About Ramanujan

I was looking for some information on Srinivasa Ramanujan, that I stumbled upon this post at y! answers.

Mathematician Ramanujan. The greatest ever.

Born 22 December 1887(1887-12-22)

Erode, Tamil Nadu, India

Died 26 April 1920 (aged 32)

Chetput, (Madras), Tamil Nadu, India


British India,

United Kingdom

Fields Mathematician

Alma mater

Trinity College, Cambridge

Academic advisors G. H. Hardy and J. E. Littlewood

Known for Landau-Ramanujan constant

Mock theta functions

Ramanujan prime

Ramanujan-Soldner constant

Ramanujan theta function

Ramanujan's sum

Rogers-Ramanujan identities

Ramanujan and his theorems are referred to in Sylvia Nasar's A Beautiful Mind, a biography of mathematician John Forbes Nash.

He is the subject of David Leavitt's new novel The Indian Clerk, released September 2007. The novel is set during Ramanujan's sojourn in England, where he went at the invitation of Cambridge mathematician G.H. Hardy and his colleague J.E. Littlewood.

He was referred to in the film Good Will Hunting as an example of mathematical genius.

His biography was highlighted in the Vernor Vinge book The Peace War as well as Douglas Hofstadter's Gödel, Escher, Bach.

The character Amita Ramanujan in the CBS TV series Numb3rs (2005–) was named after him.[90]

The short story "Gomez", by Cyril Kornbluth, mentions Ramanujan by name as a comparison to its title character, another self-taught mathematical genius.

In the novel Uncle Petros and Goldbach's Conjecture by Apostolos Doxiadis, Ramanujan is one of the characters.

In the novel Earth by David Brin, the character Jen Wolling uses a representation of Sri Ramanujan as her computer interface.

In the novel The Peace War by Vernor Vinge, a young mathematical genius is referred to as "my little Ramanujan" accidentally. Then it is hoped the young man doesn't get the connection because, like Ramanujan, the boy is doomed to die prematurely.

The character "Yugo Amaryl" in Isaac Asimov's Prelude to Foundation is based on Ramanujan.[citation needed]

The theatre company Complicite has created a production based around the life of Ramanjuan called A Disappearing Number - conceived and directed by Simon McBurney

The PBS television show Nova episode "The Man Who Loved Numbers", about Ramanujan, was first broadcast on March 22, 1988.

The Helix comic book series Time Breakers features Ramanujan as a character. In the story, his meeting with Hardy was made possible by the time travelling main characters, who know that Ramanujan's discoveries are vitally important to their own work and ensure that his work at Cambridge will unfold as history demands.

The eponymous character in J.M.Coetzee's novel 'Elizabeth Costello: Eight Lessons' uses Ramanujan to discuss God, reason and being human.

Good Will Hunting

At last my desktop computer running FC2 was able to play movies from VCD. VLC did the trick and I had to spend considerable time with it to make it play.

1) vlc vcd:///dev/hdc

2) next to scroll bar there was chapter button. Click on that so that it does not finish with the advertisements only.

Good Will Hunting was an 'okay' movie.  It was trying to be a sentimental, emotional one. But there were lots of loop holes. Well movies as such have lots, but this was a little extra special in terms of mathematical genius janitor who is an autodidactic and considers himself correct all the times. Robin Williams plays the psychologist part and tries to help him find his way. Which you can expect in a movie, would be to get back to his heroine with whom he had a break-up. Thats following his heart.

I liked the slangs used, the boston country side and bars potrayed and the joke the heroine shares in bar with friends.  :-)

J.K. Rowling on failure, imagination and life

A very good speech given by J.K. Rowling to the students of Havard. This reminds of the famous Steve Jobs speech too. But there is something observable in J.K.Rowling's concluding part. It is same that Harry says to Hermoine in the "Order of the Phoenix" as the answer to the question, "What do we have that the dark lord voldemort does not and envies?"

How identation works for Python programs?

It is well explained in this article.

