Monday, November 27, 2017

The Golay Code via Witt’s Construction

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 2:08 PM


Hansen, Robert Peter, "Construction and Simplicity of
the Large Mathieu Groups" (2011). Master's Theses. 4053. 

See also The Matrix Meets the Grid (Log24, Nov. 24).
More generally, see SPLAG in this journal.

Friday, November 24, 2017

The Matrix Meets the Grid

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 2:00 PM

The Matrix —

  The Grid —

  Picturing the Witt Construction

     "Read something that means something." — New Yorker  ad

Thursday, November 16, 2017

A Line at Infinity

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 12:00 PM

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Art and Space…

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 6:00 AM

Continues, in memory of chess grandmaster Viktor Korchnoi,
who reportedly died at 85 yesterday in Switzerland —

IMAGE- Spielfeld (1982-83), by Wolf Barth

The coloring of the 4×4 "base" in the above image
suggests St. Bridget's cross.

From this journal on St. Bridget's Day this year —

"Possible title: 

A new graphic approach 
to an old geometric approach
to a new combinatorial approach
to an old algebraic approach
to M24

The narrative leap from image to date may be regarded as
an example of "knight's move" thinking.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016


Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — m759 @ 12:00 PM

"Studies of spin-½ theories in the framework of projective geometry
have been undertaken before." — Y. Jack Ng  and H. van Dam
February 20, 2009

For one such framework,* see posts from that same date 
four years earlier — February 20, 2005.

* A 4×4 array. See the 19771978, and 1986 versions by 
Steven H. Cullinane,   the 1987 version by R. T. Curtis, and
the 1988 Conway-Sloane version illustrated below —

Cullinane, 1977

IMAGE- Hypercube and 4x4 matrix from the 1976 'Diamond Theory' preprint, as excerpted in 'Computer Graphics and Art'

Cullinane, 1978

Cullinane, 1986

Curtis, 1987

Update of 10:42 PM ET on Sunday, June 19, 2016 —

The above images are precursors to

Conway and Sloane, 1988

Update of 10 AM ET Sept. 16, 2016 — The excerpt from the
1977 "Diamond Theory" article was added above.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Subjective Quality

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 6:01 AM

The previous post deals in part with a figure from the 1988 book
Sphere Packings, Lattices and Groups , by J. H. Conway and
N. J. A. Sloane.

Siobhan Roberts recently wrote a book about the first of these
authors, Conway.  I just discovered that last fall she also had an
article about the second author, Sloane, published:

"How to Build a Search Engine for Mathematics,"
Nautilus , Oct 22, 2015.

Meanwhile, in this  journal

Log24 on that same date, Oct. 22, 2015 —

Roberts's remarks on Conway and later on Sloane are perhaps
examples of subjective  quality, as opposed to the objective  quality
sought, if not found, by Alexander, and exemplified by the
above bijection discussed here  last October.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Sunday Appetizer from 1984

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 2:00 PM

Judith Shulevitz in The New York Times
on Sunday, July 18, 2010
(quoted here Aug. 15, 2010) —

“What would an organic Christian Sabbath look like today?”

The 2015 German edition of Beautiful Mathematics ,
a 2011 Mathematical Association of America (MAA) book,
was retitled Mathematische Appetithäppchen —
Mathematical Appetizers . The German edition mentions
the author's source, omitted in the original American edition,
for his section 5.17, "A Group of Operations" (in German,
5.17, "Eine Gruppe von Operationen") —  

Mathematische Appetithäppchen:
Faszinierende Bilder. Packende Formeln. Reizvolle Sätze

Autor: Erickson, Martin —

"Weitere Informationen zu diesem Themenkreis finden sich
unter http://​www.​encyclopediaofma​th.​org/​index.​php/​
und http://​finitegeometry.​org/​sc/​gen/​coord.​html ."

That source was a document that has been on the Web
since 2002. The document was submitted to the MAA
in 1984 but was rejected. The German edition omits the
document's title, and describes it as merely a source for
"further information on this subject area."

The title of the document, "Binary Coordinate Systems,"
is highly relevant to figure 11.16c on page 312 of a book
published four years after the document was written: the 
1988 first edition of Sphere Packings, Lattices and Groups
by J. H. Conway and N. J. A. Sloane —

A passage from the 1984 document —

Monday, February 1, 2016

Historical Note

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 6:29 AM

Possible title

A new graphic approach 
to an old geometric approach
to a new combinatorial approach
to an old algebraic approach
to M24

Thursday, January 8, 2015


Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 11:00 AM


From the abstract of a talk, "Extremal Lattices," at TU Graz
on Friday, Jan. 11, 2013, by Prof. Dr. Gabriele Nebe
(RWTH Aachen) —

"I will give a construction of the extremal even
unimodular lattice Γ of dimension 72  I discovered
in summer 2010. The existence of such a lattice
was a longstanding open problem. The
construction that allows to obtain the
minimum by computer is similar to the one of the
Leech lattice from E8 and of the Golay code from
the Hamming code (Turyn 1967)."

On an earlier talk by Nebe at Oberwolfach in 2011 —

"Exciting new developments were presented by
Gabriele Nebe (Extremal lattices and codes ) who
sketched the construction of her recently found
extremal lattice in 72 dimensions…."

Nebe's Oberwolfach slides include one on 
"The history of Turyn's construction" —

Nebe's list omits the year 1976. This was the year of
publication for "A New Combinatorial Approach to M24"
by R. T. Curtis, the paper that defined Curtis's 
"Miracle Octad Generator."

