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Minding the Planet

Nova on target as ever:

Today I found a very cool project at AT&T Research, a search engine for number sequences.

Just enter a series of integers and it will return any formulas or theorems related to them. I tried a whole slew of exotic sequences -- like the prime gaps, series of prime gaps of different sizes, results of various operations on prime series, etc., and it returned known formulas for almost all of them. Very cool.

Now here's why this is so cool -- It enables potential breakthrough discoveries in both mathematics and science. For example, suppose you are studying a particular system and using a sensor you take a series of measurements. Simply plug that series of numbers into the number sequence search engine and it will seek to find number sequences that match and any related mathematical knowledge. If you find a match that means you've discovered the underlying laws that govern the system you are studying.

The same is true for mathematical discoveries -- for example using this system it might be possible to discover bridges between different fields of mathematics -- new theorems and mappings.

It would be cool if this system had an API that enabled rapid queries of number sequences from applications such as sensors, experimental setups, and analytical systems.

Follow me on Twitter: @IanYorston

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