P = NP?

This article is my attempt to put my money where my mouth is.  A friend mentioned the BBC Radio 4 series In Our Time on Facebook, and in the conversation that followed I said that the only time In Our Time discussed something close to my home turf I got grumpy about how poorly I … Continue reading P = NP?

Computer science while washing the dishes 1: The Queue

Calvin and Hobbes said that there’s treasure everywhere.  For a sad geek like me, there’s also computer science everywhere.  Doing the washing up the old school way involves a metaphor for the computer science concept of queue, if you think of people collaborating around the draining board.  Quite a lot of this is a statement … Continue reading Computer science while washing the dishes 1: The Queue

Optimisation part 2: Hill climbing and simulated annealing

In the previous article I introduced optimisation.  In this article I will go into two optimisation algorithms – hill-climbing and simulated annealing.  Hill climbing is the simpler one so I’ll start with that, and then show how simulated annealing can help overcome its limitations at least some of the time. Hill climbing To explain hill … Continue reading Optimisation part 2: Hill climbing and simulated annealing