> ... I worked with PHD math major who walked around with a coffee mug
> most of the time sharing his paradoxes of math algorithms and equating
> to real world applications.   He once told me the boring mathematical
> how to stack oranges in the most efficient manner.  Yes there was a
> to it. There was also the stock boy with a 6th grade education working in
> the produce section of a grocery store who already knew without  a proof
> that the most efficient method was to stack them side by side and  build
> orange pyramid in the isle.

My understanding is that mathematicians have had very strong suspicions, and
for some time, that the "pyramid" pattern is the most efficient possible for
stacking spheres (i.e. in terms of minimising the unoccupied volume between
adjacent spheres). The rub, however, is to actually prove that (which I
gather *has* now occurred, but only within the last five or so years).

There are some other (still) outstanding conjectures, such as that every
even number greater than two can be expressed as the sum of two prime
numbers. (Mathematicians apparently regard the number one as an "unit"
number, rather than as a prime or composite number, so this conjecture
subsequently does not also apply to the number two.)

> I have my checkbook open and am waiting for the new router.    If 99SE is
> any indication of how good these guys in AU  can write software then the
> router should shake the industry .
> Mike Reagan

I am also interested in seeing how good a job the new autorouter will do.
*If* it really is something to behold, that in itself should make it
worthwhile to write out a cheque for upgrading to Phoenix.

However, until I do get to evaluate it, I am retaining at least some
scepticism. It is all very worthwhile to determine which routes exist,
topologically speaking, but I would also consider it important to determine
the "track carrying capacity"/"maximum track count" of each available route,
and fairly early on in the piece (rather than at a later stage, which the
literature released by Altium to date suggests is happening). And what is
straightforward for humans to recognise visually cannot always be translated
into algorithms in a straightforward manner.

But if the code has been written "from scratch", then hopefully it will
integrate much better with the PCB editor than has been the case to date (as
I gather that much of the code used in previous and existing autorouting
servers has been acquired rather than specifically written for use with
Protel). We are living in interesting times (though wishing that on someone
is said to be a Chinese curse :) ) ...

Geoff Harland.
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