Quick introduction: Problems and algorithms

For this week, I want to try a new type of post. A quick introduction to a standard topic that might not be familiar to all readers and that could be useful later on. The goal is to write a shorter post than usual and provide an launching point for future more details discussion on a topic. Let’s see if I can stick to 500 words — although this post is 933, so — in…

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One-Sentence Summary

As a student, I’m used to diving right into the technical details of a topic. I don’t mind working through a wall of algebra, because that’s what I’m used to. If I wanted to describe how I learn in my classes, it would be: mathematics first, “high-level” understanding second. This isn’t a bad thing. I don’t mind going through the details first. Sure, I might not know how the concept relates to other ideas immediately,…

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Familiar Forms

When you first start solving a problem in mathematics, the goal is often to find a way to express the problem as some sort of differential equation. During this initial search, you don’t care how the equation looks. It’s more important to get it written down so that you can proceed. However, once you do have an equation, the first step is not to try and solve it. That’s a rookie mistake. Instead, the question…

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Cataloging a year of social blogging

With almost all of January behind us, I want to share the final summary of 2018. The first summary was on cancer and fitness landscapes; the second was on metamodeling. This third summary continues the philosophical trend of the second, but focuses on analyzing the roles of science, philosophy, and related concepts in society. There were only 10 posts on the societal aspects of science and philosophy in 2018, with one of them not on…

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Snapping Into Focus

Learning new ideas in mathematics or science isn’t always easy. Heck, I would venture to say that most of the time it’s difficult. I imagine the experience is the same whether or not you consider yourself to be “good” in a given subject. That’s because, on some level, we are all in the same situation when it comes to learning. We need to figure out how to integrate new knowledge into our existing worldview. In…

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Escaping the Path

There’s a lovely forest near my house. It’s a wonderful place that looks exceptional in the autumn, where the fallen leaves of the trees cover the path in a flurry of orange, red, and yellow. I love running there because it’s so peaceful. Imagine that I told you I would show you this forest. After hearing me wax poetic about it, you’re excited to see it. We get to the forest, and I show you…

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Jeremy Cote 2019-01-13 15:21:54

When making work that’s important to you, it’s tempting to focus on improving your best work. After all, when you think of your work, that’s what first comes to mind. (You don’t think about the mediocre work.) Therefore, it makes sense to focus on that. By definition, this should be scarce. It’s not that you decide to sometimes do great work. Rather, it’s a simple consequence of looking at many pieces. Some will jump out…

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Cataloging a year of metamodeling blogging

Last Saturday, with just minutes to spare in the first calendar week of 2019, I shared a linkdex the ten (primarily) non-philosophical posts of 2018. It was focused on mathematical oncology and fitness landscapes. Now, as the second week runs into its final hour, it is time to start into the more philosophical content. Here are 18 posts from 2018 on metamodeling. With a nice number like 18, I feel obliged to divide them into…

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Give Yourself A Gift

A characteristic trait of students is that we tend to think in the short term. Our lives have natural milestones: semesters, midterms, due dates for assignments, final exams, and summer and winter breaks. These lead to students having a certain mindset with respect to time. For the most part, we think about our lives in terms of weeks and (maybe) months. For example, I’m writing this (not at the time of publication) in a week…

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Not The Usual Outreach

What is a science or mathematics education good for? One way to answer that question would be to say that teaching is a good use of such a degree. The idea makes sense, since a degree should give you a lot of knowledge in the subject. And, once you’ve gone through the challenges of completing the courses necessary for your degree, wouldn’t teaching the material be the next natural step? Another route is to do…

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