The Math behind NUMB3RS

The Math behind NUMB3RS is a detailed website by Wolfram Research that outlines the math used in the show Numb3rs. It even has references! I still may put together an OR guide to NUMB3RS since the NUMB3RS never seems to do justice on OR topics — pure math gets all the glory. For example, in Episode 401 (Trust Metric), Charlie applied set covering models to deploying police units. While the Numb3rs and Wolfram geeks did a great job explaining set covering, there are much more sophisticated and probabilistic approaches that would yield more useful results. I thought Dick Larson’s Hypercube model is worth a mention in the least (although the Hypercube model isn’t a set covering problem, it’s pretty nifty). Wolfram and/or NUMB3RS need OR geeks on board!

On an unrelated note, a Computer World article indicates that Dylan Bruno (who plays Colby on Numb3rs) is a real geek (BS in environmental engineering from MIT). The only OR star listed in the article is Dan Grimaldi (who played Patsy Parisi on The Sopranos) (MS in OR).


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