How to multiply small integers while <del>Markus</del> human

Accepted Session
Long Form
Scheduled: Wednesday, June 19, 2013 from 10:00 – 11:45am in B204


Thank you! I'm glad someone read the description of this talk on line and remembered to answer Aardvark -- if you hadn't done that, the excerpt wouldn't have actually been part of the talk, and the very fabric of reality could have been threatened!


We all know how to multiply, more or less. And we can all multiply small integers in our heads when the need arises, often even arriving at something resembling the correct answer. You might even think that there was nothing more to say about the topic.

But, as it turns out, these two facts are almost entirely unrelated, and the puzzling consequences of this meta-fact are just the sort of crack we need to pry open the door to one of the greatest mysteries of our time, expose software development’s dirty little secret (you know, the one which may well bring down our whole civilization), learn what makes people wealthy, and have a laugh or two in the process.

Time permitting, there will be a quiz at the end.

Note: while this is technically a continuation of last year’s talk (the gophers, go & golf-balls-plus-TNT one), I give you my word that people who saw that talk will not have an unfair advantage in understanding this one.

Speaking experience

Yes. I have been speaking for over 50 years, and it's mostly gone well. Like the proverbial stream you can't step into twice to get home again, I have never given the same talk before.