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Topic: geometry & real life
Replies: 4   Last Post: Oct 1, 2009 8:45 AM

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Walter Whiteley

Posts: 418
Registered: 12/3/04
Re: geometry and real life
Posted: Sep 20, 2003 5:32 PM
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Almost every branch of engineering or science uses geometry
in a varitey of ways. Not to mention construction and various
industrial situtions. Geometry, and geometric reasoning
is at the heart of a lot of computer algorithms, which appear
to have nothing to do with spatial reasoning - algorithms for
scheduling airlines (linear and integer programming) .... .

When we understand space, and problem solving in space,
we use that metaphor and pattern to reason about other

It is true that machines can do a lot of calculations with
measured quantities - and we should not try to compete with
them in those skills. What we need to do is understand the
problem well enough to know what is worth measuring,
and what calculations will give an answer.

Let me close with a couple of 'real life' (at least real in my life)
problems I am working on these days:
(a) how can a cell phone company calculate where a cell
phone is, if someone dials 911 and then cannot give their
location? (It is a new legal requirement that they must be
able to do this.)
(b) how do you predict what parts of a protein move or are rigid?
Motions and rigidity of proteins are central to a number of diseases,
such as Mad Cow Disease (or cronic wasting disease which is
sweeping the western US and Canada); Cystic Fibrosis; drug
treatements for AIDS, ....
(c) What patterns of frameworks are rigid or flexible in 3-space?

Walter Whiteley

Nick Scott wrote:
> yea but billiards is common sense, i mean u dont take out a
> protractor(however you spell it) and measure the angle. the only thing
> you would use goemetry in is computer animation, and that gives you
> the measures anyway. so i think geometry is pointless.

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