The Order of the Lambda
July 4, 2012
After thinking and writing about forming a study group, I finally decided to give it a try. I advertised it on meetup.com, calling the group “The Order of the Lambda.” My vision is to create a club devoted to weekly study of the most beautiful and abstract ideas of mathematics and computer science.
I wanted to focus on three guding principles that I think are sometimes lacking in meetups:
- Deeds, not words: meetings are a focused time to do exercises.
- Timeless knowledge: study classics, not fads.
- Uncompromising clarity: learn to understand and teach.
We have had several meetings now, and I am proud of our group and our progress. Members have been eager to explore the material in a way I never encountered in a formal classroom setting. Everyone takes turns at the whiteboard explaining ideas and trying examples.
A picture from our first meeting.
We chose to start our studies with An Introduction to Category Theory by Harold Simmons. Categories were developed in the 1940s as a general language for describing diverse phenomena in mathematics. They have subsequently been applied in programming language design and semantics. It’s a broad and beautiful subject and I think it forms a natural place to begin our journey.