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Quote by Knuth

From: Christopher Dimech
Subject: Quote by Knuth
Date: Wed, 14 Jul 2021 22:58:12 +0200

> Sent: Thursday, July 15, 2021 at 8:30 AM
> From: "Marcin Borkowski" <>
> To: "Christopher Dimech" <>
> Cc: "Jean Louis" <>,, 
> Subject: Re: Quote by Knuth
> 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
> sad.

Mostly the mathematics is done mostly in the mind with some expression
on paper to connect the ideas.

> >
> > 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).

Depends on the audience.  With mathematicians on the topic, I disregard
quite a lot of things.  It is the same with art like music, painting etc.
Tho focus is on the end product.

You can make something beautiful without the need to explain too much.
Hoping others have the capacity to appreciate.  I used to mix things together
when I started, but not doing that anymore.  Before you try to delve into code,
you need to understand the topic.  But you could hint at some non-trivial
passages if need be.  And then let them think and figure out.

As things are becoming more complicated, today's task is more about conciseness,
otherwise there is no end.  It is all about the minimum threshold you decide to
cater for.  Most times few cared about how I actually did things.

> Best,
> --
> Marcin Borkowski

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