# Mathematical Notation: A Guide for Engineers and Scientists

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It's hrd, but it's not that hard. Character recognition is half the problem, the other half is context recognition - and there's abundant reference material available. I think we'll see 'copilot for math' aimed at AP/college level users within a few years.

It's not something that any human can do, bu something that any human can do with help. The first killer app will be 'I found this formula, please tell me how to read it.' Not in the sense of being a math tutor (although that may come, but simply in the sense of helping students to read it out loud, identify symbols like hats or bars and son so on. Most math books are terrible in this respect because they assume the student already knows all the notation or has someone who can lecture or tutor them about it. This massively inhibits solo learners who can't engage in the practice of 'teaching themselves' by verbally walking through formulae or discussing them fluently, unless they're lucky enough to have found a good reference for notation.

If you are not in the latter group, Wikipedia has OK summary articles on notation; and these two books offer variously concise and in-depth tools to built mathematical literacy:

https://www.amazon.com/Mathematical-Notation-Guide-Engineers...

https://www.amazon.com/Programmers-Introduction-Mathematics-...

[0] https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1466230525

https://www.amazon.com/Mathematical-Notation-Guide-Engineers...

Mathematical Notation: A Guide for Engineers and Scientists[1] to be useful, especially for reading CS and ML papers.[1] https://www.amazon.com/Mathematical-Notation-Guide-Engineers...

"Mathematical Notation: A Guide for Engineers and Scientists"

https://www.amazon.com/Mathematical-Notation-Guide-Engineers...

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1466230525 - Mathematical Notation: A Guide for Engineers and Scientists

"Mathematical Notation: A Guide for Engineers and Scientists"

https://www.amazon.com/Mathematical-Notation-Guide-Engineers...

[1] https://www.amazon.com/Mathematical-Notation-Guide-Engineers...

I'll accept the premise, but I still wonder if there are things that can be done to make it easier for someone. In my case, I've been trying to learn some more mathematics recently, and one of the most annoying things is coming across notation that isn't defined in a paper, presumably because "everyone" who can read the paper is familiar with the context and knows what the "skinny long arrow" means (good luck with that internet search). I wonder if there could be a wiki-like / forum / stackoverflowish site, which people could use to discuss and provide running commentary on a paper/book. Especially useful would be the ability for people to be able to annotate the paper by translating the formulas in to a formal language where you could track down the definition of the various operators, and try to figure out why the author used both of → and ↦ in the paper, when they both appear to be for functions/maps. (Just to preempt the easy objections, I'm not trying to suggest that each paper be formalized and proven in something like Isabelle/Coq).

In the ideal form, this website would allow you to see the paper or book page in question, and then see all the people who commented or had questions on each particular sentence (in the margin?). There could be filtering and voting so that experts could bypass the newbie commentary, etc..

I suppose part of my problem would be solved by getting a book like:

https://www.amazon.com/Mathematical-Notation-Guide-Engineers...

...(which I just came across when composing this message).

Maybe someone has a other suggestions for something like this? Maybe a site similar to this already exists?

And on a slightly related note to making things easier to learn, I think learning programming is much easier than math, because even though both are abstract, at least with programming you get a tangible, concrete thing (the program) that you can run and modify and extend, and the computer will tell you when you went wrong (e.g. won't compile, output result is unexpected, etc.).