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Re^3: OT: Mathematics for programming (again)

by tilly (Archbishop)
on Sep 12, 2008 at 16:09 UTC ( #710942=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Re^2: OT: Mathematics for programming (again)
in thread OT: Mathematics for programming (again)

I'm not advocating that the only good way to ensure a program is correct is to run it on a computer. However I am saying that actually running it on a computer tends to catch a lot of things you don't catch otherwise. Furthermore when you add in unit tests, QA, and other best practices that can only happen after the code can be run, you catch even more. Therefore a program that has only been desk checked should be viewed with suspicion.

As for why mathematicians don't do this, you've hit on some of the reasons. Mathematicians only seek to convince other mathematicians of their results. They strive to be critical of themselves and others, but at the end of the day if you can convince other mathematicians that you have a proof, that's what matters. Therefore there is no need or desire to write proofs out in unreadable formal detail, but there is a need to clarify the central point in a way that other humans will understand.

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