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Jun 8 / kkrizka

Are You A Shark Or Dolphin?

One of the things that has been keeping me busy the last week is preparing for the SFU Open House, which was last Saturday. My tasks was to help prepare an “Images of SFU Physics” computer KIOSK with pictures and movies of some topics being worked on in the SFU department. You can see the entire thing here, but I warn you that some of the files are quite large as bandwidth was not a restriction for the offline KIOSK. Although most of the material is from other people in the department and the ATLAS Outreach Project, I did create a few things central to SFU, like the interactive decision tree.

Decision trees are a mathematical model for sorting information with many variables quickly. They are used extensively by the SFU-HEP and other particle physics groups to discriminate between background and real signals from the particle detectors. But they also have many other uses, some of them more fun. The picture at the top of this post shows a page from a children’s magazine that asked the reader a few simple questions and categorized them as a dolphin or a shark. And the method it used was a decision tree!

That gave me an idea; why not turn that fun decision tree into an interactive web application? It would have a two-fold purpose: something fun for children and it illustrates what a decision tree is. After a bit of work and help with the graphics from one of the HEP grad students, I present to you the interactive decision tree! Just answer the questions as they are displayed in the white box and find out if you are a shark or a dolphin.

Oh yeah, I’m a shark….

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