Even more library books (unread)

Draft of 2017.06.22

May include: readingsmathematics&c.

  • Matroid Theory and Its Applications in Electric Network Theory and in Statics I’ve been fiddling with hypergraphs for many years (since we started to use a hypergraph-based representation for biochemical reaction networks in Stu Kauffman’s lab maybe 25 years back), and every once in a while somebody in an introduction to hypergraphs will mention “matroids”, so I thought it might be a good time to find out what the hell they mean by that word. Amusingly, this book didn’t really help, though it did a lot to help me understand more about what matroids can be used for in practical engineering applications, specifically circuit and structural rigidity problems. I just glanced at a much better-reviewed book’s intro, and it mentions along the way that matroids are defined about as many ways as there are people working with them, so I’m not entirely surprised that I didn’t find the Golden Thread in this one. I hope that other book may help me more.
  • Magic squares and cubes. With chapters by other writers Another classic backgrounder on magic squares, prepping (still) for an étude on the subject. One of the early works, featuring a number of interesting heuristics for constructing magic squares, mainly involving rearranging a canonical arrangement of numbers by a series of “moves”. Selected Papers on Design of Algorithms Well, it stayed on the bottom of the pile for several weeks. Looking over it now, I wish I’d made time to read it through. Some time soon I suspect I’ll make an extra effort on Knuth books, especially on his weird old recreational stuff.
  • The Zen of Magic Squares, Circles and Stars: An Exhibition of Surprising Structures Across Dimensions Pickover still has the job I wish I had. At least in the sense of compiling these. That said, this one does a good job touching high points, but somehow it is more of a miscellany than the better-composed Before Sudoku I mentioned the other day. As always, Pickover pushes out into the non-number-theory parts of the world, including bits on groups and symmetries, and other heuristic maneuvers on a well-trodden path.