Daniel Moshe Aaronson

Born Wednesday March 22, 2017, exactly at noon.  19.5 inches, 7 pounds.

I learned that Dana had gone into labor—unexpectedly early, at 37 weeks—just as I was waiting to board a redeye flight back to Austin from the It from Qubit complexity workshop at Stanford.  I made it in time for the birth with a few hours to spare.  Mother and baby appear to be in excellent health.  So far, Daniel seems to be a relatively easy baby.  Lily, his sister, is extremely excited to have a new playmate (though not one who does much yet).

I apologize that I haven’t been answering comments on the is-the-universe-a-simulation thread as promptly as I normally do.  This is why.

69 Responses to “Daniel Moshe Aaronson”

  1. Begin Says:


  2. Madhur Tulsiani Says:

    Congrats Dana and Scott (and Lily)! 🙂

  3. tas Says:

    Congratulations! I currently have one and have no idea how it is possible to handle two. Good luck!

  4. Haribo Freak Says:

    My hearty congratulations, Scott.

  5. Edward Measure Says:

    Congratulations and felicitations to Mom and Dad!

  6. Ryan O Says:

    Congratulations Dana and Scott! Looks very cute. 🙂

  7. B_E Says:

    Congratulations and best wishes to the future CS star!

  8. Shecky R Says:

    OK Scott, for the time being we’ll forgive you for slacking off answering comments… assuming you’re spending that time changing diapers.

  9. CalculusKing Says:

    Congratulations on your baby! Don’t feel too much pressure to keep up the blogging at a steady pace – from what I can tell, a baby is a full time job for the father (and two full time jobs for the mom). We can live with a break if need be.

  10. Edan Maor Says:


    Hope you have a great time with him and manage to rest in between 🙂

  11. Jim Hefferon Says:

    Wonderful! And what a nice picture.

  12. Jr Says:

    Warmest congratulations!

  13. Jay Says:

    Congrats 😉

  14. John Sidles Says:

    Hearty congratulations to you and Dana (and Lily and Daniel). Dana especially … she’s been doing all the work. Say, perhaps Daniel might be nicknamed “TeX”? 🙂

  15. Serge Says:

    Congratulations to the happy parents and sister! 🙂

  16. Bruce Rushing Says:

    Congratulations! Hope all goes well.

  17. ks Says:

    Congratulations Scott!

  18. James Gallagher Says:

    One day after my daughter’s birthday, who I regret didn’t grow up with a sibling for company. Congratulations, I wish you all the best.

  19. Scott Says:

    Thanks, everyone!

  20. Michael Says:

    Mazal tov!

  21. Wolfgang Says:


  22. Kenny Says:

    Congratulations Scott and Dana.

  23. Randy Says:

    A message of congratulations regarding the new addition to your family has been prepared for you. To see it, simply log in to BabyCongratsForProfessors.com and set up your profile. Be sure to read our totally CYA terms and conditions and our hardly reassuring privacy policy.

  24. Nick Says:

    If I may ask, how did you come to choose the name?

  25. Scott Says:

    Nick #24:

    Daniel: One of the very few names that Dana and I both found acceptable. Exact same name in English and Hebrew, common in both the US and Israel, easy to spell and pronounce, lots of great scientists named Dan, sounds fine combined with “Aaronson,” not yet any Daniels within our immediate-ish family.

    Moshe: The name of Dana’s beloved grandfather, who presciently left Warsaw for an Israeli kibbutz in the 1930s. Also the Hebrew name of my uncle Mark, a musician who tragically died at an early age.

    I had advocated either “Bertrand” (as in Russell) or “Mathison” (as in Alan Mathison Turing) for the middle name, but was overruled.

  26. Daniel Seita Says:

    Congratulations! I’m amazed that you’re able to still do excellent research and to write a blog as a massive side project.

    I wasn’t aware about the similarity with English and Hebrew, an interesting factoid. (I know little about the Middle East, but I’m trying to learn.)

  27. Moshe Says:


  28. Stuart Armstrong Says:

    Excellent! Hope all goes well.

  29. Raoul Ohio Says:

    John has a pretty good idea for a nickname with “Tex”. But, that sounds a bit like a poser from the East Coast. For more gravitas, consider “Hoss” or “Bubba”.

  30. Bret Gergely Says:


  31. John Sidles Says:

    Algebraic geometry provides a rich glossary of euphonious names and funny nicknames.

    If Samuel Hand could famously name his son “Learned”, might a (grand)child be named “Ample”, “Ideal”, “Resolution”, “Étale”, “Flag”, or even “Plücker”?

    If Jane Goodall could famously nickname her son “Grub”, perhaps a (grand)child might be nicknamed “Germ”, “Proj”, “Nef”, or even “Blowup”?

