Information Theory: 400 years in the making.

Mathematics is a language. We use it to describe and quantify things. Our first exposure to the language is when we learn to describe counts of things: one apple, two cats, three dogs, etc. Later in life, we use Mathematics innocuously: when we order a pizza, we order a certain diameter – 16″. Our sub-concious mathematician, visualizes the area of the pizza as π*(16″/2)². It then splits the pizza eight-ways and figures out that we probably need another large pizza to feed the guests on game night. In our day-to-day lives, this deductive language is never spoken except when it renders a result (we need another pizza) or succinctly describes an event (a 16″ pizza). We are out of practice when it comes to communicating with each other using our innate mathematical language. And so like a student that learns French grammar for a year and is dropped in Paris, a student with less than a year of college calculus finds himself incapable of communicating more than his name and awkwardly revealing how English is his first (and only) language when dropped into a graduate Maths course. Read the rest of this entry »