Many years passed. I received my doctorate in Computer Science from the University of Illinois with a thesis in computational geometry, and found myself in a faculty position in Computer Science at the State University of New York, Stony Brook.

Jai-alai would have to wait awhile.
As an Assistant Professor, your efforts revolve around getting tenure.
Publish or perish isn't too far from the truth, but *what* you
publish makes a big difference.
I wouldn't have gotten tenure even if I had published 100 papers on jai-alai,
because this work wouldn't (and shouldn't) carry much respect
with the powers that be in academic computer science.

But six years later
I found myself a tenured *Associate* Professor of Computer Science.
Tenure gives you is the freedom to work on whatever
you want.
You have to teach your classes, and you have to do your committee work,
but otherwise what you do with your time is pretty much up to you.
If I wanted to devote a little effort to an interesting mathematical modeling
problem, well, nobody was going to stop me.

I hope you have enjoyed this excerpt from
Calculated Bets: Computers, Gambling, and Mathematical Modeling to
Win!, by Steven Skiena,
copublished by
Cambridge University Press
and the
Mathematical Association of America.
This is a book about a gambling system that works. It tells the story of how the author used computer simulation and mathematical modeling techniques to predict the outcome of jai-alai matches and bet on them successfully -- increasing his initial stake by over 500% in one year! His method can work for anyone: at the end of the book he tells the best way to watch jai-alai, and how to bet on it. With humor and enthusiasm, Skiena details a life-long fascination with the computer prediction of sporting events. Along the way, he discusses other gambling systems, both successful and unsuccessful, for such games as lotto, roulette, blackjack, and the stock market. Indeed, he shows how his jai-alai system functions just like a miniature stock trading system. Do you want to learn about program trading systems, the future of Internet gambling, and the real reason brokerage houses don't offer mutual funds that invest at racetracks and frontons? How mathematical models are used in political polling? The difference between correlation and causation? If you are curious about gambling and mathematics, odds are this is the book for you! |

2001-06-04