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By George Hart for the Museum of Mathematics

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Tim Chartier at Davidson College has discovered that if you make things out of candy there’s no lack of volunteers to help you clean up. He takes images and transforms them mathematically into arrays of candy pieces. Here you can see President Obama, as rounded to the set of m&m color values. Mathematically, the algorithm picks the available color which is closest in red-green-blue-space to the average of the pixels it replaces.

Tim’s program has controls that allow the user to change the image, the candy, and the resolution.  Since Easter is coming up, you may find a use for this recipe to make another U.S. president, this time from 400 peeps:

As Tim notes on his blog, “The best part is taking it apart!”

More:
See all of George Hart’s Math Monday columns

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelancer writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture, including the first book about the web (Mosaic Quick Tour) and the Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Building Robots. He is currently working on a best-of collection of his writing, called Borg Like Me.


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