Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Real Math (symbolic math, like mathematicians do) and a spreadsheet-like feedback loop

See https://slott56.github.io/replacing-a-spreadsheet/. This document is really exciting (to me).

This is still shaky -- I'm still learning -- but it's a very cool combination of Python components sympy and Jupyter Lab. As a bonus, Jupyter{Book} appeals to me as a writer. There's an aspect of literate programing in this that is also very appealing.

The core is this.

  • I have a problem that involves complex math. Well, it's complex to me. It involves integrals, so there's a lot of space for confusion.
  • This is applied math, and I want to plug in numbers and get answers. 

In effect, I want a spreadsheet.

I don't want rows-and-columns. I do want cells, though, that's a nice organizing principle.

I don't want the goofy little formulas in a spreadsheet. I want real Python code.

I want the spreadsheet-like feature of computations that depend on inputs and are re-run when the inputs change. This has been the core value proposition for spreadsheets since the days of VisiCalc. It's a great UX in general. We just need to get past the rows-and-columns.

The problem with most spreadsheet apps is the limited capability for more serious math. 

Which is why the sympy + Jupyter Lab was a blinding revelation to me.

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