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8
votes
8answers
606 views

Counterintuitive results for undergraduates

I am looking for examples of results which go against people's intuition for a general audience talk. Results which if asked from non-experts "what does your intuition tell you?", almost all would get ...
-1
votes
1answer
172 views

Why study type theory?

After reading the literature on type theory (especially the constructive kind - CTT) I'm left wondering "why" should one study type theory, specifically within the confines of "computing" in general? ...
1
vote
3answers
352 views

Why is lambda calculus so “function” oriented?

I've always had this question nagging at me subconsciously but have never been able to intuitively grasp it. Why does $\lambda$-calculus have a functional notation? Why is everything a function? It ...
5
votes
3answers
155 views

What is the relationship between intuitionistic logic, combinatory logic and lambda calculus?

I've been reading Lectures on the Curry-Howard Isomorphism and it talks about intuitionistic/constructive logic (IL) , combinatory logic (CL) and lambda calculus ($\lambda$c) before moving on to the ...
12
votes
1answer
293 views

Why was Schönfinkel's work on eliminating “bound variables” in logic so crucial?

AFAIK, The first evidence of using higher order functions goes back to Schönfinkel's 1924 paper: "On the Building Blocks of Mathematical Logic" - where he allowed one to pass functions as ...
8
votes
2answers
557 views

How exactly does lambda calculus capture the intuitive notion of computability?

I've been trying to wrap my head around the what, why and how of $\lambda$-calculus but I'm unable to come to grips with "why does it work"? "Intuitively" I get the computability model of Turing ...
7
votes
4answers
321 views

Explaining computer science algorithms/concepts/ideas using metaphors

Recently I found an interesting algorithm book entitled 'Explaining Algorithms Using Metaphors' (Google books) by Michal Forišek and Monika Steinová. "Good" metaphors help people understand and even ...
6
votes
1answer
338 views

Would an optimal sorting network ever have to swap two numbers the “wrong” way

Intuitively it seems like an optimal (either minimum depth or minimum gates) sorting network should never have to compare-swap two numbers the "wrong" way (such that the larger one goes into the ...
13
votes
1answer
318 views

Splay tree potential function: why sum the logs of the sizes?

I'm teaching a course on data structures and will be covering splay trees early next week. I've read the paper on splay trees many times and am familiar with the analysis and intuition behind the data ...
2
votes
2answers
112 views

How are PCPs and ZKPs related?

I only have a (very) introductory knowledge about the Hardness of Approximation and PCP theorem, and I am wondering if it has any specific implications (or can somehow be studied) with Zero Knowledge ...
1
vote
1answer
593 views

Primal vs dual decomposition methods

I noticed that dual decomposition methods tend to be preferred over primal ones in the large scale optimization literature (here are some examples: (1), (2)). The reason seems to be, from what I ...
2
votes
1answer
346 views

An intuitive justification - Metric Embedding Based Approximation Algorithms

Recently, I started (independent) learning of the theory of metric embeddings from the Fall 2003 course offered at CMU . I had a very basic question from the very first lecture of this course ...
12
votes
5answers
974 views

Why doesn't P=NP imply P=AP (i.e. P=PSPACE)?

It is well known that if $\mathbf{P}=\mathbf{NP}$ then the polynomial hierarchy collapses and $\mathbf{P}=\mathbf{PH}$. This can easily be understood inductively using oracle machines. The question ...
25
votes
6answers
1k views

How do you get a “Physical Intuition” for results in TCS?

I'm sorry if this question is a little vague, but I am curious how successful researchers get a "feel" for the results in TCS. For example, linear algebra can be understood geometrically, or in terms ...