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Michi’s blog » archive for July, 2007

 New additions to the blogosphere

  • July 29th, 2007
  • 10:20 pm

… or another bout of more-or-less shameless self-promotion.

I took the initiative, and invited some of the relevant Powers That Be to start an *_\infty-themed group blog: The Infinite Seminar.

I also perceived a lack of blog aggregators, so I started Planet Math Blogseminars to aggregate group blogs in mathematics.

While I was at it, I bought the blogseminar.net domain. I’d be happy to allocate subdomains of this to decent enough blogs that wants in on it.

 13 on a friday

  • July 27th, 2007
  • 10:35 am

The new carnival of mathematics is up over at PolyMathematics.
Yours truly is featured, but other than that, there seems to be heavy overweight on the educator side.

Do we have the volume for a Carnival of Research Mathematics?

 AucTeX hackery

  • July 17th, 2007
  • 3:16 pm

One thing that has been bugging me for quite some time with AucTeX (which I love, in general) has been that I wasn’t able to reset the bloody hot key for math mode input.

The original setting maps to Shift-key left of backspace-space, since it’s an accent key which I occasionally use for .. y’know .. accenting letters, and thus don’t want immediate output from. And M-x set-variable LaTeX-math-abbrev-prefix didn’t do anything close to what I expected.

Today, I, on a whim, go and search the auctex mailing list archives for this. And lo and behold! One of the first messages tells me that I need to do M-x customize-variable LaTeX-math-abbrev-prefix. So I do, and it has my changes already, but not committed, so after committing the changes I try it out and it just works!

This should speed up usage of Emacs for me a bit.

 In-between times

  • July 17th, 2007
  • 12:25 pm

These are the times that eat my productivity. The times that ensure that entire days go by and I afterwards feel nothing have happened at all. These times that are too short for productive work – where I know from the beginning that I cannot sit down and do something – too little time for reading, for coding, for writing, for .. well .. anything. And yet, while trying to get through them, they are obviously too long. An hour here, an hour there, interspersed with lunch, then coffee, then a seminar, and all of a sudden out of an 8 hour workday, the only vaguely productive thing that got done was hearing the seminar.

Fragmentation kills my productivity. With a fragmented workday, I have the time available neatly chopped up in pieces of free time that fall in-between. That are too short, but yet cover almost the entire workday.

 Today seems to be a day for posting…

  • July 12th, 2007
  • 8:20 pm

ComplexZeta asked me about the origins of my intuitions for homological algebra in my recent post. The answer got a bit lengthy, so I’ll put it in a post of its own.

I find Weibel very readable – once the interest is there. It’s a good reference, and not as opaque as, for instance, the MacLane + Hilton-Stammbach couplet can be at points.

The interest, however, is something I blame my alma mater for. Once upon a time, Jan-Erik Roos went to Paris and studied with Grothendieck. When he got back, he got a professorship at Stockholm University without having finished his PhD. He promptly made sure that nowadays (when he’s an Emeritus stalking the halls) there is not a single algebraist at Stockholm University without some sort of intuition for homological algebra.

So, my MSc advisor, J

 Slumps and crunches

  • July 12th, 2007
  • 7:59 pm

This term of teaching ends next week.

When I got back from T’bilisi, just over a month ago, I had research leads that I expect will end in three different publications.

I was slated with writing one LARP report for a swedish gaming magazine, and a series of various popular mathematics articles for the local student-run mathematics magazine here.

All in all, very many things converged this June/July for me.

It has started paying off though – the gaming article is published, and yesterday I submitted the first of the T’bilisi articles to the Journal of Homotopy and Related Structures as well as to the arXiv.

I now am listed on the arXiv with three papers, out of which one is already published, one is rejected (not unjustly so), and one is just submitted for review.

 The why and the what of homological algebra

  • July 12th, 2007
  • 7:35 pm

I seem to have become the Goto-guy in this corner of the blogosphere for homological algebra.

Our beloved Dr. Mathochist just gave me the task of taking care of any readers prematurely interested in it while telling us all just a tad too little for satisfaction about Khovanov homology.

And I received a letter from the Haskellite crowd – more specifically from alpheccar, who keeps on reading me writing about homological algebra, but doesn’t know where to begin with it, or why.

I have already a few times written about homological algebra, algebraic topology and what it is I do, on various levels of difficulty, but I guess – especially with the carnival dry-out I’ve been having – that it never hurts writing more about it, and even trying to get it so that the non-converts understand what’s so great about it.

So here goes.

 Blogging seminars – a new fad!

  • July 6th, 2007
  • 11:46 pm

They simply do not end. Now, Cornell grads and pre-grads have started the Everything Seminar – which has absolutely brilliant discussions about the forbidden minor theorem in graph theory as well as a fascinating overview over constructing homological algebra as embedded in the theory of modules over \mathbb C[\epsilon]=\mathbb C[x]/(x^2).

Connected to this comes the observation that by constructing calculus using the tricks used in synthetic differential geometry, we end up with – again – modules over \mathbb C[\epsilon], and some very fascinating discussions are sparked as to subtle and interesting connections between these two viewpoints!

How on earth I am going to keep up with the interesting sprouting discussion group blogs I shall never know. Maybe it’s getting to the point where we’ll start an A_\infty-blog?