Back to Python (and C#)!

Simon was preoccupied with vector functions for most of the day on Saturday, compiling what, at first site, looked like a monstrously excessive code in Processing (he recycled some of it from the Processing forum, wrote some it himself and translated the rest from Codea). Originally, he was gong to use the code to expand the 3D vector animation he made into a roller-coaster project he saw on Codea and wanted to create in Processing, but got stuck with the colors. What happened next was fascinating. In the evening I all of a sudden saw Simon write in a new online editor Repl.it – he was translating the vector code into… Python! He hadn’t used Python for quite a while. I don’t know what triggered it, maybe Daniel Shiffman noting last night during the live stream session that “normal people use Python for machine learning”. Simon also said he had sone some reading about Python at Python for Beginners and Tree House!

He isn’t done with his project in Python yet, but here is the link to it online: https://repl.it/JAeQ/13

Here Simon explains what he is writing in Python:

Simon did the 2D, 3D and 4D classes but eventually got stuck with the matrix class in Python. He then opened his old Xamarin IDE and wrote the 2D, the 3D and the 4D classes in C#. In the video below he briefly shows his C# sketch and talks about Cross Product in general:

And this is a video he recorded about vector functions (in Processing, Java) the day before:

Coding Train

Yesterday Simon got a parcel from the US: Simon’s hero, NYU professor Daniel Shiffman sent him a beautiful gift – a Coding Train shirt! Coding Train is Daniel Shiffman’s channel on YouTube where he records tutorials, coding challenges and live streams. Basically, Coding Train has been Simon’s main learning source in Programming, Math and Physics (and English!) for months.

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At MuHKA

Visited the reopened museum of contemporary art in Antwerpen MuHKA this afternoon. Simon enjoyed a few graphical pieces, especially when allowed to take photos of them with my mobile.

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Three pictures taken by Simon:

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Definitions of “the Truth”:

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In the children’s “Salon”, we loved the survival-on-the-Moon game: you had to answer the questions about which items would help you survive on the Moon.

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Old men from the 19th century

Almost every evening, before going to bed, we are reading books and Simon mostly prefers math adventures. Russian author Vladimir Levshin (1904-1984) published several books about geometry, algebra and math history, with numbers and letters as the leading characters. Most chapters contain complicated riddles that we solve along the way. Sometimes, Simon gets up to fetch some paper and pencils to write down what he thinks the formula or the geometrical pattern should be for a particular story. And because Levshin’s books often mention famous mathematicians of the past, I see Simon learn about history through math. What he knows about Ancient Greece or the 1970’s mainly comes from his interest in early math and geometry or the dawn of computer science.

A couple days ago we were reading about George Boole, yet another example of someone way ahead of his time (200 years to be precise), the inventor of Boolean algebra. Simon was so excited when he recognized his name, and the name of Georg Cantor, a German mathematician, whose work was just as shocking to his contemporaries as Boole’s work was. Simon recognized both of their names because of his programming. This way, a connection was traced in his mind between these two 19th century men and today’s cutting edge projects in Java and JavaScript.

Here Simon was drawing his impressions of Cantor’s set theory, inspired by a passage about him in Levshin’s book:

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Passage on Boole and Cantor:

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Another book by Levshin we have recently read, about Algebra:

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A chapter from that book talking about finding a sum of all the members of an arithmetic progression:

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Simon stormed out the bedroom and came back with a sheet of paper where he wrote down the formula, before we read about it in the book (he often tries to come up with his own formulas):

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The same formula in the book:

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Looking for math everywhere

Funny how, even when training some pretty straightforward (and boring) arithmetic or Dutch reading, Simon tries to introduce more complex notions like here,

the floor, ceiling and round functions while solving a simple arithmetic word problem:

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and lexicographic order, while sequencing Dutch story sentences:

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For Mom’s birthday 

For my birthday, Simon made me some Fireworks:

He made them look even better the following day, by adding trails:

The code is Simon’s translation into Lua (the language of the Codea app) of Daniel Shiffman’s Fireworks Coding Chalenge (JavaScript).

We’ve also thoroughly enjoyed our birthday weekend at Brugge and especially Knokke. Fine to discover such fabulous beaches in the neighborhood. Simon loves water. Perhaps, because it is somehow related to the fluidity and of his mind and because of the freedom water provides to his body.

On Social Development

Last night Simon had this social experience like never before: for the first time in his life, he followed a long (nearly 3 hrs) live programming session and actively participated in the live chat, alongside hundreds of other programmers (most of them university students or professionals). Maybe I should add that the tutorial was about algorithms for neural networks and a lot of it was calculus-related. As the session progressed I watched Simon dance in excitement. Although it was pretty late and he hadn’t completed all the bedtime rituals (like daily piano practice and bath) I let him stay online while I went to the children’s bedroom to read to his little sister and we continuously heard his euphoric yells from the living room. Then, after the session ended, he rushed to me, his whole face glowing with happiness. He suggested something in the chat and Daniel Shiffman (the brilliant assistant professor from NYU whose courses Simon follows on a daily basis and who also gave that live session) mentioned his name and said it was a great suggestion! I started a warm shower for Simon and heard him enthusiastically reflect upon everything that had just happened while he was showering. He was talking to himself out loud in English.

I think Simon is going to follow all the weekly live sessions from now on.

This has made me think that it’s probably time to realize that to Simon, the social opportunities that the technological age offers are much more real than they may seem to an outside observer. And maybe we, his parents, should stop worrying about not being able to find mentors and peers who can match his interest and depth in our geographical area. Being Simon’s mom I begin to realize like never before that there’s a whole world out there.

Slack Chat Neural Networks 2 Jun 2017 2

Slack Chat Neural Networks 2 Jun 2017