[Tutor] Lotka-Volterra Model Simulation Questions
alan.gauld at btinternet.com
Sun Sep 30 10:37:51 CEST 2012
On 29/09/12 23:57, Oscar Benjamin wrote:
> On 29 September 2012 22:57, Alan Gauld <alan.gauld at btinternet.com
> My point is that we should not choose short names just to keep an
> expression on a single line....
> in written math too. (Most of the equations I remember reading from
> my quantum mechanics days were split over at least 3 lines... trying
> 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.
Yes which made them even more difficult to understand.
> 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
One of the things I like about programming is that I can take those
types of equations and break them into chunks and put them in
separate named functions. Then each term gets evaluated separately
and has a name that represents what it means in physical terms.
<off topic rant>
One of the things that makes math hard for people to grasp is its
insistence on abstracting functions/values to single letter names etc.
(especially when those names are in a foreign language/symbology,
like Greek!) Of course, the abstraction is powerful in its own right
because it can then be applied in multiple domains, but that abstraction
is often the barrier to people understanding the
principle. Those that are "good at math" are often really those
who are "good at abstraction".
> 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
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