Friday, June 15, 2007

Call for input: Wikipedia article pointers?

Dear JFKBits readers,

I want your input. Are you interested in JFKBits including highlights of Wikipedia articles on topics related to programming languages, tools, and the mathematics behind it?

What I'm proposing is to add occasional posts highlighting an article, with a quoted excerpt and some discussion.

For several months now I have been consulting Wikipedia articles on related areas and found them very helpful. As in, man I wish this was around when I was going through grad school. For example, my view on closures came exclusively from the Essentials of Programming Languages by Friedman, Wand and Haynes. Now there's a concise explanation available on Wikipedia with examples for different languages and a wealth of useful external links.

To give you another example, right now I'm going back to some of my probability and machine learning course materials and trying some proofs. On the way, I'm running across the Wikipedia articles for

I didn't even know set theory was divided into "naive set theory" and "axiomatic set theory." There's a line in the section "Objections to Set Theory" that speaks of constructivism, which holds there is a loose connection between mathematics and computation. This is an idea, that computer science papers tend to be of a "constructivist" nature, that had been floated by me but I've never apprehended the full discussion or heard it fleshed out by practicing computer science researchers. Now I can peek behind the scenes and perhaps glimpse what that is all about.

So, I'm finding these articles helpful not only for the subject matter, but also for a view onto what's known, and what differing views and philosophies exist about the topics. Let me know if this is interesting for you, the JFKBits reader by leaving a comment.

1 comment:

JFKBits said...

For starters, you might read Wikipedia's article on Set theory, and then compare it with Uncyclopedia's article on the same topic.