Why Is A Math Proof Like A Unit Test?

A session at GoGaRuCo 2012

Friday 14th September, 2012

4:45pm to 5:15pm (PST)

Breaking concepts down into logical chunks, tackling them in isolation. Sound familiar? This is how we write tests, but it's also how a mathematician writes proofs. Exploring the similarities and differences between the two can bring us back to our profession's mathematical roots. In this talk, we will look at mathematical proofs and ruby code side-by-side in an effort to uncover why these sorts of puzzles are appealing. I'll explain a few mathematical methods through Ruby code, but don't worry, no math background is required. We'll examine summation notation—the mathematical loop, as well as the multiple ways of defining the Binomial Coefficient. (Refresher: remember n choose k?) After that, I'll translate a basic proof by induction into pseudo-RSpec in order to highlight the similarities between writing a test and writing a proof, such as the existence of stubs. When you leave this talk, you'll have a better understanding of what you love about test driving, and perhaps you'll learn some math in the process.

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Daniela Wellisz

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Time 4:45pm5:15pm PST

Date Fri 14th September 2012

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