Both Mathematics and Computer Science of the University of Leicester are threatened by redundancy. This continues efforts by the University of Leicester leadership team to transform a higher education institution that once was a contender for the best university outside of the elite Russell group into a place where one can only get vocational training. I had joined Leicester in 2002 and it was an excellent place, great colleagues, fun to work at, open to creating new degrees (eg in software engineering) and had top research in many subjects. Maybe I should have paid more attention to the fact that they had then just abolished philosophy and were about to get rid of their music department. Early warning signs?
In 2016, they tried for the first time to transform mathematics from a successful research department with world class academics to service teaching. They also closed physics at the time, which they were able to hide somewhat behind keeping astronomy.
I left in 2018, not least because I couldn’t trust a management who seemed to consider their staff and faculty mainly as cost factors. I should add here that Computer Science has been a profitable department for a long time. These redundancies are not driven by economic necessity. Rather they look like an attack on specific areas of research that are deemed unfashionable in the eyes of current management.
If you want to support academic freedom consider signing the two petitions to save pure mathematics and computer science at the University of Leicester. (What the uni calls Foundations of Computing includes almost everything outside of AI/Data Science and HCI: algorithms, programming languages, software engineering, concurrency, …).
Both natural and programming languages are recursive. In German also words are recursive, for example, we can make words such Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz. There is no longest word in German, much as there is no longest sentence in English. Btw, there is an interesting debate about whether Piraha is a language in which the length of sentences is also bounded (but the lengths of stories would still be unbounded).
If we want to survive on this planet, we need to respect planetary boundaries and transition to a sustainable economy. To achieve this, we need to get away from the idea that a good economy is a growing economy. Growth is not sustainable in the long run. Even a modest growth of 2% per year equals growth of 724% over 100 years and of 1,995,657% over 500 years. Much more on this is in Dasgupta’s Review on The Economics of Biodiversity.
Programming Languages (Fall 2021)
Compiler Construction (Spring 2021)
A short course on automata and Haskell
A short course on monads in mathematics and Haskell (ongoing, under construction)
Governor Newsome finally finds clear words (Sep 11). Since then we are having wildfires for the third time this season in Orange County. Pictures.
Otherwise, climate change is not really a topic in these elections. Why? There are many reasons: that Merchants of Doubts are undermining the trust in science, that Our democracy no longer represents the people, that the fossil fuel industry dominates politics, that the mainstream media are biased towards climate change deniers, the rise of corporate power.
But, in fact, keeping the fossil fuels in the ground is not enough, what we really should debate is how to achieve a sustainable economy. There are many new ideas … but I don’t hear people talking about it.
Anyway, thanks to Governor Newsome for his tweet:
Record breaking temperatures. Record droughts.— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) September 11, 2020
We’re in a CLIMATE CRISIS.
And what we're experiencing in California is coming to every community -- all across the United States of America -- unless we get our act together on climate change. pic.twitter.com/BulCzB7tKs
The carbon clock below shows how much time we have left if we want to limit CO2 in the atmosphere to a value compatible with 1.5, respecticely 2.0, degree Celsius warming compared to pre-industrial levels.
See climate change with your own eyes. The longer we wait, the higher the costs. Or is there no action because we have already given up?
Comments? Send an email to akurz at chapman dot edu.