Albert W. Tucker
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- I think that mathematics will have to become more and more algorithmic if it is going to be active and vital in the creative life. This means it is necessary to rethink what we teach, in school, in college, and in graduate school. In our emphasis on deductive reasoning and rigor we have been following the Greek tradition, but there are other traditions—Babylonian, Hindu, Chinese, Mayan—and these have all followed a more algorithmic, more numerical procedure. After all, the word algorithm, like the word algebra, comes from Arabic. And the numerals we use come from Hindu mathematics via the Arabs. We can’t regard Greek mathematics as the only source of great mathematics, and yet somehow in the last half century there has been such emphasis on the greatness of “pure” mathematics that the other possible forms of mathematics have been put down. I don’t mean that it is necessary to put down the rigorous Greek style mathematics, but it is necessary to raise up the status of the numerical, the algorithmic, the discrete mathematics.
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