"Those not well versed in Geometry shall not enter"



Cornel Darden Jr.
Kennedy-King College
City Colleges of Chicago
Work 773-602-5449
Cell 708-705-2945

On Feb 22, 2013, at 11:20 AM, Cary Gordon <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> I do not find drawing a line between philosophy and mathematics to be
> useful, as they have pretty vast overlap. Plato and Aristotle talked
> about math, whether they called it math or not. Whether set theory has
> its roots in math or philosophy is irrelevant.
> I don't believe that I said that mathematics was essential to
> programming, and I did not intend to imply that. I have certainly
> found it useful, but having said that, I find everything that I
> studied in school, with the possible exception of weight training,
> useful in almost every endeavor. (My other PE, skiing, is quite
> useful)
> I did say that logic is needed, and I'll stand by that. It doesn't
> matter where you get it.
> On Fri, Feb 22, 2013 at 8:59 AM, Karen Coyle <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> On 2/22/13 8:39 AM, Cary Gordon wrote:
>>> While comprehensive specific math skill set might not be necessary in
>>> programming, an understanding of mathematics beyond arithmetic can be
>>> very useful. Relational database theory, for example, maps pretty
>>> neatly to set theory.
>> In fact, Cary, you can do relational databases just fine without set theory.
>> If it maps to set theory when you do know it, that's fine. But in all the
>> years in which I've worked on databases, only one person involved in the
>> design was a mathematician, and she didn't work directly on defining the
>> database design. Just because some of coding can be explained with math
>> doesn't mean that you *need* math to explain it. Mathematics did not invent
>> the concept of sets; you can go back to Aristotle and find, pre-mathematical
>> set theory, a good philosophical basis for that thinking.
>>> Mathematics in general delivers a lot of insight into dealing with
>>> complex patterns.
>> As do music, language, clothing manufacture and building. And if you may
>> recall, the punch card and the first programming came from weaving
>> machinery. There are lots of activities that use complex patterns.
>>> Is a solid math background necessary to program? Of course not. Sooner
>>> or later though, programmers need a solid understanding of logic.
>> Yes, but there are many sources for that solid understanding. To insist that
>> the understanding has to come from mathematics is to essentially take a very
>> narrow view of human thought. This is one of the things that bothers me
>> about some proponents of mathematics: there seems to be a view that math is
>> the one true approach. If that were the case, our world would be sadly
>> uniform and uncreative.
>> kc
>>> Thanks,
>>> Cary
>>> On Fri, Feb 22, 2013 at 7:30 AM, Karen Coyle <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>>> On 2/21/13 7:48 PM, Emily Morton-Owens wrote:
>>>>> This was just the right thing to say, because he was connecting it to
>>>>> something that I consider myself talented at (languages), rather than
>>>>> something I don't (math).
>>>> I want to clear up the "math is hard" and "programming is math" myths.
>>>> First, the ratio of women to men in graduate math programs is approaching
>>>> 50/50, although women are still struggling to be hired and gain tenure in
>>>> math departments. So "math is hard" for many of us, but it's not
>>>> necessarily
>>>> a gender thing. (I'm looking for the cite for this -- I've done too much
>>>> random reading recently and didn't mark this. May be book below.)
>>>> Math skills are not required for programming. There was a time when
>>>> silicon
>>>> valley was desperate for programmers, and some companies advertised that
>>>> they were looking for folks with music skills and they would teach them
>>>> programming -- because they had found that musicians make for good
>>>> programmers. It's the ability to deal with complex patterns that makes a
>>>> difference. Which is why it annoys me when programming instruction begins
>>>> with a list of mathematical functions that most programmers will never
>>>> need.
>>>> I believe that Rosy was the first to recommend this, but the IEEE
>>>> publication: Gender Codes - why women are leaving computing/ edited by
>>>> Thomas Misa, 2010 is essential reading. You can get it as a Kindle or
>>>> Nook
>>>> book. isbn 978-0470-59719-4 (paper) 978-1118-03513-9 (ebook)
>>>> kc
>>>>>> Hi Folks,
>>>>>> I'm teaching systems analysis at SILS (UNC CH) this semester.
>>>>>> Though the course is required for the IS degree, it's not required for
>>>>>> the
>>>>>> LS degree.
>>>>>> However, the majority of my students this semester are LS.  And the
>>>>>> vast
>>>>>> majority are women.
>>>>>> Apropos of the part of the thread that dealt with numbers:
>>>>>> For those of you who came into this community and at some point went
>>>>>> through a MSLS or MSIS program I am wondering if there are things I
>>>>>> could
>>>>>> try to do that might have an impact on better aligning the ratio of men
>>>>>> to
>>>>>> women in code4lib and the technology end of the field in general to
>>>>>> that
>>>>>> in the general population?
>>>>>> Was there a moment of clarity?  A person who said or modeled the right
>>>>>> thing?  A project that helped uncover a skill you didn't know you had?
>>>>>> And, I am not just interested in what I can do through one class, but
>>>>>> also
>>>>>> what the curriculum and school could do more holistically.
>>>>>> Thanks,
>>>>>> Tim
>>>> --
>>>> Karen Coyle
>>>> [log in to unmask]
>>>> ph: 1-510-540-7596
>>>> m: 1-510-435-8234
>>>> skype: kcoylenet
>> --
>> Karen Coyle
>> [log in to unmask]
>> ph: 1-510-540-7596
>> m: 1-510-435-8234
>> skype: kcoylenet
> -- 
> Cary Gordon
> The Cherry Hill Company