Fredrik Lundh wrote:
That algorithm is really a gem which you should know, so let me try to explain it.
I think someone just won the "brain exploder 2000" award ;-)
to paraphrase Bertrand Russell,
"Mathematics may be defined as the subject where I never know what you are talking about, nor whether what you are saying is true"
Well, I was primarily targeting Guido, who said that he came from math, and one cannot study math without standing a basic algebra course, I think. I tried my best to explain it for those who know at least how groups, fields, rings and automorphisms work. Going into more details of the theory would be off-topic for python-dev, but I will try it in an upcoming DDJ article.
I do have a math degree, but it is 18 years old and I had to give up after the first paragraph of your explanation. It made me vividly recall the first and only class on Galois Theory that I ever took -- after one hour I realized that this was not for me and I didn't have a math brain after all. I went back to the basement where the software development lab was (i.e. a row of card punches :-).
As you might have guessed, I didn't do this just for fun. It is the old game of explaining what is there, convincing everybody that you at least know what you are talking about, and then three days later coming up with an improved application of the theory.
Today is Monday, 2 days left. :-)
I'm very impressed.
--Guido van Rossum (home page: http://www.python.org/~guido/)