The Bellman Equation

88 minutes 2011 7.0/10 based on 1 votes

The Bellman Equation is defined as a necessary condition for optimality associated with the mathematical optimization method known as dynamic programming.

Richard Bellman was an only child. His grandparents emigrated from Kiev to Brooklyn, New York. They were Russian Jewish and Armenian, although the last name ‘Bellman’ is Swedish. Those who were closest to him know how much he idolized the concept of being an English aristocrat and how important it was for him to leave his childhood behind. His father owned a grocery store.

What he’s most remembered as, is a brilliant man. He had a professorship in three departments: mathematics, medicine, and electrical engineering— something very few have. Those who knew him and worked with him have described him as a genius.

Richard Bellman and his own son, Eric, had a complicated relationship. At the time of his death, they had not made peace with each other. Eric attributes the differences to the fact that the sons of famous men often have trouble living up to the expectations of their fathers.

However, according to Richard Bellman’s second wife Nina, Richard didn’t want to compete with his son. He told Eric he could do whatever he wanted to with his life, except get into the field of mathematics because it was very unlikely that he would be better than him. Nina says that Richard encouraged Eric to be his own person. Still, Eric believes that no matter what field he would have chosen he would never have been able to meet his father’s standards.

When asked what Richard Bellman’s greatest gift was, Dr. Charlie Goldman, a close friend states that Bellman’s work integrating mathematics in medicine. All those who knew him agree that he was a problem solver and that there’s probably nobody alive that has ever been better than him in this.

Bellman wrote 695 papers and over 40 books that have been translated into many different languages. Bellman influenced millions of people.

He was a pioneering figure in computer science and a gifted inventor in the field of dynamic programming, yet he remained a mystery to all who knew him.

This film explores Bellman’s contribution to the Manhattan project, his oppression under Joseph McCarthy, as well as other mysteries surrounding his life and death.

This documentary follows writer-director Gabriel Bellman on a decade-long journey as he researches the life of his grandfather, world famous mathematician Richard Bellman.

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