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In response to +Jesse Noller's "PyCon 2013 talks I'd like to see", I'd like to see the following (someone, please give this talk!):

Understanding Mathematical Notation With Python
A survey of math notation that tends to confuse developers who've never formally studied math beyond high school in the US. This talk won't dive deeply into any one area but aims to provide a brief familiarity with various notations and how they would be represented in code.

Introduction:
    - Open with a brief discussion of your background that demonstrates to the audience that you're a mathematical badass who understands this notation and has some passing familiarity with how notation sometimes differs from one discipline to another.

Set Theory Symbols:
    - This would be pretty simple as there are lots of one-to-one correlations that could be quickly shown using operators on Python's builtin "set" type.

Complex Numbers:
    - Show basic examples and then represent the same formulas using Python's builtin "complex" type.
 
Capital-Sigma Notation (Σ):
    - Explain the pieces and give a simple example (using comprehensions or loops).
    - Incrementally change the index and upper/lower bounds and show these along side the incrementally changed Python implementations.
    - Although related, capital-pi and integral notation are probably too much to go into but perhaps the simplest examples could be shown.

Big-O Notation:
    - Talk about how this is used to describe certain processes.
    - Briefly explain O(1), O(n), O(log n), O(n^2), etc. and then show side-by-side code snippets (5-10 lines each) that exhibit each of the described behaviors.

Things that might be too tricky for a talk like this...
    Propositional Calculus
    Set-builder Notation

#Python   #PyCon   #PyCon2013  
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Steve Holden's profile photoChristopher Swenson's profile photoTom Brander's profile photoMoshe Zadka's profile photo
8 comments
 
I find myself continually confused so I'd vote for it!
 
Put enough mathematicians in the audience and run it as a teachme
 
+Tom Brander What do you find confusing?

+Shawn Brown Why don't you give this talk?

I could possibly be persuaded to propose a similar sort of talk (or a sister talk) if no one else is wants to give it and others are interested.
 
Having not formally taken higher math the symboligy in most fields presents something of a hurdle, all that stuff that people use Latex to produce.. While I have learned some of it once it gets beyond basic L'm spending too much time decoding, and then if I'm lucky I can understand the terminology some of which gets pretty domain specific, and dense.
 
I don't have the background to give this talk by myself. At first I was thinking that an exploration of notation would be best presented by someone who is fluent in it. But I'm realizing that there's a danger of conflating the listeners' understanding of the notation with their understanding the math itself.

There's a lot of math I understand (and have implemented) for which I can't read the notation. +Christopher Swenson, want to co-present this with me? The scope might seem modest (limiting it to analysis of the notation itself) but there's plenty to fill a 30 minute spot.
 
Sure, I'll co-present. This also got some gears moving in my head that made me think of a sister tutorial that I want to propose.
 
[Also, as a personal recommendation, don't start your talk by listing your street cred. It's hella boring for the audience...]
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