Math proofs and programming

Pascal Cuoq - 20th Jan 2012

Speaking of John Carmack, in his twitter feed, he notes:

In hindsight it is surprising that I disliked doing math proofs in high school despite already being a programmer.

It says a lot about the French education system that I started teaching myself programming at 6 and officially switched from mathematics to computer science as a 20-year-old first-year ENS student. And I know why I disliked doing math proofs most of that time too: for exactly the same reason I would have disliked programming if it had been done with paper and ink.

As a 6-year-old child I would run the BASIC program I was typing (either from a listing or making it up as I was going along) every five or so typed statements. Try that with a math proof.

Pascal Cuoq
20th Jan 2012