About me

So who is this crazy guy who likes to write about math? My name is Brent Yorgey. I currently live with my amazing wife Joyia and wonderful son Noah in Williamstown, MA, where I am a visiting professor in the computer science department at Williams College (my alma mater). Previously, I did my PhD in the programming languages group at the University of Pennsylvania. In the past I have taught math and computer science at my alma mater, Woodrow Wilson SHS (a DC public school), and worked as a Java software developer.

Other notable interests of mine include music (I sing and play classical and jazz piano), Go (an amazing, ancient board game which you can read about here), bridge, Linux and ancient Greek, among others.

In addition to The Math Less Traveled, I also maintain another blog aimed more at an audience of peers (although anyone is welcome to read it, of course). There you’ll find musings on mathematics, programming (especially Haskell), and grad school.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions for me, suggestions or ideas for this blog, or just want to chat. To find my e-mail address, start with the following and “subtract one” from each letter (for example, you should change the first “c” into a “b”, and so on). There will still be one incorrect letter but it will be obvious what you should correct it to.


There. I’d like to see an address-harvesting robot get around that!

30 Responses to About me

  1. Pingback: Walking Randomly » Second call for Carnival of Maths articles

  2. Pingback: Codificação anti-spam do endereço de e-mail « problemas | teoremas

  3. Pingback: Go resources « The Math Less Traveled

  4. GS Chandy says:

    Wonderful blog! I shall look forward to reading this and your other blog regularly.

    I would like to correspond with you, in due course, about “practical means to show people the beauty, poetry and power of math (in addition to excellent things like your blog)”: for this purpose I’d like to send you information about the ‘One Page Management System’ (OPMS), a generic aid to problem solving and decision making based on the seminal contributions to systems science from Professor John N. Warfield. This material would consist of PowerPoint presentations and Word documents (about 1.5-2 MB in size should be OK to give you a good idea about OPMS and its potential for the above purpose. – Do please let me know if I may send you this material.

    More later,

    • Brent says:

      GSC: Thanks, I’m glad you enjoy the blog!

      After taking a look at some of the material on your website I do not think I am interested in OPMS right now, but thank you for the offer.

  5. GS Chandy says:

    Hi, Brent:

    Thanks for your response.

    I have no website, so I don’t know what material you have seen.

    Best wishes

  6. Brent says:

    The website I looked at was here:


    Is this not yours?

  7. Alison says:

    Just want so say “hiya” to a fellow Eph and show my appreciation for your blog. :-)

  8. nita says:

    no, i think you’re not a crazy guy. that’s cool . a person who love math is very special. i do love mathematic :)

  9. craig knecht says:

    Al Zimmerman’s programing contest ending June 2010 asked contestants to find the largest amount of retained water for a given order of magic square. http://www.azspcs.net/Contest/MagicWater


    There was speculation that the pattern for maximum retention might turn out to be a fractal as the order got very large.

    I was wondering if anyone might speculate on possible fractals for that solution ?



  10. dick lipton says:

    Nice post on 3x+1 problem.

  11. Lukas says:

    Hi Brent
    congrats, your ‘tone’ made it on one of the big German news pages[1]. Myself, I am far from math away, especially proofing. I went on to your aboutme page and spotted Haskell. That’s what I’m interested in because it was part of my Bachelor thesis – I am a business informatics/ information systems guy. I know, Haskell is still a niche. However, it’s great for quick coding without thinking too much. My question, in which fields do you deploy Haskell. And don’t tell me ‘math’ ;-)

    [1] http://www.spiegel.de/wissenschaft/mensch/0,1518,768289,00.html


    • Brent says:

      Hi Lukas, hehe, wow, I have never heard anyone say that Haskell is “great for quick coding without thinking too much”! Usually people complain that it involves too much thinking. =) I use it for my research in programming languages, of course, but I also use it for things like creating vector graphics (see http://projects.haskell.org/diagrams — I also used Haskell to make that web site). Just a quick glance over http://hackage.haskell.org/package/ will show you the broad range of fields in which people use Haskell.

