Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Binary Trees and Football

Binary trees turn up in the most interesting places.

From the Daily Californian:

Kore Chan/Senior Staff, Daily Californian
On his dream: “I’d like to play football for the Pittsburgh Steelers.”
On playing offensive line: “Most people get lucky if they make five big decisions a day. We run 99 plays in a given game. It’s my job over the course of those 99 plays to call out a protection, call out a front and organize traffic. If I get that wrong, someone’s ribs gets broken, and someone goes to the hospital. For protections and calling out schemes, my track record is second to none. People call it pressure; I think it’s fun. You can think of your system algorithmically: If it’s a two by two with three down lineman, it’s this or this; if it’s three by one, you do this. Special case A, special case B. That’s what I think of when there’s eight men in the box. In my younger and more formidable years, I would say that (I suffered from paralysis by analysis.) Now, I actually think that thinking about it algorithmically like that makes it simpler. Most of time, it’s like a binary search tree: It’s either option A or option B. You go down a level: option A, option B. Whichever one it is, you make it and go.

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