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Message from discussion Learning Lisp

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More options May 10 2012, 4:34 am
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
From: Alex Mizrahi <alex.mizr...@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 10 May 2012 11:34:29 +0300
Local: Thurs, May 10 2012 4:34 am
Subject: Re: Learning Lisp

>> So I guess you meant that arithmetic is pretty much irrelevant for
>> solving physics problems just like typing is irrelevant for
>> programming :)
> No. You might be able to get away at school level without arithmetic (by
> which I really mean "being really fluent with numbers") but you get
> screwed later on.

Huh? At school level people work with concrete numbers, but on more
advanced level there are barely any numbers in formulas.

I don't know much above physics above school level, but I've got M.Sc.
applied math degree without being particularly good at arithmetics.
We had only a couple of courses which actually involved arithmetics, and
teachers admitted that they are not just computerized enough.
(Later I've actually developed a program which allowed students to solve
concrete linear optimization problems with numbers (to practice
understanding of the algorithm) without wasting their times on
calculations.)

> I know this because at a slightly different level it's what happened to
> me: I was lazy, didn't practice enough boring mathematical methods
> stuff, and that lack of fluency came back and bit me later.

Math =/= arithmetics.

Essential difference is that arithmetics in mechanical while math is
like puzzle-solving. We can offload the former to computers, but not the
later, as it requires actual thinking.

If you're confusing purely mechanical skills like typing and arithmetics
with problem solving, well, I understand how it bit you.