Thursday, December 29, 2005

Erdös-Bacon Numbers

I learned from Julian of a wacky ego game: Erdös-Bacon Numbers. Your Bacon Number is how far you are from actor Kevin Bacon, in terms of co-starring chains. Your Erdös Number is how far you are from mathematician Paul Erdös in terms of co-authoring chains. Add the two together, and you get your super-elite Erdös-Bacon Number.

My one publication gives me a legitimate Erdös number of 4 (E. Veach, P. Agarwal, N. Alon, P. Erdös). If film crew could claim Bacon Numbers (doubtful), my Bacon Number would be 2. (Me and Tom Hanks in Toy Story 2, he and Kevin Bacon in Apollo 13).

Hence, a dubious Erdös-Bacon number of 6! The current record holders are at 5, so I rule! Or I would, if my Bacon Number weren't actually infinity.