Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Lambda Versus Delta

:: algebra student asking herself:  what's next for me? ::

I suppose you could say this minor semantic innovation or marketing wrinkle is about leveling the playing field.

In calling differential calculus "delta calculus" in contrast to the already-named "lambda calculus" we're giving the public an easy mnemonic, a hook into the sometimes obscure Math Wars.

The first battle, which the computer science camp won, was to get more computer-related content recognized as credit-worthy along the math track.

The second battle, coming up, is to introduce a fork around algebra, such that going forward students have, in broad outline, these two tracks:  lambda and delta.

Currently, "delta calc" is the road hog du jour, with "lambda calc" the competing underdog, angling for more bandwidth / market share / attention.

The CS crowd needs to stay with its strong suit:  graphics and visualizations.  We get that with the network / polyhedron of nodes and edges, the stuff of graph theory and graph databases.

Stay tuned.

For further reading:
recent posting to maththinking-l
followup on math-teach (Sept 29, 2014)