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Re: Quote by Knuth

From: Marcin Borkowski
Subject: Re: Quote by Knuth
Date: Wed, 14 Jul 2021 22:30:52 +0200
User-agent: mu4e 1.1.0; emacs 28.0.50

On 2021-07-14, at 22:15, Christopher Dimech <> wrote:

> Even if we manage to get computations look like pseudocode, will that
> aid understanding?  Not a lot.  It would still need time and focus to
> figure out.  In mathematics, using prose gets things so complicated
> that you will not understand anything.  You need some sort of compact lexicon
> to absorb some quite complex ideas that cannot be condensed well enough
> using prose.

I haven't read this thread, just skimmed through a few messages here,
but as a mathematician and a (co)author of two math textbooks I'd like
to add something.

1. I think it's best (in math) to use prose first to explain ideas and
then follow with symbolic notation.

2. Hardly anyone (in the math world) does it (or even tries), which is

> After completing a building, you remove the scaffolding and clean everything
> out.  Much in then hidden.

This is a nice quote.  However, I disagree.  If you remove the
scaffolding you make learning way more difficult.  Even in research
articles I'd leave traces of it (assuming I'd write any research
articles - not very probable).


Marcin Borkowski

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