8.7

Reading 1: Who can define the bigger number?

This assignment is due on Sunday, January 22 at 11:59pm. Don’t bullshit.

Exercise 1. Use this invite link to join Hypothesis, a service that lets us talk to each other as we read. Go to your settings and edit your profile so that your “display name” is the same name that you have been using in this course.

Exercise 2. Read Who can name the bigger number? by Aaronson.
  • When you follow the link above with your browser, you should see Aaronson’s article, as well as a button “<” in the upper-right corner. Use the “<” button to expand the annotation sidebar.

  • You may need to log in to Hypothesis, using the account you created in Exercise 1.

  • **Pay attention to this next step**. This is a common mistake that results in many zeros on the assignment. After logging in, you are not done. You still have to expand the drop-down menu “Public” in the top right sidebar, make sure it says “my groups”, and change it to our course group “211”. You belong to this group because you used the invite link in Exercise 1. If you don’t post to this group, then other students won’t see your annotations, and you won’t get credit.

Exercise 3. Find two places in the article where you were confused, uncertain, or curious. Carefully select exactly the relevant passages, and Annotate them with your questions.
  • Make your question clear, descriptive, and specific.

  • Don’t be too brief, terse, or vague. Don’t just say “What’s this” or “I don’t understand”.

  • Don’t just summarize.

Exercise 4. Once you have added your questions, respond to someone else.

For the rest of this page, you don’t need to submit anything. We’ll work through similar material together in class.

Exercise 5. Below is a program that squares a number. Can you write a shorter program with the same result?
(* 1234567898765432345678765434567654565 1234567898765432345678765434567654565)

Optional: Read about the Bignum Bakeoff, a contest to write a short program (512 characters) that generates the biggest number.