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Saturday, January 16, 2010

Side effects of an activity ( i.e. studying mathematics )

I want to document the (side-)effects studying ( mathematics ) at the Open University has on life ( as well ). This is therefore the first post in the category 'Personal'. What is to be expected on beforehand? The study can have a positive or negative influence on your personal and / or worklife. I haven't measured it but I have spent at least 20 hours / week on mathematics related activities. There must be some measurable effect. I suppose there is. It is of course impossible to put everything in a blog entry so I'll just make a note of certain things. - I have worked in IT for many years in various roles. So that is what I am, I suppose, an IT consultant. Although when asked about my profession I simply can't say that I -am- an IT consultant. I -do- ( for example ) programming, that's it. I suppose that a doctor will say, "I -am- a doctor". There is a difference. Now onto the first fact I want to document.

Last year approximately around this time I was spending more time on learning Adobe Flex ( which has been renamed to Flash Builder I just found out, which triggered this blog-entry in a way ) with various back-ends like PHP / MySQL and BlazeDS / Oracle than I was spending on learning MST121 stuff and technologies required for the project I was working on at that time ( Oracle ADF / Struts ). - I started in september 2008 with MST121. I seriously committed myself to a number of years of mathematics study next to my job. Becayse I studied a lot of math in the years prior to 2008 as an amateur student I felt that MST121 was rather easy. Back to last year. MST121 was not easy. And MS221 was coming on top of it. The project I was working on needed more time and dedication of me. Something had to be done. I discussed matters with a colleague on the project and decided to take a week off to finish TMA02 of MST121. I worked extremely hard and managed an 88 / 100 for TMA02. So only after four months I experienced some of the impact the study had. I implemented quite a few changes by then.

I started to make my TMA's using TeXnicCenter which costs more time but definitely leads to higher marks. I also started to work on the TMA's asap. I just started and figured things out while working on the TMA. That gives a feeling of progress all along. I had to learn, re-learn Latex which I don't regret btw. Anyway. From february until june I was very busy on MST121 and MS221. Producing TMA after TMA. - My work on Flex crashed which I regret very much. I deeply like the ActionScript language. - I no longer work on the project I was working on early 2009. ( More about that in another blog-entry ).

I have always been  and always will be attracted to computer programming. I decided that this is one of my 'advantages' in math and that I should develop it further. Although I can work very well with Mathematica as a mathematics tool, and can even write small functions in it, I knew that the language had many secrets I hadn't discovered yet. I started to study the book  Introduction to Programming with Mathematica which eventually led to cognition after cognition and somehow brought me back to early 2009. Mathematica is a functional language, much like Lisp which is extremely powerful. It is called the 'programmable programming language' where code is as easily changed as data. Since my main skills are in Java I was delighted to find Clojure which has everything Java has and is also basically a Lisp dialect.


As far as studying is concerned I am awaiting the payments to show up at my Student Fee Account and the subseqyent shipment of the M208 and MT364 materials. I can't wait actually, I am ready. Until then I'll spend some more time on Clojure. - I am somehow hoping to find a way / define a project so that I can use Clojure preferably with Flash Builder to the benefit of my study.

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Mathematics: is it the fabric of MEST?
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To create new theorems and proofs
To boldly go where no man has gone before

(Raumpatrouille – Die phantastischen Abenteuer des Raumschiffes Orion, colloquially aka Raumpatrouille Orion was the first German science fiction television series. Its seven episodes were broadcast by ARD beginning September 17, 1966. The series has since acquired cult status in Germany. Broadcast six years before Star Trek first aired in West Germany (in 1972), it became a huge success.)