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    Associate Editor, BU Today and Bostonia

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    Web Content Producer

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There is 1 comment on Today I Learned: Honors Linear Algebra Can Be Fun, Cool, Even Beautiful

  1. Nice to see BU Today interview students about math!
    I’d like to point to three clarifications that might clear up some confusion. Brace yourself for some possibly pedantice points:
    (i) “vector fields” should read “vector spaces” in in the transcript. Although “fields”, as algebraic structures, are apropos to this article, “vector fields” are a distinct dynamical systems concept that doesn’t really come up in the present context.
    (ii) Although the Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan was born in the 19th century, his work should be considered 20th century.
    (iii) The first book to do a nice job of explaining the basic linear algebra underlying Google’s pagerank algorithm is over 15 years old.
    https://press.princeton.edu/books/paperback/9780691152660/googles-pagerank-and-beyond .
    When the algorithm first appeared, Brin and Page had trouble attracting investors since it was not clear how this could lead to a profitable business! Given how reality evolved, it is key for current students to have an understanding of how math couples to less-than-mathematical impulses, to have profound societal impact, both good and bad.
    Thanks again for a brave foray into GEEKY territory!

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