[r-t] Bobs only Stedman Triples

Alexander Holroyd holroyd at math.ubc.ca
Thu Jun 28 12:15:54 UTC 2012

On Mon, 25 Jun 2012, edward martin wrote:

> They certainly are an amazing discovery;but  the achievement was
> surely figuring out how to programme a computer to look for them and
> then having the expertise in knowing how to make use of what the
> computer had found...no perhaps you are right an amazing achievement

I don't know where this idea came from, but if I've understood correctly 
it is quite wrong.

As Philip pointed out, the computer-assisted part was finding the two 
different 10-part structures (the two blocks of Johnson's 10-part and the 
single 10-part block that cannot be joined by ordinary q-sets).  This was 
done 17 years ago, and the blocks have been public knowledge ever since 
(and in any case it is a very standard search taking only minutes on 
modern hardware).

Given that knowledge, the rest was pure brain power (and very innovative 
and interesting).

Possibly Andrew used a computer to confirm that the list of 148 extents 
was exhaustive, but this could also be done by hand - the computer search 
would be just a slightly quicker and less error-prone check.


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