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The Rose Acacia (1995)
Ralph P. Boas, Jr.

Contributed by Arturo Magidin, UNAM, Mexico

"A computer makes a deal with the devil, with the usual escape clause: if it can ask a question the devil cannot answer, the computer gets the information for free. As the devil puts it, no logical paradoxes, no infinite tasks, no undecidable propositions, no solutions of unsolved problems are allowed. So the computer in the end asks for a display of the exact number of terms required to compute the sum of a particular infinite series to two decimal places. The series was
sum_{n=2}^{infty} (1/(n log(n(log log(n))^2))
The number needed is 10^{87}."

Appears in the collection Lion Hunting and Other Mathematical Pursuits.

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Works Similar to The Rose Acacia
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. I of Newton by Joe Haldeman
  2. The Devil and Simon Flagg by Arthur Porges
  3. The Devil a Mathematician Would Be by A.J. Lohwater
  4. The Dark Lord by Patricia Simpson
  5. The Devil You Don't by Keith Laumer
  6. E-Z Calculus [Calculus by Discovery] by Douglas Downing
  7. The Parrot's Theorem by Denis Guedj
  8. The Number Devil (Der Zahlenteufel) by Hans Magnus Enzensberger
  9. The Gnome and the Pearl of Wisdom: A Fable by Richard Willmott
  10. A Foundation in Wisdom by Robert Loyd Watson
Ratings for The Rose Acacia:
RatingsHave you seen/read this work of mathematical fiction? Then click here to enter your own votes on its mathematical content and literary quality or send me comments to post on this Webpage.
Mathematical Content:
4/5 (2 votes)
Literary Quality:
2.5/5 (2 votes)

GenreFantasy, Didactic,
TopicComputers/Cryptography, Analysis/Calculus/Differential, Real Mathematics,
MediumShort Stories,

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(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)