Business Technology

Monday 22 September 2014

Google Doodle celebrates John Venn's 180th birthday

Matthew Sparkes

Published 04/08/2014 | 12:51

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A Google Doodle today honours the 180th birthday of the inventor of the Venn diagram, despite today being the centenary of the outbreak of World War One.

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The Venn diagram uses intersecting circles to visually show logical relations between two sets of items, and is widely used in set theory, probability and computer science.

Google’s Doodle creates the two intersecting circles from the Os in the company’s logo and then allows the viewer to create their own Venn diagram by selecting different categories. For instance, “musical” and “has wings” will show a guitar, aircraft and bird – with only the last item being in the intersecting area.

The diagram was invented in the 1880s by English logician and philosopher John Venn, although he always referred to his own invention as Eulerian Circles. Venn was born in Yorkshire in 1834, became an Anglican priest, and also read a degree in mathematics at Caius College Cambridge. He would later return to the university to lecture in moral science.

Google’s Mike Dutton, who led the design of the Doodle, said: “I sat down with two of the doodle engineers, Corrie Scalisi (the engineer of this doodle) and Mark Ivey. We spent a Friday afternoon on a patio with the sole mission of figuring this out. They threw around all kinds of ideas while I doodled them on a giant sketchpad. There were plenty of silly ideas, and some really great ones. Ultimately, that’s what went into making the final doodle. Sound logic and silliness.”

The Venn Doodle will be displayed worldwide during August 4, turning on in specific countries as that timezone passes midnight.

Earlier this year Google apologised after publishing a Google Doodle honouring a Japanese Go player on the 70th anniversay of D-Day. The Doodle for June 6 originally featured a stylised image of Honinbo Shusaku, a professional player of the traditional Chinese game Go, and was displayed on Google.co.uk.

The picture was later taken down and replaced with a Remembering D-Day link, free from pictures, to the search engine's Cultural Institute. A spokesperson for Google said at the time that the Honinbo Shusaku Doodle had been a global one, and had been put up "in error".

Google was not available for comment at the time of writing.

Telegraph.co.uk

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