miércoles, 27 de febrero de 2013

Questions and Answers

On May 30th 1832, the mathematician Évariste Galois[1][2] wasted all the courage that he was able to gather during his young life, dying that morning being only 20 years old. Since then, many of us have cried his lost.

During his short life, he was able to solve one of the long-standing problem of those days, finding the necessary and sufficient condition for a polynomial to be solvable by radicals.

But moreover, he taught me with the passion for the quest of σοφία, challenges and enigmas, stating which should be the contribution of the greatest minds: questions, not answers[3]:
C'est que malheureusement on ne se doute pas que le livre le plus précieux du plus savant serait celui où il dirait tout ce qu'il ne sait pas, c'est qu'on ne se doute pas qu'un auteur ne nuit jamais tant à ses lecteurs que quand il dissimule une difficulté.
Since that moment, I have loved the questions and the science ways which bring you to the unknown. My own Heart of Darkness.  By the way, nowadays, you have to seek deep before to find great questions. However, for those still aiming for fun, I hear that The Geometry of Biological Time, it is one of the greatest references using questions as argument.

And for that reason, I always have thought that having kids is the best way to innovate, to keeping oneself alive. And always coherent with my thoughts, I am the proud father of three; I am sure you agree with me that those are questions enough: children are also the gold mine of the questions.

Unfortunately, instead write down their questions, most of the time, parents and guardians jump directly to answer, the best, or to complain due to insistence of the wondering kids, the worse. We should mine them carefully, gathering each of their questions, tasting their learning, enjoying every of their wonders.

Knowledge is a matter of adults, and misknowledge a limitation of kids. Do know is so important that we lack the leaning process often, a critical skill in a dynamic society. Therefore, it was sad to find an orgy of answers in TheEdge: just one question per year, and many, too much, answers.

Hence we should honour Socrates, all times maieutics hero, searching for the questions.
Finally before to end, let me share with you one of the most beautiful questions I got, many time ago.

It was almost summer, and I was student in the Computer Science School. As part of my curricula there, I was learning about pseudorandom number generators, based on linear congruential generator, as a way to implement hash functions used by compilers to create symbol tables. I was following, the dragon´s book (Aho, Sethi and Ullman) one of the better references for the subject. And suddenly, it appeared in front of me: in order to avoid collision of the hash function, we should know:
What is the distribution of the primes numbers?
In spite of the interest of the answer, you should better believe me, finding the question was really great.

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