It is the lexical analyzer that takes care of the indentation and not the python parser. Lexical analyzer maintains a stack for the indentation.
1) First for no indentation, it would stored 0 in the stack [0]
2) Next when any Indentation occurs, it denotes it by token INDENT and pushes the indent value to the stack[0]. Think of it as a beinging { brace in the C program. And if we visualized, the can be only one INDENT statement per line.
4) When de-indent occurs in a line, as many values are popped out of the stack as the new reduced indentation till the value on the top of the stack is equal to new indentation (if not equal, error) and for each value popped out a DEDENT token in written. (Like multiple end }} in C)

A simple code like this

if x:
if true:
print 'yes'
print 'end'

Would be written as:

<if><x><:>                           # Stack[0]
<INDENT><if><true><:>  # Stack [0,4]
<INDENT><print><'><yes><'> # Stack [0,4,8]
<DEDENT><DEDENT><print><'><end><'> #Stack[0]

The parser would just consider the as <INDENT> as { of the block and  <DEDENT>  as } of the block would be able to parse it as logical blocks.

That was a well written article again.

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi died last week.

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, was the guru of Transcendental Meditation technique. There are many different meditation techniques in the world. Meditation is a concept for your thoughts, which is similar physical exercise is for body.

Transcendental Meditation is one of them and Maharishi Mahesh Yogi pioneered it. I learned it when I was in 10th standard,16 years old and practiced it till my first year at job when I was in tech-support department at Dell, 23 years old. I feel, I had started meditation, because I wanted to improve my marks and achieve big things :-) and pursued it for 7 years intermittently, constantly getting confused with many things, without achieving the purpose of marks and big things. During this time, the Meditation activity also took me into religion and other spiritual activities in the related sphere and I got easily influenced by them also. My interests included, Sri Ramakrishna Mutt, Swami Vivekananda, Osho, temples and various different philosophical reading.

It was when doing night-shifts at work that I did not get time for these and because during the day time with whatever time I got, I wanted to study and prepare for a move to software development that my interests in meditation started to fade away. I think, being in Bangalore than in Madurai (where you have lot of temples and average interest in spiritual things is very high) and away from some friends who had shared my previous interests also led to this change. I was also disgusted with wrong paths which people might follow, if they just pray to god and not do the required work in trying to achieve what they wanted. So many nearby examples and sometimes myself included were in my mind. So, I simply kind of gave it up.

Our interests change at different points in time. Right now, I do physical exercises everyday, enjoy it without any aim for marks or achieving big things.

When thinking about the subject of meditation sometimes, I feel that it can be equated to exercises for your thoughts and it should not be a heavy subject however and should definitely not be linked with many things.

There are lots of article on Mahesh Yogi, Beatles involvement and Mahesh Yogi's achievements in field of meditation under the entertainment section of the news today.

Remembering Mahatma

Whether we follow or not, Mahatma Gandhi's philosophy is as relevant today as it was 60 years ago.

I went to a hotel called Rasam at Chennai along with my cousin. It was a Kongunadu style,the karaikudi area in Tamil Nadu and it had a display of historic newspaper clippings. One newspaper clipping was on Indian Independence and titles ran large with details and the photos of the ministers sworn in.

There was a small column however there that Mahatma Gandhi was in a village where in he was helping the riot affected people and he observed Independence Day by fasting, spinning, prayer. This is truly inspirational of a great leader.Dr. Kalaam also mentions about this incident in his books.

Quote of the day:

"Whatever we do might be insignificant, but it is very important that we do it" - Gandhi

