TY - JOUR
T1 - Science and Culture: Solving a math problem to create art
JF - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
JO - Proc Natl Acad Sci USA
SP - 14873
LP - 14874
DO - 10.1073/pnas.1617584113
VL - 113
IS - 52
AU - Ornes, Stephen
Y1 - 2016/12/27
UR - http://www.pnas.org/content/113/52/14873.abstract
N2 - Mathematician Robert Bosch never intended to become an artist. But 15 years ago, he started looking for ways to engage his students in optimization research, his field of expertise.Robert Bosch's optimization artworks have included a rendering of the Mona Lisa, which he starts by identifying the points or “cities” (Left) through which the Traveling Salesman route will run (Right). Original image courtesy of Shutterstock/Oleg Golovnev and modifications by Robert Bosch.Optimization is the mathematical quest for the best way to do something, from finding the shortest distance between two places to figuring out the best way to pack a suitcase. It often involves calculating the highest or lowest value of something. The applications are far-reaching. To Bosch, they also offered a pleasing aesthetic. “I wanted to convince my students that this material I teach is beautiful and incredibly applicable,” says Bosch, who teaches at Oberlin College in Ohio. “My mission was to show them that pretty much any field you could think of has optimization applications.”So Bosch went looking for examples in areas that seem as far from mathematics as one can get. He settled on visual art. There may not be any obvious overlap between the two pursuits, but Bosch figured that if he could show his students how optimization methods could produce art, then maybe he could convince them the field is applicable almost anywhere. “It became an obsession,” …
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