      • Lukas says:

        Well, I simply *use* Haskell – means using ‘what is already provided’ – instead of digging too deep in spheres like monad programming. Indeed, entry barriers are high, especially when you previously have been familiar only with imperative and/or object-orientated languages. However, if you leave that behind, it’s fun to program ‘basic’ stuff in Haskell – despite awful compiler error message ;-)
        I get your point, though. Once I tried to understand the xmonad code… but that’s another story.

  12. Your blog got cited in Germans most read online news page — http://www.spiegel.de/wissenschaft/mensch/0,1518,768289,00.html — with the comment that your lines are quite “polemic” for an academic blog.

    Best, Christian

  13. 欧阳锋  says:

    Dude, i email you, to make sure you could see, i post my questions here, i need answers, if you help, i appreciate!

    How can i get non-repeating random numbers from mathematica 8 and matlab 2009?

    How can i know which distribution the numbers i get are?

    Can i choose the distribution i want together with the non-repeating random numbers?

    Are these random numbers true random numbers? Not pseudo-random numbers? If not, how do i do if i want true random numbers by the software?

    How to write the expressions of permutation and combination?

    Wish you happy everyday!

  14. Laura says:

    You are so much better than my math teacher!!!! Thanks for the sigma notation blog!!!!

  15. Mark says:

    Thanks for the minus times minus = positive posting Brent, really helped think how I was going to teach it to my top eleven-year olds in England! Think I shall physically use the numberline to show the ‘switching’ of counting!

    Thanks again – will regularly check back now I’ve discovered this!

    Mark R

  16. tituswu says:

    Man, a math blog! A one of a kind here! Definitely following this.

  17. cicerojones says:

    You are my idol!

  18. Pingback: Linking Newspaper Rings, Pascal’s Colors, and Poetry of Math | Math Munch

  19. Jake Byrnes says:

    Dear Brent,
    As a proponent of math education in the United States, we need your help to promote our nationwide math competition by blogging or posting about it on your blog/forum.

    As you probably already know, despite the fact that the US spends the most money on education per capita, our students are ranked 25th globally for math proficiency. The MATHCOUNTS Foundation is a nonprofit dedicated to improving that statistic. MATHCOUNTS’ third annual “ Math Video Challenge” is a math competition for 6th to 8th graders that encourages student innovation as they create and star in their own math videos, thus exciting them to pursue higher education in math.

    As the webmaster of The Math Less Traveled, we are asking you to help support this effort by mentioning us in your next blog or forum post or promoting our logo with a link to the site. So far this contest has gathered over 500
    submissions and millions of views on the videos. Our goal this year is this year is to do even better. With your help, we are confident we will reach this goal.

    For more information on MATHCOUNTS or the Math Video Challenge, visit our webpages at mathcounts.org and videochallenge.mathcounts.org/math-camera-action.


    Jake Byrnes

  20. tik says:

    Hey Brent, Greets from Denver….love the site….I am a beginner entering my sixth decade on our rock here…..thank you for everything you do….it’s great….just great….tik

  21. Could you talk about http://proofs.wiki/ on your blog?
    It is an interesting wiki about mathematical proofs.

  22. Robert Houlihan says:

    Teaching myself about Hybrid Digital Broadcasting some of the math I haven’t experienced. Your site is a god sent as I need a clear explanation. I am a self learner and your site is very helpful. Already I looked up summations ( found a very clear explanation ) I will definitely bookmark this site

  23. vegafrank says:


    I believe I have proved that NP = PSPACE finding a problem in NP that it is also in PSPACE-complete. I have submitted to a journal and I have received the following answer:

    (Unfortunately we have judged not to accept your note.

    We believe that the result is erroneous.

    In general , when one claims an equality of P , or NP and PSPACE , one must first convince some known experts individually and put the proof in the web before submitting.

    Many journals receive many wrong proofs with respect to the above. Many reviewers simply deny to look at such claims , if the above conditions are not met…)

    In despite of that decision, I believe my proof is correct. I shared the paper in a preprint:


    Could you give your opinion about it, please?

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