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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Mathematics on the internet

An extremely valuable internet resource are the Stack Exchange user forums. No matter what your level ( from beginner to professor ) you'll find your peers at Stack Exchange. Well, at least if you are a programmer or a mathematician. There are more professions active though. I am working on a TMA ( when am I =not= working on a TMA? ) and wanted to do something in LaTeX I hadn't done before. I posted my question here. at the TeX user forum. As you can see, I got a reply real soon. Isn't that amazing? I posted other questions in the Mathematica forum with the same result. People are communicating, exchanging ideas, helping each other in different fields, at all levels all over the planet. In a sense this is how the internet got started but this trend is still accelerating. It is phenomenal.

Gauss, Riemann, Hardy, Ramanujan just to name a few mathematicians, had no internet to benefit from. Hardy once sent a letter to Ramanujan and had to wait weeks ( if not months ) for an answer. Alex Jones, a master in the usage of internet media, recently said at a lecture in New York that the speed in which the internet is developing is still increasing. Stack Exchange is less than three years old. Twitter is about that age ( if I am correct. ). At the website The Sage Notebook you can use free, online a state-of-the-art mathematics workbench. This is possible since, five years or so. With Wolfram Alpha we have instant access to many of the features of Mathematica ( and more ). Wolfram Alpha is less than three years old. - From that perspective ( ... ) I say: we live in exciting times!

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