Summary of Interesting Things for the Week of June 17-21

In lieu of a more substantial blog post here is a brief narrative of some interesting things--at least interesting to me--that have come up in the past week. is a free, open-source project aimed at improving the way people find, read, and share academic papers.

Basically it's an overlay on top of the arxiv to discuss papers. A post by Timothy Gowers caught my attention as something I want to read into in more depth: Sidon sequences.

Homotopy Type Theory: The Book


I first got wind of this book at a math conference about a month ago. Mike Shulman presented a nice overview at the conference that immediately piqued my curiosity. The contents of the book aside, which are quite significant, the fact that it is was written collaboratively using GitHub in a very short time-frame is astounding. Mike does a great job here of describing the release of the book.

There's also an informative discussion over at tex.stackexchange regarding collaborative projects using Tex and VCS, such as git (and GitHub).

Algebraic Coding Theory


Speaking of open source books, though this one has a single author, Thomas Judson. The book is Abstract Algebra and is freely available online. Open source hosted on BitBucket. After studying Groups and Rings over the past year there were a few subjects that cross-over well with computer science that I wanted to delve deeper into. There are a few sections in the book devoted to connected applications and ideas in Cryptography and Algebraic/Polynomial Coding. I am in the process of going through these now.

Code Synesthesia

I am in the process of a blog post describing some code in C that I use for a linked-list interface. The code has a fair bit of verbosity in casts, pointers, referencing, etc. The way my mind now decomposes these statements, how I see them in my Mind's Eye, I want to convey to the reader. So I colour coded the statements as to how I visualize them when reading, e.g. In the Linux Kernel, the linked-list implementation uses the pointer offset to cast the list node type from within a block:

#define list_entry(ptr, type, member) \
  ((type *)((char *)(ptr)-(unsigned long)(&((type *)0)->member)))

I definitely don't see such pronounced colour but such statements do stand out to me in a manner suggestive of the way it is highlighted here. I didn't realize it was synesthesia-like until I came across the condition in a psychology book, just this morning. I think it's just the way I've come to quickly decode these statements. A sort-of internalized statement highlighting.

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