Turyn's 1967 construction, uncredited by Curtis,
was the basis for Curtis's octad-generator construction.

See Turyn in this journal.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Finite Relativity

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — m759 @ 11:00 AM


Anyone tackling the Raumproblem  described here
on Feb. 21, 2014 should know the history of coordinatizations
of the 4×6 Miracle Octad Generator (MOG) array by R. T. Curtis
and J. H. Conway. Some documentation:

The above two images seem to contradict a statement by R. T. Curtis
in a 1989 paper.  Curtis seemed in that paper to be saying, falsely, that
his original 1973 and 1976 MOG coordinates were those in array M below—

This seemingly false statement involved John H. Conway's supposedly
definitive and natural canonical coordinatization of the 4×6 MOG
array by the symbols for the 24 points of the projective line over GF(23)—
{∞, 0, 1, 2, 3… , 21, 22}:

An explanation of the apparent falsity in Curtis's 1989 paper:

By "two versions of the MOG" Curtis seems to have meant merely that the
octads , and not the projective-line coordinates , in his earlier papers were
mirror images of the octads  that resulted later from the Conway coordinates,
as in the images below.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Three Constructions of the Miracle Octad Generator

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — m759 @ 12:24 PM

IMAGE- Two constructions, by Turyn/Curtis, and by Conway, of the Miracle Octad Generator

See also a Log24 post on this subject from Dec. 14, 2013,
especially (scroll down) the update of March 9, 2014.

Related material on the Turyn-Curtis construction
from the University of Cambridge —

— Slide by “Dr. Parker” — Apparently Richard A. Parker —
Lecture 4, “Discovering M24,” in slides for lectures 1-8 from lectures
at Cambridge in 2010-2011 on “Sporadic and Related Groups.”
See also the Parker lectures of 2012-2013 on the same topic.

A third construction of Curtis’s 35  4×6  1976 MOG arrays would use
Cullinane’s analysis of the 4×4 subarrays’ affine and projective structure,
and point out the fact that Conwell’s 1910 correspondence of the 35
4+4-partitions of an 8-set with the 35 lines of the projective 3-space
over the 2-element field, PG(3, 2), is essentially the same correspondence
as that constituting Curtis’s 1976 MOG.

See The Diamond Theorem,  Finite RelativityGalois Space,
Generating the Octad Generator, and The Klein Correspondence.

Update of March 22-March 23 —

Adding together as (0,1)-matrices over GF(2) the black parts (black
squares as 1’s, all other squares as 0’s) of the 35  4×6 arrays of the 1976
Curtis MOG would then reveal*  the symmetric role played in octads
by what Curtis called the heavy brick , and so reveal also the action of
S3 on the three Curtis bricks that leaves invariant the set of all 759
octads of the S(5, 8, 24) constructed from the 35  MOG arrays.  For more
details of this “by-hand” construction, see Geometry of the 4×4 Square.
For the mathematical properties of the S(5, 8, 24), it is convenient to
have a separate construction,  not  by hand (such as Turyn’s), of the
extended binary Golay code. See the Brouwer preprint quoted above.

* “Then a miracle occurs,” as in the classic 1977 Sidney Harris cartoon.

Illustration of array addition from March 23 —

IMAGE- Discovery of the S_3 action on bricks in the Conwell-Cullinane 'by-hand' approach to octad-building

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Beautiful Mathematics

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — m759 @ 7:59 PM

The title, which I dislike, is taken from a 2011 publication
of the MAA, also sold by Cambridge University Press.

Some material relevant to the title adjective:

"For those who have learned something of higher mathematics, nothing could be more natural than to use the word 'beautiful' in connection with it. Mathematical beauty, like the beauty of, say, a late Beethoven quartet, arises from a combination of strangeness and inevitability. Simply defined abstractions disclose hidden quirks and complexities. Seemingly unrelated structures turn out to have mysterious correspondences. Uncanny patterns emerge, and they remain uncanny even after being underwritten by the rigor of logic."— Jim Holt, opening of a book review in the Dec. 5, 2013, issue of The New York Review of Books

Some relevant links—

The above list was updated on Jan. 31, 2014, to include the
"Strangeness" and "Hidden quirks" links.  See also a post of
​Jan. 31, 2014.

Update of March 9, 2014 —

The link "Simply defined abstractions" is to the construction of the Steiner
system S(5, 8, 24) described by R. T. Curtis in his 1976 paper defining the
Miracle Octad Generator. It should be noted that this construction is due
to Richard J. Turyn, in a 1967 Sylvania research report. (See Emily Jennings's
talk of 1 Nov. 2012.) Compare  the Curtis construction, written in 1974,
with the Turyn construction of 1967 as described in Sphere Packings, Lattices
and Groups , by J. H. Conway and N. J. A. Sloane (first published in 1988).

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Wednesday November 30, 2005

Filed under: Uncategorized — m759 @ 1:00 AM

For St. Andrew’s Day

The miraculous enters…. When we investigate these problems, some fantastic things happen….”

— John H. Conway and N. J. A. Sloane, Sphere Packings, Lattices and Groups, preface to first edition (1988)

The remarkable Mathieu group M24, a group of permutations on 24 elements, may be studied by picturing its action on three interchangeable 8-element “octads,” as in the “Miracle Octad Generator” of R. T. Curtis.

A picture of the Miracle Octad Generator, with my comments, is available online.

 Cartoon by S.Harris

Related material:
Mathematics and Narrative.

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