    Uhhh … upon consideration, perhaps I needn’t trouble my family’s women-folk — who are nominatively conservative — with these names. Or at least, not disclose their mathematical etymology! 🙂

  32. Zach Says:

    Congratulations – To Papa, And To Mama, And Especially To “Daniel Moshe Aaronson”

  33. fred Says:


  34. jonas Says:

    In different news, David Morgan-Mar has just done a short essay on quantum computation at http://www.irregularwebcomic.net/3631.html . The essay doesn’t seem to fall into any of those fundamental mistakes that annoy you so much, such as saying that a quantum computer can “solve hard search problems instantaneously by simply trying all the possible solutions at once”.

  35. Adam Treat Says:

    Congratulations Scott to you and Dana and Lily!

  36. S Trotz Says:

    Mazel tov!

  37. David Speyer Says:

    Mazel tov!

  38. Huck Bennett Says:

    Congratulations! And I see that he’s already got his own announcement list: http://www.zaik.uni-koeln.de/AFS/publications/dmanet/

  39. Daniel Craig Says:


  40. Bill Kaminsky Says:

    Mega-mega Mazel Tov! All the best to you, Dana, Lily, and now Daniel!

  41. anondergrad Says:

    Mazel Tov to you all!

  42. Vadim Says:

    Congratulations, Scott and Dana!

  43. Sniffnoy Says:


  44. Michele Amoretti Says:

    Congratulations, Scott and Dana! 🙂

  45. Joshua Says:

    Mazel tov!

    May he live to 120.

  46. Moshe Zadka Says:

    Bsha’a Tova! I, for one, approve of the little guy’s middle name 🙂

    May he grow up to be even more awesome than his parents!

  47. Choronzon Says:

    Congratulations Scott.

    Will you be leaving it intact or having it altered according to Jewish tradition?

  48. Scott Says:

    Choronzon #47: As it happens, “it” is getting snipped about an hour from now. And then, as tradition dictates, we’ll all have bagels and whitefish salad.

    Despite being Jewish and exposed to it my whole life, I confess that there’s still something fundamentally weird to me, if not quite barbaric, about holding a party around this. On the other hand, I’m fine with male circumcision itself—it’s done to a large proportion of all male infants in the hospital, current medical consensus being that the health benefits outweigh the risks (though not so much as to urge it be universal). And having a welcoming party for a newborn baby also seems like a nice, normal thing to do. So the only weird part, the holdover from 1500BC or whenever, is combining the two.

  49. jeff Says:

    beautiful baby.

  50. Stuart Armstrong Says:

    As excuses for not answering, this one is… acceptable.


    Great luck with the new kid, and hope it goes fantastically well!

  51. Philip Calcott Says:

    Awesome – our world needs more Aaronsons.

  52. asdf Says:

    Congratulations to Scott and family.

    Scott, here’s a story you might appreciate by now:


    audio: http://www.tomsmithonline.com/freestuff/oddio/TheThingInTheCrib.mp3

  53. domenico Says:

    Auguri e mazel tov alla bella famiglia

  54. Yoni2 Says:

    Mazal tov!

  55. hlynkacg Says:


  56. GIquery. Says:

    will this receive your blessing?

  57. Scott Says:

    GIquery #56: I don’t have time to read every arXiv posting that someone asks for my reaction to. On a quick scan, though, two things jumped out at me as weird about this paper:

    (1) The conclusion seems to imply that GI has been proven to be in P, yet the paper avoids making that claim explicitly anywhere. So, is this a claimed proof of GI in P, or is it yet another GI heuristic that often works well in practice but could fail on hard cases?

    (2) The paper never even mentions recent progress on GI, including Babai’s quasipolynomial breakthrough (!!!). And the ideas it does discuss, like canonical labeling, are decades-old ones.

    Does anyone who’s actually delved into this preprint have anything more useful to say about it?

  58. GIquery. Says:

    On (1) I thought the same but I think the claim is it is polynomial time on worst case and is deterministic

  59. John Sidles Says:

    Two of the most uplifting encounters (for me) this week have been (1) the beautiful picture of infant Jacob and mother Dana that heads this Shtetl Optimized essay, and (2) historian Timothy Snyder’s enlightening essay On Tyranny (2017, available now as a very short book).

    These two works (the first literally human, the second humanely literary) guide my appreciation — my horrified appreciation — on the ongoing degradation of the human spirit that is America’s alt-right movement. A particularly nausea-inducing example is this week’s Vox Popoli essay “Alt-Right or Else” (together with its hundreds of hateful comments):

    If you, or your parents, or your grandparents, arrived in the USA after 1965, you have to go back. No one gives a damn if you were born American in Mumbai. Or Topeka.

    You’re not American. The United States of America is not your country and you damn well know it. Now, go home before the golden goose finally expires and you end up as just another skull stacked in a pyramid along the border.

    Pause now and read this hate-work for yourself.

    Snyder’s 10th essay “Believe in the Truth” reminds us that opposition to the Alt-Right must be uncompromising. Snyder quotes playright Eugene Ionesco’s motivation for writing his great play Rhinoceros:

    University professors, students, intellectuals were turning Nazi, becoming Iron Guards, one after the other. At the beginning, certainly they were not Nazis. … From time to time, one of our friends said “I don’t agree with them, to be sure, but on certain points … “. Three weeks later, this person would become a Nazi. He was caught in the mechanism; he accepted everything; he became a rhinoceros.

