Category Archives: opinion

Some thoughts on proof assistants

A proof assistant is a computer program that takes as input a proof in a formal language and outputs true if and only if the proof is a valid proof in a formal system. An example would be first-order logic with its inference rules. Proof assistants are supposed to tell you whether your proof is […]


Beamer vs reveal.js for math presentations

I've used Beamer to prepare all my slide-based math presentations, and so does virtually everyone else. It works pretty well with minimal effort. It even has sensible defaults to dissuade users from creating walls of text, although I've definitely seen my share of walls of text. Recently there has been a craze of JavaScript-powered presentation […]


On reasonably sure proofs

I happened to come across a 1993 opinion piece, Theorems for a price: Tomorrow's semi-rigorous mathematical culture by Doron Zeilberger. I think it's a rather fascinating document as it questions the future of mathematical proof. Its basic thesis is that some time in the future of mathematics, the expectation of proof will move to a […]


Art vs. science in mathematical discovery

Is mathematics science or art? Mathematics resembles science. In math, data and examples are collected and hypotheses made. There is a difference in the hypotheses of math versus science: in the former they can be proved, but that could be considered a small point. But I have met mathematicians who don't consider themselves scientists, and […]


Three changes to mathematics I'd like to see

Three things I would like to see happen with the practice of mathematics in the next ten years are: Computer proof assistants… …that are easy to use for the typical mathematician. Why? Mathematics is expanding tremendously and some areas are getting quite abstract. Some areas are so complex that I even wonder if anyone in […]



Are we running out of problems?

A senior mathematician who will remain nameless recently said in a talk, "there is nothing left to prove". In context, he was referring to the possibility that we are running out of math problems. People who heard laughed, and first-year calculus students might disagree. Was it said as a joke? Because of the infinite nature […]