- Thursday, December 8, 2016 - 6:00pm to 7:00pm
- At Stanford
Hamiltonian Paths in Antiquity
About 1850, William Rowan Hamilton invented the Icosian Game, which involved finding a path that encounters all points of a network without retracing its steps. Variants of his game have turned out to be important in many modern computer applications.
Professor Donald Knuth will give evidence that people have been interested in such questions since at least Graeco-Roman times. Furthermore, ingenious Sanskrit and Arabic documents from the ninth century, and continuing through medieval times, also reveal that this is perhaps the oldest nontrivial combinatorial problem in the history of civilization.