On mathoverflow.net

This has been one of the first attempts aimed at addressing the need of professional live mathematicians to answer math questions of various nature. I have seen famous people and well established mathematicians all over the world eager to help out with their computational prowess. It awards people with points showing how many questions they have asked and how many good answers they’ve provided. Overall, I recommend anyone with a truly urgent, and well thought-of math question to go venture on there and see if the answer is already known to humanity, maybe a couple of hundred years ago, yet was so deeply buried in the research pile that only the most seasoned mathematicians is capable of unearthing them. A couple of nice features to point out about the website. First it uses latest math displaying technology on html, called jsmath, which enables one to see the post-processed form of the latex code. This is in contrast with wordpress.com, where math symbols are processed into picture form first. I do not yet know the advantage over the picture conversion style of displaying, but I presume it facilitates searching and copy pasting. Another nice thing about the forum/google wave project is that it gives users certain right to define new category of mathematical topics. This ensures that the site will evolve as the interest of the users grow. So it’s like a self-sustainable enterprise that will never fall out of fashion. People gain certain editing power also, which further corroborates the previous assertion. One final thing I noticed about the site is that it is well maintained by brilliant youthful mathematicians who not only help with the initial setup of the site, but also constantly sacrifice their time to edit others’ question entries, correcting latex errors, and making sure that the forum is uncontaminated by spams or uneducated questions. I do not mean to discriminate against those questions, because I myself sometimes ask things that appear obvious. But there exists a different category of people who ask things that simply defy aristotelian reasoning. And because this site is meant to help mathematicians or serious users of advanced mathematics to ease their ways into learning certain tricky aspects of mathematics, it should stay focused like it is right now.


About aquazorcarson

math PhD at Stanford, studying probability
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