note
moritz
<p>(Sorry for be rather off-topic, but it's an important topic for me, so... no real excuse, I know ;-)
<blockquote>Programming is harder than rocket science, because it still doesn't have a firm mathematical machinery behind it.</blockquote>
<p>I don't know about engineering, but in physics the mathematical machinery isn't as firm as one would think. Well in research papers it usually is, but not in the typical course.
<p>I've witnessed this several times, at various universities:
<code>
teacher: Now we can write $this integral like $that
student: Wait, /can/ we even do this transformation
teacher: Well, the mathematicians know a list of
conditions that determine if it's allowed, but
I don't know them because it's allowed for all
functions that physicists ever use.
</code>
<p>(For the interested, those conditions are usually "only a finite number of discontinuities).
<p>Which is perfectly fine, because I'd never be able to finish my studies if I only did mathematical operations that I have proven myself and that I know are allowed, but it doesn't really raise my level of confidence in mathematical foundations.
<p>When you talk about mathematics, keep in mind that it's still only humans that do it, and they can make mistakes, and even in mathematics they can have varying opinions.
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