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Peter M Higgins

Nets, Puzzles and Postmen

In Nets, Puzzles, and Postmen: An exploration of mathematical connectionsPeter M Higgins shows how the theory of networks has a surprisingly wide range of applications Furthermore that you don't need to be a professional mathematician to find out how to apply ideas from this theory to your everyday life.

Higgins is the inventor of Circular Sudoku, and the book looks at how to deal with this, and several other puzzles and games, in terms of networks. There is also a look at some of the more traditional problems of network theory. How many colours do you need to colour a map? If you have a network of roads, what is the best way from A to B? What if you want to make it into a one-way system?

One thing Higgins emphasises in the book is that recasting a problem into a different form may often be the best way of tackling it. For instance the problem of matching workers to suitable jobs may be recast as a problem of how much water can flow through a network of pipes.

If you're looking for a bit of light reading then I wouldn't really recommend this book, since to get best out of it you need to work through the examples and demonstrations which Higgins gives. On the other hand it isn't a textbook, and this is the sort of mathematics for which you don't need prior experience. I feel that it would suit anyone who is fairly keen on maths (or programming) and would like to find out about this useful subject. info
Hardcover 247 pages  
ISBN: 0199218420
Salesrank: 1472245
Published: 2008 Oxford University Press
Amazon price $42.32
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Hardcover 256 pages  
ISBN: 0199218420
Salesrank: 195118
Weight:0.97 lbs
Published: 2007 OUP Oxford
Marketplace:New from £5.35:Used from £0.01
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Hardcover 288 pages  
ISBN: 0199218420
Salesrank: 3815911
Weight:0.97 lbs
Published: 2007 Oxford University Press
Amazon price CDN$ 25.55
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 25.55:Used from CDN$ 3.68
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Product Description
What do road and railway systems, mingling at parties, mazes, family trees, and the internet all have in common? All are networks--either people or places or things that relate and connect to one another. In this stimulating book, Peter Higgins shows that these phenomena--and many more--all share the same deep mathematical structure.
The mathematics of networks form the basis of many fascinating puzzles and problems, from tic-tac-toe to circular sudoku. Higgins reveals that understanding networks can give us remarkable new insights into many of these puzzles as well as into a wide array of real-world phenomena. Higgins offers new perspectives on such familiar mathematical quandaries as the four-color map and the bridges of Konisberg. He poses the tantalizing question Can you walk through all the doors of the house just once? He also sheds light on the Postman Problem, a puzzle first posed by a Chinese mathematician: what is the most efficient way of delivering your letters, so you get back to your starting point without having traversed any street twice. And he explores the Harem Problem--a generalization of the Marriage Problem--in which we work out how to satisfy all members of a set of men who have expressed a wish for a harem of wives.
Only relatively recently have mathematicians begun to explore networks and connections, and their importance has taken everyone by surprise. Nets, Puzzles, and Postmen takes readers on a dazzling tour of this new field, in a book that will delight math buffs everywhere.