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What is 6÷2(2+1)? Battles about mathematical syntax.

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Sever Hall

Room 214

Cambridge, MA 02138

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STEM Club Seminar Series: What is 6÷2(2+1)? Battles about mathematical syntax
Instructor: Oliver Knill
Location: Harvard University, Sever Hall 214
Live streaming: https://zoom.us/j/6286040219

In any science, ambiguities in terminology, notations or definitions can lead to frustrations, misunderstandings
or errors. Even in mathematics, syntax ambiguities have led to heated arguments and discussions. Even today, battles are still fought in social media about seemingly clear expressions like
6÷2(2+1). We discuss new and old examples in mathematics and other sciences and place them in a cultural, historical and computer science context.
How did notations and rules evolve and standardize? How does a computer today understand these notions? How is it possible that humans and machines often read things differently? How do we proceed as a teacher or scientist if there is no consensus?

More info: http://www.math.harvard.edu/~knill/pedagogy/ambiguity

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Sever Hall

Room 214

Cambridge, MA 02138

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