The programming language market (was Re: [Haskell-cafe] Why functional programming matters

Dipankar Ray dipankar at
Sat Jan 26 16:16:38 EST 2008


this is a very interesting point you bring up, from my perspective.

I should point out that certain US-trained mathematicans (myself included) 
are actually quite jealous of the Russian math education system - they 
produce mathematicians who tend to be excellent in depth and breadth, who 
are both great computationally and in terms of facility with abstract 
formalism. Kontsevich, Drinfel'd, Gromov, Givental, Beilinson, the whole 
Gelfan'd school - these people are incredible on all fronts.

When I was an undergrad math major in the US, there was a clear culture of 
valueing proofs over computation. Integrals were sneered at; the more 
abstract the argument, the more representative of "true mathematics" it 
surely must be.

Now that I'm older I recognize that this is a special case of the 
teenager's way of declaring himself special: "I'm *better* than those 
idiot physicists who are so trivial as to care about integrals". Could be 
a recent convert to jazz talking about rock, or whatever.

Anyway, no we're older, and we realize that it would have helped our math 
understanding out quite a bit had we learned more physics, engineering, 
etc. Or had we learned 19th century mathematics well. The Russian program 
seems to do this, actually (at least for the sample set of kids that make 
it to the US).

What you're telling me below is that part of this emphasis on old-world 
mathematics might have come from an arrogance/bias against computers? 
Interesting - I'll have to think about this.

I've often heard from my Eastern European colleagues that they learned 
almost nothing about computer science back home...

On Sat, 26 Jan 2008, jerzy.karczmarczuk at wrote:

> You may perhaps remember (which you won't, because you are too young) the
> glorious times when computers became a reality even in Soviet Union. They
> had at that time plenty of really good mathematicians. But the totalitarian
> view of the science, plus the nationalistic proudness, made them (the rulers
> not the scientists...) think and say that with so many good people, there
> is no need to develop the programming automated tools. 
> They neglected the programming languages. Russia and their satellites became
> a kind of desert here not only because of economical problems... 
> Jerzy Karczmarczuk

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