The Travelling Salesman

Ontario has 413 uniquely named municipalities comprising 99.3% of its total population of 13,448,494 (2016). Suppose you wanted to visit each of them in your jet-powered helicopter starting from Toronto. What order of cities results in the shortest total path? This is variation on the classic travelling salesman problem (TSP) that has intrigued and bedevilled computational mathematicians for years. It is the rare mathematical challenge that is understandable by everyone and yet efforts to solve it have involved computer science, complexity theory, optimization theory and linear programming and influenced fields as diverse as logistics, genetics, manufacturing, telecommunications, astronomy, and neuroscience. [Read More]

Where Do Refugees Go?

Hint: It's Not North America

Imagine you’ve been forced from your home and country for fear for your life. Unbeknownst to you you are joining twenty million fellow travellers in a quest for safety. You quickly realize that you have three choices. Join a UNHCR sponsored refugee camp where you will be sheltered and fed but usually not allowed to work for fear of driving down domestic wages - living a life on hold. Live in urban areas without support and work illegally and potentially face exploitation. [Read More]

Is it Windy Outside?

Or, What's Up With The Great Lakes Image?

NOTE: The blog header image has been replaced by Clifford attractors. A static archived wind map can be seen here My earlier experience with Wordpress made me think there had to be a better way to do simple, reliable sites online. A blog is static, meaning everyone sees the same content. Yihui Xie from RStudio created what for my needs is a better way to host content - blogdown. The web is built with HTML, Javascript and css. [Read More]

Visualizing Population Change

The Slope Graph

Every time I’ve visited Newfoundland and Labrador I’ve loved it. So, when I hear about the shrinking of small towns there my ears perk up. I thought it would be interesting to visualize the change in communities of all size across all provinces between 2001 and 2016. There are many ways to look at this, here are two. In this post I use the term “city” and “community” interchangeably. First, a table. [Read More]