Monday, March 06, 2023

"Theorems" (to the tune of ' "Heroes" ', by David Bowie)

"Theorems" (to the tune of ' "Heroes" ', by David Bowie)

I, I will be pure
And you, you will use rigor
And nothing will take it away
We can show them, just for one day
We can prove theorems, just for one day

And you, you can have bounds
And I, I'll take infinite time
We're joint authors, and that is a fact
We're coauthors, and that is that
Mathematics'll keep us together
It will not be just for one day
We can prove theorems for ever and ever
What do you say?

I, I wish I could prove
Like my teachers, my teachers can prove
Though sometimes it's hard to keep it together
I can show them, for ever and ever
Oh I can prove Theorems, just for one day

I, I will be pure
And you, you will use rigor
And nothing will take it away
We can prove Theorems, just for one day
We can do it, just for one day

I, I can remember (I remember)
Standing, by the board (by the board)
Arguments, far above our heads (over our heads)
And we tried, and we were never ignored (never ignored)
Our mentors, were always on our side
Oh we can show them, for ever and ever
Then we could prove Theorems, just for one day

We can prove Theorems
We can prove Theorems
We can prove Theorems
Just for one day
We can prove Theorems

We're students, and nothing will help us
Maybe it's hopeless, then you better not stay
But we could graduate, maybe one day

Oh-oh-oh-ohh, oh-oh-oh-ohh, maybe one day?

Friday, February 10, 2023

"An Adaptive Bounded-Confidence Model of Opinion Dynamics on Networks "

An article of mine just appeared in final form a couple of days ago. Here are some details.

Title: An Adaptive Bounded-Confidence Model of Opinion Dynamics on Networks

Authors: Unchitta Kan, Michelle Feng, and Mason A. Porter

Abstract: Individuals who interact with each other in social networks often exchange ideas and influence each other’s opinions. A popular approach to study the spread of opinions on networks is by examining bounded-confidence models (BCMs), in which the nodes of a network have continuous-valued states that encode their opinions and are receptive to other nodes’ opinions when they lie within some confidence bound of their own opinion. In this article, we extend the Deffuant–Weisbuch (DW) model, which is a well-known BCM, by examining the spread of opinions that coevolve with network structure. We propose an adaptive variant of the DW model in which the nodes of a network can (1) alter their opinions when they interact with neighbouring nodes and (2) break connections with neighbours based on an opinion tolerance threshold and then form new connections following the principle of homophily. This opinion tolerance threshold determines whether or not the opinions of adjacent nodes are sufficiently different to be viewed as ‘discordant’. Using numerical simulations, we find that our adaptive DW model requires a larger confidence bound than a baseline DW model for the nodes of a network to achieve a consensus opinion. In one region of parameter space, we observe ‘pseudo-consensus’ steady states, in which there exist multiple subclusters of an opinion cluster with opinions that differ from each other by a small amount. In our simulations, we also examine the roles of early-time dynamics and nodes with initially moderate opinions for achieving consensus. Additionally, we explore the effects of coevolution on the convergence time of our BCM.

Saturday, February 04, 2023

The Dodgers are Finally Retiring Fernando Valenzuela's Uniform Number!

It took way too long, but the Los Angeles Dodgers announced today that they are finally retiring Fernando Valenzuela's uniform number. Given what Fernandro means to this franchise and this city, the team should have retired his number a very long time ago.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

"The Professional Road that I have Traveled (so far)"

I was asked to write about my career trajectory for DSWeb, so I wrote this short article, which officially has the generic title of "Professional Feature — Mason A. Porter".

I really like my concluding sentence: "I want my mentees to continue to do excellent mentorship and research, be warm and kind-hearted, and not take any crap from anyone."

Scott Rolen Elected to Baseball Hall of Fame!

Yesterday, Scott Rolen was elected to Baseball's Hall of Fame in his 6th year of eligibility. He and Fred McGriff (who was elected to the Hall of Fame by an era committee in December) will be officially inducted into the Hall this summer. I am very pleased that both Rolen and McGriff are now in the Hall of Fame!

Scott Rolen is eminently merits his election, and it's great that he got in after several years of rising vote counts. Todd Helton and Billy Wagner made huge gains this year and should be joining the Hall in 2024. Andruw Jones and Gary Sheffield also made huge gains, although Sheffield is in his last year of eligibility for election by the writers in 2024 and is likely to instead be elected later by an era committee. It now looks like Andruw Jones will likely be elected by the writers in the next few years (but probably not in 2024) after getting under 8% of the vote (!) in his first year of eligibility. Jeff Kent, who was in his 10th and final year of eligibility, surged to 46.5% of the vote and is likely to be elected later by an era committee. Carlos Beltrán debuted on the ballot with 46.5% of the vote (matching Kent). I expect that Beltrán will get up to the high 50s in 2024, have some chance (but unlikely) of election in 2025, and probably be elected in 2026.

A strong set of players is debuting on the Hall ballot for the 2024 cycle. This set of players is led by Adrián Beltré, who will surely be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Joe Mauer also is debuting on the ballot, but I think it will take 2 or 3 years (most likely 2, in my view) for him to get in. Chase Utley is also debuting in 2024. He'll make it eventually, but his counting stats don't stand out, so it's going to take a few years for him to get in (but I think that he will eventually.)

As in each of the past several years, I was closely tracking the Hall of Fame tracker during the past couple of months as writers released their ballots to the public.

Here is Jay Jaffe's recap of the voting results.

Here are some "way too early" predictions (from Bradford Doolittle David Schoenfield) of Hall of Fame results for the next few cycles. For the most part, my views are far closer to Schoenfield's than the Doolittle's.

Update (1/26/23): Jay Jaffe has written his annual ballot round-up of the candidates on this year's ballot.

Update (1/30/23): Jay Jaffe has written his 5-year Hall prognostication.

Tuesday, January 03, 2023

Sunday, January 01, 2023

"The Topology of Data"

Our introduction to a topological data analysis (TDA) for a general physics audience was published today in Physics Today. Here are some details.

Title: The Topology of Data

Authors: Mason A. Porter, Michelle Feng, and Eleni Katifori

Lede: Topological data analysis, which allows systematic investigations of the “shape” of data, has yielded fascinating insights into many physical systems.