Friday, December 5, 2008

Scrabble in Research

Have finally found a way to describe my research area to 8 year olds. If they know about Scrabble that is. Essentially I work on proving extension theorems about weights on ring linear codes. If one really simplifies this you can think of it as follows. Think of the words we make in scrabble as being codewords, out of the set of possible combinations of the letters only some of them are actually words. Every letter has a score assosciated with it, usually on the letter tile. If we call this the weight of the letter and the total score (neglecting any triple-letter-score bonuses etc) we call the weight of the word. Then the possible scores that we can attatch to the letters and the repercussions of these changes are essentially what I work on. Not much help in real scrabble though! Of course the alphabets I use are different, the rules for making 'valid' words must have certain properties and there are infinitely many of each letter in the imaginary scrabble bag.

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