Mathematicians versus the Silicon Age: Who Wins?

Sheldon Axler

This paper was published in Mathematical Adventures for Students and Amateurs, edited by David F. Hayes and Tatiana Shubin, Mathematical Association of America (2004), 17-25.

Abstract: Mathematicians invented computers. Computers then changed the way mathematics progresses. Have computers made mathematicians, and the techniques they developed over the past few thousand years, obsolete? Are mathematicians merely trying to preserve their jobs by sticking with outmoded requirements, such as insisting on rigorous proofs even in the face of overwhelming numeric evidence? This expository paper, suitable for bright high school students, discusses these issues by presenting some examples of the competition between mathematicians and computers.

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The book Mathematical Adventures for Students and Amateurs (edited by David F. Hayes and Tatiana Shubin) that contains this article also contains 18 other expository mathematics articles.
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