Books I could read this year

  1. Men who made new physics.
    It is story of the physicists who heralded the new era of physics.
  2. Five Dollar Smile.
    One of the early writings of Shashi Tharoor, perhaps when he was in college. Stories feature subjects which occupy adolescent minds. Subjects like friendship, love, sex and politics are dealt with in a very comical way.
  3. How I taught my grandma and other stories.
  4. Old man and his god.
    Both the books by madam Sudha Murty. Most of the stories upheld values, virtuous nature in human beings, human dignity, many ethical and philanthropic subjects.
  5. Its not about Bike.
    It is all about strength and courage by the cyclist, marathon guy Lance Armstrong, who defeated cancer to get back to race and win the Tour de France 5 times.
  6. Just do it.
    Very practical advice from Sir. Richard Branson. He just did the Virgin empire and encourages everyone to just do what one wants to do.
  7. Bridges of Madison County.
    Very romantic one. In fact, the best romantic book I have read so far. Writing is very good and it is a subject which could lie on the borderline of love and infidelity, but author has dealt it in a wonderful way that the reader can understand and sometimes agree with the borderline which it portrays.
  8. Guide to Earth, Moon and Space.
    Asimov's non-fiction writing. His writing is very lucid and it tries to bring back the questions that a curious child wonders when standing outside and looking at the night sky. Questions like, "What are those shiny things?, Why is it there?, Why is not falling?, Why are so many of them there?, Why is it dark now?, Is sun asleep?, When we travel in a scooter how come moon is also traveling along with us?Can we race ahead of it?". Those are just fun and very valid questions. Asimov tries to answer them all as it can be understood by the child who asks those questions. The book is simply too good. I really loved it.
  9. Theory of Everything.
    Stephen Hawkings explains science as it evolved from the times of Galileo till the string theory. It is easy to read, and presented in a very concise manner.
  10. Revenge of the Baby Sat.
  11. Calvin and Hobbes 1st book.
    Both of them, lovable Calvin and Hobbes adventures.
  12. Asterix series.
    • Asterix the Gaul
    • Asterix and the Golden Sickel
    • Asterix and the Goths.
    • Asterix and the Chieftains Shield.
    • The Mansions of the Gods.
    • Asterix and the Soothsayer.
    • Asterix and Caesar's Gift.
  13. Fantastic Voyage.
    Asimov's fiction, which is, in fact is based on the screenplay of a movie by the same name. The book came much earlier than the movie. Three men and a woman, miniature themselves and enter inside the human body,in a miniaturized submarine to do an operation. They will have complete the operation and get out of body within a time limit, otherwise even as their goal fails, everyone stands at a danger of losing something very valuable, the information available with the person they are trying to save at any cost. Asimov has taken take to write fiction in very logical way. Like the troop experience the "Brownian Motion" as they enter inside the body.
  14. Out of my Comfort Zone.
    Steve Waugh's Biography. While reading this, I had many fits of laughter, many a moments of amusement and wonder at this simple guy with lot of character. Steve is definitely one of my favorite sports person. He is very plain and direct. And a very bold person too as we can see in his auto-biography. Good lessons on leadership and management is presented in his book.
  15. Krishna and Gopal.
  16. Savitri
  17. Buddhist Tales
    From Amar Chitra Katha series, based on folklore, mythology and ancient Indian stories. They deal the moral values, justice, ethical leadership and administration.
    I have more Amar Chitra Katha books to read.
  18. Hound of Baskervilles.
  19. Sign of Four
  20. Study in Scarlet
    Those were the brilliance of Sir. Arthur Canon Doyle through Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. I read these for the second time as I had completed the sherlock holmes series a long time back.

Many of these books, like "Guide to Earth, Moon and Space", "Theory of Everything", Sherlock Holmes series, I read along with my friend Avinash and we both enjoyed it together.

Apart from these, there are few technical books, I could lay my hands upon. Note , technical books are not meant to be read, they are to be studied thoroughly and worked upon a number of times. So, I cannot put them in the read category.

I could get chance to work with,

  • Version Control with Subversion by Ben Collins-Sussman, Brian W. Fitzpatrick, C. Michael Pilato.
  • Word power made easy by Norman Lewis.
  • Cryptography and Network Security, by William Stallings.

My friend and I had thought at the start of year to compete for the 50bookchallenge. While that was my list of books, I am glad that we got started and next year, I plan to read at least 50 books.

Let me know if you would like to read any of these books, I would be glad to share it with you. You can also have a peek into my online library at books.google.com

Happy New Year 2008 to all!

Lambda functions

I often forget the syntax and usage of lambda functions, the following examples should help as a reminder.

>>> def function(x):

... return x*3


>>> function(2)


>>> func_with_lambda = lambda x: x*2

>>> func_with_lambda(2)


>>> (lambda x: x*2)(2)