1. 13
  1. 6

    While I concur with the sentiment that math computations aren’t usually fun, and agree that many math problems in math class are there to force you to grind out computations, I think it’s vitally important to do math problems by hand some of the time. I used to be in the exact same boat as the author. If we have computers, why not use them to do all the computation?

    The problem is that there’s often an underlying pattern in the computation, that you won’t recognize unless you do it yourself. It’s more a matter of how well the problems are designed to make you recognize those patterns.

    Don’t get me wrong, I still use SymPy and Matplotlib all the time, even while learning new math concepts. But when I’m reading through a textbook and tackling new techniques, I always do a handful of problems by hand first.

    1. 8

      Like we say in my country, la matemática entra por la mano y no tanto por los ojos – mathematics is absorbed with your hands, not so much with your eyes.

      1. 1

        I love this expression! It applies as much to programming as to mathematics.

      2. 1

        Yeah, it’s kind of unfortunate that he even included the bit about his score in the math course he took at the top, because it’s kind of non sequitor to the real point of the article, which is that Sympy is an awesome tool that abstracts away a lot of the detail for the cases where understanding it is less important than making the doughnuts or where learning the underlying principles either isn’t desirable or isn’t feasible for whatever reason, or even for those times when people just want to PLAY and not be bogged down.

      3. 2

        This is a really fun post! I’ve been a little afraid to dive into SymPy after being very confused by Mathematica but this makes it seem much less intimidating.

        Does anyone know what syntax highlighter was used for the code blocks? I loved how all the variables were different colors, made it very easy to read.

        1. 1

          I do enjoy noodling with Sympy, and math isn’t something I generally savor :)