Exponentials: Epidemics, Cryptography, Forest Fires, AI

Develop an intuition for the power of exponential growth by investigating examples as diverse as Ponzi schemes, spread of forest fires, length of passwords and cryptography, virus multiplication, AI and the singularity.

The  SARS-CoV-2 virus pandemic's exponential growth has already changed the  world we live in. It took 67 days to reach 100,000 cases; the next  100,000 cases took just 11 days, and the third 100,000 cases took 4  days. Most of us find it hard to appreciate and predict such a rapid  rate of growth at the initial stages, because it is intuitively  difficult to understand the power of the exponential.

But  exponential growth isn't limited to just viruses. We can find it  everywhere in life. This is the same reason why a student studying less  than an hour a day for a very long time is often far more successful  than a student studying 16-hours per day just before the exams. This is  also the reason why compound interest over a long time on small savings  will result in a fortune.

This course will help students develop an intuition for the power of  exponential growth by investigating examples as diverse as Ponzi  schemes, spread of forest fires, length of passwords and cryptography,  virus multiplication, AI and the singularity.

In  the final part of the course, students will learn about different  techniques to slow exponential growth (or ‘bend the curve’) - for example, how one can slow down the spread of a virus.

Learn more about our expert course facilitator, Navin Kabra, here.