Chad Perrin: SOB

25 January 2008

excellent quote about math and computer science

Filed under: Metalog — apotheon @ 05:03

The problem with math is that there's an infinite supply of it. It is always possible to create new problems to solve and new formalisms to apply. Math is always interesting and cool, at least to mathematicians, and after your field has been parasitized by mathematicians for a decade or two, everyone in it will be a mathematician. There's enough work for everyone.

It's possible to describe anything in mathematical notation. I recall seeing some paper once in which someone had created a mathematical description of C. (I forget whether or not this included the preprocessor.) As an achievement, this is somewhat like building a full-size model of the Eiffel Tower out of tongue depressors. It's clearly not the act of a talentless man, but you have to wonder what he said when he applied for his grant.

No . . . this isn't from a rant about how bad math is. Quite the contrary — it's about how bureaucrats in the academic world abuse math as a means of turning computer science into a scam for funding. The next line, after all, is:

Whatever their tactics, what CS bureaucrats always sacrifice is relevance.

Go read What's wrong with CS research.

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