Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Maybe there's hope for theory after all...

Conversation had by your humble blogger in a taxicab:

Driver: So where are you from ?
Humble blogger: From India
D: Ah, so are you a student (this was in Philadelphia) ?
HB: No, I work here, at AT&T
D: Oh, so what do you do ?
HB: I'm a computer scientist...
D: So do you do programming ?
HB: Not exactly, I do research. It's slightly more mathematically oriented.
D: Oh, so you mean algorithms ?
HB (slightly surprised): Yes, actually. That's right.
D: All this P vs NP stuff ?
HB (even more amazed): Yes, that kind of stuff.
D: Yeah, you know some years ago, three Indians showed how to find prime numbers efficiently.
HB (at this point on the edge of his seat): Yup ! So do you have a computer science background ?
D: Yes, I took a class at Brooklyn College

.... some time later....

D: I liked the algorithms class. The instructor was tough, but I passed. I really liked converting NFAs to DFAs; I remember standing in front of a blackboard at 2 in the morning.
HB: (at this point I have nothing more to say, except to congratulate him on his knowledge).

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