Python in "math through programming" curriculum

Steven D. Majewski sdm7g at virginia.edu
Thu Dec 21 19:26:29 CET 2000


On 21 Dec 2000, Neelakantan Krishnaswami wrote:

> 
> Yes -- the reference to Knuth's _Concrete Mathematics_ made me think
> that an introduction to CS was envisioned. For things like graphing
> and statistics, there's no reason not to use Python, since it has good
> graphing and statistical libraries. Static typechecking doesn't help
> here, I don't think, and in Haskell's case it becomes a positive
> nuisance (because of all the IO).
> 

XlispStat -- a free Lisp variant with extensions for statictics, vector
math and object-oriented interactive graphics -- is another good choice.

There's a good textbook by Luke Tierney available.

The graphics and statistics support is quite a bit more mature than
what's available in Python, and the graphics is better integrated and
easier to use. ( That maturity and integration, however, is one of 
the current problems: for example, the 3-D graphics predates the wide
availability of OpenGL libraries -- it would be nice to be able to
extend some of it's graphics abilities but the current graphics model
is pretty tightly tied. That's where Python's not being tied to any
one graphics model is an advantage. ) 


See: <http://www.xlispstat.org/> 


You might also check out StarLogo from MIT's media lab -- 
a special version of Logo designed to handle thousands of 
independent "turtle" agents in parallel:

<http://www.media.mit.edu/starlogo/> 


| StarLogo is a programmable modeling environment for exploring the
| workings of decentralized systems -- systems that are organized without
| an organizer, coordinated without a coordinator. With StarLogo, you can
| model (and gain insights into) many real-life phenomena, such as bird
| flocks, traffic jams, ant colonies, and market economies.


-- Steve Majewski <sdm7g at Virginia.EDU> 





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