Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Denumerable Markov Chains and disappeared opportunity

by Larry Geller

Google took me off into another dimension of time and space just now, as I was looking for something related to the Olympics (I found it, see next post, which of course will be above this one).

You know how sometimes strange and wonderful things just pop up while you are in the midst of a search? Well, what grabbed my attention was denumerable Markov chains.

There was a time when I could tell you what a Markov chain was. Something to do with random processes, I think, but I could be wrong. I doubt I ever heard of denumerable ones, though. And they have nothing whatsoever to do with the Olympics (I hope).

Now, it doesn’t matter what a Markov chain is at all. What I flashed on was that umpteen years ago, I had opportunities that opened up for me because I studied stuff like Markov chains. In New York City, even in pre-Google years, even in high school, it was possible to at least bump into Markov chains. Try that here in Hawaii! Ha!

Those opportunities probably don’t exist here. People complain about the educational system, and I’m sure that they are right.

Back in New York even in the ‘50s and ‘60s, there were specialized high schools. I went to Stuyvesant. Going on to college, there was no need for remedial classes for Stuyvesant grads, generally we could skip some courses. Some students got to skip their entire freshman year in exchange for taking some exams. Those high schools were that good.

Hawaii in 2010 still has no Bronx Science, no Stuyvesant, no Art & Design. Hawaii’s school children are missing opportunity. They are being cheated big time.

We could reinvent our schools. It doesn’t have to be a copy of New York’s model, but we could do something. If we cared. That’s the part that I haven’t come to terms with. The If We Cared part.


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