mystery, April 1, 2014

Magic Tricks, Card Shuffling, Dynamic Computer Memories

S. Brent Morris earned his doctorate and master’s in math from Duke University, and a master’s in computer science from Johns Hopkins University. He is believed to have the first doctorate in the world in card shuffling. He holds two U.S. patents on computers designed with shuffles, and worked as a mathematician with the U.S. government from 1975 to 2000. He has served as a U.S. representative to the International Organization for Standardization in the area of computer security. He is the author of the book Magic Tricks, Card Shuffling, Dynamic Computer Memories, published by the MAA.

The talk begins with a magic trick and a scientific analysis of card tricks. This leads to a brief study of card shuffling and the introduction of the perfect shuffle and its mathematics. Formulas are developed that describe the movement of any card in the deck after any sequence of perfect shuffles, and this in turn is used to design a dynamic computer memory. Finally, we show that the accessing algorithm for the dynamic memory, the movement formula for perfect shuffles, and the card trick all use the same mathematical principle.

Funding provided by the Department of Mathematical Sciences and the WPI Student Government Association.

Tuesday, April 1, 4 -6pm, Olin Hall 107

March 17, 2014