5
$\begingroup$

Over at MathOverflow the community accepts math puzzles, and in fact even has a couple tags devoted to them. Of course, puzzles can be illuminating when they require that one makes some creative observation or employ some particularly tricky technique. At the same time, puzzles can be distracting and wholey inappropriate in the landscape of a professional forum.

I think we should decide, before we see our first brain teaser, whether such puzzles are welcome here on CSTheory.

$\endgroup$
4
  • $\begingroup$ I think the cutting sticks problem is a reasonable example of a puzzle (cstheory.stackexchange.com/questions/709/…) and so I tagged it 'puzzles'. Thoughts ? $\endgroup$ Aug 28 '10 at 22:31
  • $\begingroup$ Seems like the consensus on puzzles is a resounding yes. Checking the link on that question reveals that it has in fact been asked as a puzzle on a variety of message boards. Seems like a decent example to me. $\endgroup$
    – Ross Snider
    Aug 28 '10 at 22:37
  • $\begingroup$ I'd also classify cstheory.stackexchange.com/questions/34/… as an example of recreational computer science. (And please don't take me wrong, I thing this is an excellent, truly brilliant question. I just happen to think that this is also a question that doesn't need any motivation, it is easy to state, and you could easily use it to tease your colleagues at dinner, etc.) $\endgroup$ Aug 29 '10 at 0:12
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ should we use 'puzzles' or 'recreational' ? the latter sounds more "serious" if that's even possible :) $\endgroup$ Aug 29 '10 at 3:28
6
$\begingroup$

I think they should be welcome! It's often the case that a puzzle illustrates some of the main ideas behind a whole area of research.

$\endgroup$
6
$\begingroup$

I think that questions related to "recreational computer science" are welcome. That is, it's perfectly fine if the problem that you are trying to solve doesn't have any applications, and it is fine if it sounds more like something for FUN than something for FOCS, as long as it is a good question. And I think that we have already seen examples of such questions.

Perhaps in future we could also try to have a CW thread like this, but the consensus seems to be that we have already too many CW questions, so let's wait a bit...

$\endgroup$
1
  • $\begingroup$ A CW thread like that would be interesting if the puzzles were restricted to be TCS puzzles, rather than math puzzles. $\endgroup$ Aug 30 '10 at 0:58
4
$\begingroup$

Not to mention that Peter Winkler does a puzzle column for the CACM: if it's good enough for the ACM, it's good enough for me :)

$\endgroup$

You must log in to answer this question.