[Tutor] Lotka-Volterra Model Simulation Questions

Oscar Benjamin oscar.j.benjamin at gmail.com
Sun Sep 30 00:57:38 CEST 2012

On 29 September 2012 22:57, Alan Gauld <alan.gauld at btinternet.com> wrote:

> On 29/09/12 11:42, Steven D'Aprano wrote:
>> On 29/09/12 19:16, Alan Gauld wrote:
> Totally agree.
> My point is that we should not choose short names just to keep an
> expression on a single line. The evidence suggests that the advantages of
> longer names outweigh the advantage of a single line. But in the cases here
> where single letters evidently have expressive power in their own right the
> familiar term is preferable over a longer descriptive name.
> Of course, care is needed when splitting an expression over multi lines
> to keep the readability so if the terms can be naturally split by operator
> then that's the place to split them. But this is the same in written math
> too. (Most of the equations I remember reading from my quantum mechanics
> days were split over at least 3 lines... trying to force them into a single
> line would not have made them any more palatable!)

I wouldn't advocate forcing an equation onto a single line if it doesn't
fit on a single line. However, I'm sure that the equations you're refering
to would have already been using lots of symbols described by very succinct
single-greek/latin-letters and other simple glyphs. Naturally, these
equations would not be meaningful to someone lacking prior experience of
quantum mechanics.

Now imagine replacing each of those single letter symbols with English
underscore-separated words so instead of letter capital psi you would have
'time_dependent_wave_function' and instead of hbar you would have
'planks_constant_over_twopi' and so on. Your equation would go from three
lines to thirty and noone would be able to understand it *even if they were
familiar with the subject*.

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