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Math

Submission + - The algorithms of Elevators (wsj.com)

McGruber writes: The Wall Street Journal has an article about Theresa Christy (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324469304578143200385871618.html), a mathematician who develops algorithms for Otis Elevator Company (http://www.otisworldwide.com/), the world's largest manufacturer and maintainer of people-moving products including elevators, escalators and moving walkways.

As an Otis research fellow, Ms. Christy writes strings of code that allow elevators to do essentially the greatest good for the most people—including the building's owner, who has to allocate considerable space for the concrete shafts that house the cars. Her work often involves watching computer simulation programs that replay elevator decision-making. "I feel like I get paid to play videogames. I watch the simulation, and I see what happens, and I try to improve the score I am getting," she says.

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The algorithms of Elevators

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"Today's robots are very primitive, capable of understanding only a few simple instructions such as 'go left', 'go right', and 'build car'." --John Sladek

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