xkcd: Web Comics for Smart Masses

• D H
In summary, the comic strip has a scientist sniping a normal person. The scientist solves a problem using a discrete Fourier transform and ohm's law. The normal person can't solve the same problem using a simple superposition, and engineers use a different expression that enables Mathematica to yield the correct answer.

D H

Staff Emeritus
From "xkcd.com"[/URL] :

[ATTACH=full]120592[/ATTACH]

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• nerd_sniping.png
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Is it 0.916333... ohms?

Damn, I missed dinner!

Gokul43201 said:
Is it 0.916333... ohms?

Damn, I missed dinner!

How did you get that? I think that to solve such problems (where a simple superposition doesn't give you the answer), a discrete Fourier transform is required, and then the final integral which gives the resistance looks very tricky.

D H: 4 points (or is it 2 and 1, for the engineer? :tongue:)

At least three points, since I made Gokul miss dinner.

This http://arxiv.org/abs/cond-mat/9909120" [Broken], question 10) uses a different expression and that enables Mathematica to yield $(8-\pi)/(2\pi)\approx0.773$ ohms.

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D H said:
This http://arxiv.org/abs/cond-mat/9909120" [Broken] (see appendix A) gives an absolute mess.

The article uses the same principle of taking the Fourier transform and applying ohm's law. The integral one gets after the Fourier transform is (eqn 25 in the article)

$$\frac{1}{4 \pi^2} \int_{-\pi}^{\pi} \int_{-\pi}^{\pi} \left( \frac{1-\cos(2x+y)}{2-\cos{x} - \cos{y}} \right) dx dy$$.

I'm at home and don't have access to an integrator. Does anyone have access to a math package that evaluates this integral, or a way to find the value? Does it come out as $(8-\pi)/(2\pi)\approx0.773$?

Mathworld seems to have used some substitution in its expression.

EDIT: Nevermind. They've apparently used a contour integral and then a substitution. It's there in appendix A, which I missed the first time.

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The difference between a normal person and a scientist:

D H said:
The difference between a normal person and a scientist:

:rofl:

That's actually a normal person and Homer Simpson => Homer = Scientist??

siddharth said:
How did you get that? I think that to solve such problems (where a simple superposition doesn't give you the answer), a discrete Fourier transform is required, and then the final integral which gives the resistance looks very tricky.
I actually did use a superposition - I don't know why it fails! =(

I haven't yet looked at the article posted by D H.

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It's funny how this thread turned into a discussion about the problem in the comic strip rather than the humour about it.

Oerg said:
It's funny how this thread turned into a discussion about the problem in the comic strip rather than the humour about it.

It just proves the first sketch of the comic strip. Nerd sniping in action.

D H said:
From "xkcd.com"[/URL] :

[/QUOTE]
A friend of mine finished school some years ago with a BS in physics and immediately chucked it all to become a lawyer. After seeing this Nerd Sniping XKCD strip I sent it to him on a workday to see if he was truly a lawyer or if he would be sniped, along with with full disclosure of my intentions. Couple days later I checked back, sure enough, four billable hours went down the drain. :devil: Good thing he wasn't standing in the road.

BTW, engineer's solution: assume the infinite grid looks like a short to anyone node except for the four resistors directly attached into the node. The parallel resistance into the node then is 1/4 ohm and therefore the resistance between any two, non-adjacent nodes is 1/2 ohm. With actual (cheap) 20% resistors that's close enough to the actual (.7xx is it?)

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The resistance betweeb any two horizontally or vertically adjacent nodes is exactly 1/2 ohms. The resistance between nodes further apart than that is not. That 20% fudge on top of 0.5 ohms yields 0.6 ohms, not 0.773 ohms. Its even worse for nodes further apart than that.

Why don't you try working out the answer for nodes separated by two diagonal hops?

D H said:
The resistance betweeb any two horizontally or vertically adjacent nodes is exactly 1/2 ohms. The resistance between nodes further apart than that is not. That 20% fudge on top of 0.5 ohms yields 0.6 ohms, not 0.773 ohms.
Yes, ok, I'll have to make clear I'm using really cheap resistors when I go for the Google interview.

Its even worse for nodes further apart than that.

Why don't you try working out the answer for nodes separated by two diagonal hops?
Think I'll code up a quick sim for fun.

1. What is "xkcd"?

"xkcd" is a popular webcomic created by Randall Munroe in 2005. It features stick-figure drawings and humorous commentary on a wide range of topics, including science, technology, and popular culture.

2. Who is Randall Munroe?

Randall Munroe is the creator of "xkcd." He is a former NASA roboticist and computer programmer who left his job to focus on the webcomic full-time. He is known for his clever and often nerdy sense of humor.

3. How often is "xkcd" updated?

"xkcd" is typically updated three times a week, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. However, the update schedule may vary depending on Munroe's other projects and commitments.

4. Are all "xkcd" comics about science?

No, while "xkcd" does frequently cover scientific topics, it also features comics on a wide range of other subjects, such as relationships, politics, and everyday life. However, many of the comics do have a scientific or intellectual angle.

5. Can I use "xkcd" comics for educational purposes?

Yes, "xkcd" is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License, which allows for non-commercial use of the comics as long as credit is given to the creator. Many teachers and professors have used "xkcd" comics in their lessons to engage students and illustrate complex concepts.