Algorithm Arranges Names on 9/11 Memorial

Order reflects 2,983 personal and professional relationships
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 7, 2011 3:20 PM CDT
A man walks past a memorial pool at Ground Zero in New York on Sept. 7, 2011.   (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
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(Newser) – The 9/11 memorial at Ground Zero will be dedicated this weekend, and Scientific American explains how planners used a complex algorithm to figure out how to arrange the 2,983 names of victims. They're not alphabetical but instead grouped by sets and subsets of personal and professional relationships. For instance, the 704 victims from Cantor Fitzgerald are grouped together, but the names within that group also reflect personal ties and requests from family members.

The SA article also recounts the story of Victor Wald and Harry Ramos. They didn't know each other before 9/11 and worked three floors apart in the North Tower. Ramos stayed with Wald, who was unable to go further, on the 36th floor that day, telling him, "Victor, don't worry. I'm with you." They were killed when the tower collapsed, and their names appear together on panel 63 of the North Memorial Pool. Click for an interactive guide to the memorial.

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