Thursday, December 02, 2004

a simple problem

My first blog post. Wonder if anyone will read.
I live on Long Island and work in Manhattan (for Liquidnet, a pretty kick-ass company). As this winter has been pretty warm New York felt quite a bit like Seattle (I lived there for 4 years): wet and overcast. All this wetness created the following problem: umbrellas. Well, umbrellas themselves are not the problem, but having one always available is. Of course, some people solved this by having a super-tiny umbrella that they can always carry around. But the recent rains have been accompanied by quite a bit or wind, so I need my Giant Umbrella. That said, the question is where shold I keep it. If I keep it at home and it rains on the way back from work I am screwed and vice versa. What about keeping 2 umbrellas: one at home and one at work? That should work ( and working at Liquidnet one can afford at least two umbrellas :). But this scheme would require always insuring that both locations are umbrella-equipped, which may require me to shuttle my Giant Umbrella next time I go back to the location after the rain forced me to take the umbrella from there. Since this shuttling may be occuring on an obviously sunny day it will shock my co-passengers on Long Island Rail Road, an effect I try to avoid having on people. Solution? More umbrellas! What if I have, say, a 100 umbrellas at each location? Assuming random distribution of rain activity what should happen is that for every umbrella I take from location A to B due to rain I should eventually take one from B back to A. Actually as I thought about this I realized that this is another reincarnation of the Random Walk problem. This final realization is really the reason I am posting this garbage: the moral of the story is that complicated mathematics is all around us, if we only think a little harder.


At April 19, 2007 at 11:06 AM, Blogger splouie said...

I actually enjoyed your thoughts on the random walk theory.

Anyway, what is Liquidnet? and why is it such a kick ass place to work? Never hear anyone talk about their employer this way.


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