Experimental Computation and Visual Theorems
Long before current graphic, visualisation and geometric tools were available, John E. Littlewood (1885-1977) wrote in his delightful Miscellany:
A heavy warning used to be given [by lecturers] that pictures are not rigorous; this has never had its bluff called and has permanently frightened its victims into playing for safety. Some pictures, of course, are not rigorous, but I should say most are (and I use them whenever possible myself). [p. 53]
Over the past five years, the role of visual computing in my own research has expanded dramatically. In part this was made possible by the increasing speed and storage capabilities—and the growing ease of programming—of modern multi-core computing environments.
But, at least as much, it has been driven by my group’s paying more active attention to the possibilities for graphing, animating or simulating most mathematical research activities.
Keywordsvisual theorems experimental mathematics randomness normality of numbers short walks planar walks fractals protein confirmation
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