Preface

A snippet from How Mathematicans Think, Princeton University Press, 2007 by William Byers

Flashback → 2008. I was already in awe of prime numbers and was quick (and naive?) to assume if this could be the solution to information compression. Already being acquainted with computer programming, I started to explore algorithms to compress information using prime numbers and gradually realized why such algorithms are not practical enough despite being theoretically valid.

But the entire process made me sufficiently curious to be driven by the idea of optimal algorithms and computational complexity to start a lab that will fundamentally study and design algorithms that are instrumental in the advancement of technology in a way that is also responsible. And in that way, Mathscapes began. Following is the excerpt from the long shot vision that I have envisioned for Mathscapes.

Mathscapes intends to design optimal algorithms with mathematics. Mathematics is what I think is the framework for abstraction and logic. (Arguably) It can be the most potent language to decode and design. Our foundation is set by continually looking for patterns that can help us create better algorithms, which I think constitutes the heart of technology. Often the most simple looking problems are the hardest. And finding just a solution cannot suffice — most of our resources are limited, and optimal algorithms can allow better utilization of resources, which may not always be space and time. In all, mathematics sets up the foundation for us to theorize the patterns, conjectures, and design algorithms that are not just correct but efficient too.

In the longshot, Mathscapes’ pursuit is to transform the way the world engages with technology. Technology is constantly changing our world. It is making our life simpler. While that may be good, we cannot anticipate all the implications it carries. Who should be held responsible for damage caused by this advancement? What if we could see the future? Would we change our decisions then?

Written by Gaurav Singh in 2014.