    The mathematician Saunders Mac Lane documents the ubiquity and banality of such Rhinoceros-style conversions in his Notices of the AMS article “Mathematics at Göttingen under the Nazis” (1995):

    I went on a student-organized two-week skiing trip to Oberstdorf in the Tyrol. We returned (on a group ticket) by train, stopping for three hours in Nurenberg. This was the day for which Hitler had decreed a peaceful boycott of all Jewish stores. Leaving my skis and baggage on the train. …

    I returned to Göttingen to my lodgings at 28 Lötze Strasse (not far from the Mathematical Institute). There my landlady regularly provided me with evening tea and talk; I rapidly discovered that two weeks of propaganda had converted her from mild conservative views to ardent Nazi discipleship.

    With due respect for the (many) challenges of the 21st century, there is no single greater danger (that I can see) to children like Daniel and Lily, or to my own children and grandchildren, or to everyone’s children and grandchildren, than too-faint too-feeble too-late public opposition to the world’s (Ionesco-style) “rhinoceroses”, whose population is growing, all-too-rapidly, by the all-too-easy evolution (that Mac Lane’s generation witnessed) of “mild conservative views to ardent Nazi discipleship.”

    Lily and Daniel, you deserve better from us, your elders. You deserve our responsible awareness, at least, of these dangers to you, and you deserve our uncompromising public opposition to these dangers.

  60. Choronzon Says:

    On a totally different topic, there is a paper in Physical Review Letters titled “Hamiltonian for the Zeros of the Riemann Zeta Function.”


    The author attempts to solve the Riemann Hypothesis by showing a Hamiltonian whose eigenvalues are the non-trivial zeros is Hermitian.

    I’d be interested in your opinion of the author’s reasoning.

    Using Quantum Mechanics to attack the Riemann Hypothesis seems like a novel approach.

  61. Darran Says:

    Scott, Congratulations on the wee lad! Like tas, I’ve no idea how one manages two!!

    I was just wondering, if you don’t mind me asking, are you raising Lily bilingually? (I ask just for knowledge with my own son).


  62. Ajit R. Jadhav Says:

    “Forever young…”

    What a coincidence that I happen to play this British song after a loooong while (while actually being on a random mode), and right in the middle of listening to it, just get reminded of catching up on my blogs-reading, here.

    Oh well, I had sneaked in a moment sometime this week or last as far as “catching up” is concerned, and so knew! But what the hell… It’s only now that I am finally free to blog and write blog-comments!

    Congrats, Scott, and, Dana! And, yes, Lily, you too!!

    … [After a few seconds]

    The song I have here is the one that has this line (which I appreciated once again):
    “And may you grow to be proud, dignified and true.”

    … Ummm.. In case the song selection is down-the-market, sorry, but I just happen to like this song. And, no, unlike most people attending IITs, I never much listened to Bob Dylan’s songs. … In fact, even this song, … well, it was driven to my ears in a rather unwilling mood more than a couple of decades ago, but it’s a song I do play once in a while.

    Once again, congrats, and on that note, let me end this monologue.

    Bye for now, but, wishing the very best that this world [still] has to offer…


  63. John Sidles Says:

    In reference to Ajit’s fine comment (#62), Pete Seeger’s music-video of “Forever Young” (2012, YouTube here), which Seeger filmed at age 93, is literally awesome:

    “May you build a ladder to the stars,
       and step on every rung … “

    …and may Shtetl Optimized readers (of all ages) stay “forever young” … like Pete. 🙂

  64. Reza Says:

    Congratulations to you and Dana.

  65. Scott Says:

    Darram #61: Well, we’re trying to raise her bilingually! Dana speaks to her only in Hebrew, but she answers almost only in English. But I’m sure her Hebrew will improve after we take a sabbatical in Israel. Meanwhile Lily also “learns” Spanish at her preschool (but it’s mostly singing and dancing; she doesn’t seem to have acquired any speaking ability yet).

  66. Scott Says:

    Choronzon #60: I don’t really have anything to add to what experts have been saying. See for example this MathOverflow discussion, where several potential problems are pointed out, including the approach being “too simple” in the sense that if it worked at all, it would also work for other functions for which the analogue of RH is known to be false.

  67. Henning Says:

    Very belatedly all the best for mother, father, sister and little Daniel!

    Really need to check your blog more often to not miss such delightful news 🙂

  68. luca turin Says:

    Moses “son of Aaron”! Should lack neither vision nor eloquence. Sorry to be late to congratulate you… For me the most solemn moment of a newborn is when you bring him/her home for the first time and realise they have entered your life for good, a miraculous joy. That and the fact (I am an olfaction dude) that unwashed newborns smell like the grade of ambergris that money can’t buy..

  69. sarah Says:

    Super merci!!