Old Code & Large Numbers

6 April 2015

Found an old passive ag­gres­sive (or maybe just aggressive) letter of mine that was pub­lished in an Aus­tralian science mag­a­zine for teens called Double Helix.

Hor­ri­ble photo. It in­cludes code, in BASIC. Num­bered lines. There is a “clear screen” command though I seem to have avoided GOTO.

Not really related, but while looking through Wikipedia for more in­for­ma­tion on this problem (it’s an an example of a Tag System), I came across some fascinating ex­am­ples of con­jec­tures that have ex­tremely large (numeric) counter-examples. (i.e. con­jec­tures re­sis­tant to computer-derived counter-examples, and common sense.)

They are:

Scott Aaron­son has an in­trigu­ing blog post on the biggest number you can write down in 15 seconds using stan­dard math notation.

See also Graham’s number.