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Coin change problem with change – Dijkstra’s Algorithm

The coin change problem is a well studied problem in Computer Science, and is a popular example given for teaching students Dynamic Programming. The problem is simple – given an amount and a set of coins, what is the minimum...

Explaining UPI

I just paid my cook his salary for November. Given the cash crunch, I paid him through a bank transfer, using IMPS. Earlier today, my wife had asked him for his account details (last month I’d paid him on his...

Why PayTM is winning the payments “battle” in India

For the last one year or so, ever since I started using IMPS at scale, and read up the UPI protocol, I’ve been bullish about Indian banks winning the so-called “payments battle”. If and when the adoption of electronic payments...

Moving towards a cashless economy

In any transaction, the process of payment is a pain. It is a necessary step, of course, in that payment is what completes the transaction, but the process of payment is not something that adds any value to the transaction. If...

Dealing with loss of cash

Ever since Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 notes ceased to be legal tender on Tuesday night, the internet has been full of “human stories” of people for whom tragedy has struck because they are not able to transact. This is...

Reasons for voting

A vote is fundamentally a blunt instrument. Each voter has exactly one vote, and this one vote needs to express the voter’s opinion on a large range of issues. Since you are extremely unlikely to have a unique candidate for...

Financial Inclusion

Matt Levine had a superb newsletter recently on whether asset managers and pension funds who push customers towards buying high-cost retirement savings plans are doing a good thing or a bad thing. As Levine expertly explained, it all depends upon...

When is a war a war?

War is an inherently political instrument used to achieve a political objective, so a credible political adversary is necessary for war to be war. As the US Presidential election race hots up (or gets more one-sided, depending upon your interpretation),...

The real benefit of direct benefit transfer

A week ago, I gave up. My LPG subsidy that is. Having been out of the country for a few months, with our normal LPG usage being much lower than the average family’s, and having forgotten to book my spare...

Aswath Damodaran, Uber’s Valuation and Ratchets

The last time I’d written about Aswath Damodaran’s comments on Uber’s valuation, it was regarding his “fight” with Uber investor Bill Gurley, and whether his valuation was actually newsworthy. Now, his latest valuation of Uber, which he concludes is worth about...
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