Real Applications of Non-Real Numbers

Speaker  Alex Lubotzky

Host  Yael Kalai

Affiliation  Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Duration  00:58:01

Date recorded  10 October 2012

The system of real numbers are defined mathematically as a "completion' of the rational numbers. But this is not the only way to do it! In fact there are infinitely many others completions- the so called "p-adic numbers". These numbers were defined for pure mathematical reasons and have been a subject of research for a century. But in the last 3 decades they have found 'real world' applications in computer science, construction of networks, algorithms etc. We will try to tell the story in a way which hopefully will make sense also to non-mathematicians.

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