"The Computer as Crucible"

I finished this book a couple days ago. It's a short tour of how modern mathematical research is being assisted by experimentation - i.e using computer programs (such as Mathematica) to guide research and sometimes yield unexpected fruit. Borwein and Devlin cover all sorts of numerical relations and formulas, illustrating how computers helped out in the analysis. They also have a chapter (10) where they cover where computers can sometimes steer researchers down the wrong path.

I liked this book. It's a quick read, and you don't have to dive into all the integrals and summations to appreciate the process and the results. That helps, of course, but the authors do a good job of covering the process through their writing and not just through the formulas. It was also cool to see some of the bizarre relationships that exist between some of the more well-known transendentals out there (like pi).

* Posted at 12.09.2009 07:40:15 AM CST | Link *

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