> Please will a reader tell me who (not Golay) discovered
> a "Golay code" and when, and references.
This is from an article by Francis Yein Chei Fung in
"Tangents, The Harvard-Radcliffe Mathematics Bulletin"
(http://www.math.harvard.edu/~hmb/issue1.1/codes.html)
It is this "ternary" Golay code which was first discovered by a Finn who was
determining good strategies for betting on blocks of 11 soccer games. Here,
one places a bet by predicting a Win, Lose, or Tie for all 11 games, and as
long as you do not miss more than two of them, you get a payoff. If a group
gets together in a "pool" and makes multiple bets to "cover all the options"
(so that no matter what the outcome, somebody's bet comes within 2 of the
actual outcome), then the codewords of a 2-error-correcting perfect code
provide a very nice option; the balls around its codewords fill all of the
space, with none left over.
It was in this vein that the ternary Golay code was first constructed; its
discover, Juhani Virtakallio, exhibited it merely as a good betting system
for football-pools, and its 729 codewords appeared in the football-pool
magazine Veikkaaja. For more on this, see Barg's article [1].
[1] Barg, Alexander. "At the Dawn of the Theory of Codes," The Mathematical
Intelligencer, Vol. 15 (1993), No. 1, pp. 20--26.
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