Debate on... Math and Computer Science [Home Thread]

By not being a mathematician, it’s interesting when people philosophically discuss topics where I was always “what, wasn’t that obvious?” :sweat_smile:. Then you search it and it’s a whole new hole.

With a random google search, it seems 0 just arrived in Europe in the 12th century! That seems like yesterday for numbers no?

What is the origin of zero? How did we indicate nothingness before zero? - Scientific American.


I gave a quick search at here and these are the ones that got my interest:

*Regression Analysis
*Intro to Physics light, sound, and waves

*Machine learning

However, if I could guess, these topics are more advanced than we proposed as introductory (e.g., simple math problems or intro to programming). Also, after a (super) brief search on, it seems even there, a few of these books are only physical and not available for kindle. So, if we go for that, we would have to figure out how.

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Looking at the table of contents (Japanese / English) , I feel like Linear Algebra might be a good starting point, since there’s an early chapter devoted to teaching fundamentals of mathematics like sets and functions, which might be useful in general.

For more CS resources, here are two I found:
Progate - a website for learning to code, the first 18 lessons are available for free. I feel like this might be suitable for the “short online resources” section if we only tackle a few lessons, or we could go through the whole course.

Intro to CS MOOC - this one is from edx and more of a longer resource (it says 4 weeks on the website but I feel like it would be better to take our time, maybe 8-12 weeks?), but maybe not a beginner resource (or maybe I’m just afraid of having to deal with my subpar listening skills :sweat_smile:)

Sorry for not using the template but I’m in a bit of a hurry, I can use the proper format in a later post :sweat_smile:


Well there’s some history attached to it, which typically comes down that 0 was a confusing concept and it took hundreds of years to get used to the idea. After people saw how useful it could be they started embracing it. Negative numbers and complex numbers had something similar going on.

Then there’s a matter of taste which comes from personal beliefs. Had one teacher argue that if 0 was such a natural number then why don’t we count from 0 as kids.

In a sense it doesn’t matter if you do or don’t include 0 in your definition. If you need it you can always add it into your set. What matters is that whenever you use a certain definition, especially one that differs from convention, you convey that information. Then it is clear to the reader what you mean in this context. Typically mathematicians use definitions that are handy for them, so they can proof theorems directly from them.


As for myself I mainly favor the “introductory level” on the Japanese language level. At least for the first couple of weeks. Simply to familiarize ourselves with the vocabulary terms and general wording / grammar that is used :slight_smile:

According to the website they do have transcripts. So a possible way to go with it could be:

  • watch a video → see what you’ve understood
  • go through the transcript → together as book club
  • watch the video again → see what you now can understand

And I agree, as long as no one wants to get certified we can simply find our own pace.

With the current suggestions we can do the following:

  • go through the suggested manga → 135 pages in total → we split it into multiple weeks → would be nice to finish, in case we decide for this one
  • go through the edx course → multiple videos → we split it into multiple weeks with a pace that suits us → we can try out the first video and see how it goes
  • go through a couple of lessons on prog-8 → usually the first lesson per course is free → we can cover many different topics but not in depth → one lesson per week → we can stop and switch to other resources easily

Time wise: depending on geographical or cultural background a couple of holidays are coming up in April. Due to the ongoing pandemic this may not include celebrations on a big scale but you may still want to reserve some time for family or digital meetups with friends. Is there any days / weeks you wish to pause reading sessions? Or do you feel fine to schedule it in?

  • As this thread is public to the internet… you can also drop me a message in my introductory post in the campfire section. So you don’t have to reveal personal stuff here :slight_smile:

I’d just like to point out that edX, unlike Coursera, doesn’t allow unlimited access to courses for as long as they’re online and not paywalled. You can’t endlessly audit a course and only get back to it when you want to or have the time. Once the time you’ve been given for auditing is up, you have to pay to maintain access. (Apparently you can also re-enrol for the next session, but I’m not sure how that works.) I think the free audit duration depends on the content of the course, but if I remember correctly, I was granted just two months’ access to the Japanese Pronunciation for Communication course by Waseda University: more than enough time to finish the course, I think, but only if you are regularly invested and have few other commitments. We’ll need to keep the time limit in mind if we decide to do an edX course together. I think other MOOC platforms are more forgiving, generally. It’s just a pity that Coursera doesn’t seem to have any courses in Japanese at all.


I’m seconding the Progate suggestion. It was recently suggested to me on the coding server I mod, and it looks pretty good for learning some coding vocab, especially if you know a bit about coding already.


Thanks for point that out. This is something to keep in mind if we want to go with edx.

The course seems to be available until end of July so it might be possible to try it out maybe in May or June?

I added a poll in post #3 to decide on our first CS related reading. The options are based on the current suggestions.

In general, sorry for not being perfect host these days… I’m kind of buried beneath work :see_no_evil: It will get better at the weekend… at least this is what I’m telling myself :sweat_smile:

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Looks like we will learn about computer hardware and how they can aid in everyday life first. Conpyûta no himitsu has a variety of topics and might be good resource to familiarize with different terms and expressions. It starts with a computer history related chapter, covers technical aspects like computer architecture and networking, before it introduces different use cases for computers like smart cities, digital education or health care systems. Hope you are excited :slight_smile:

Table of Contents (Spoiler)

A very brief summary of the covered topics. My translations might be a little bit liberate… We can fix them during our first week of reading :slight_smile:

Prologue - There are a lot of computers around him!

Chapter 1 - What’s a Computer?

  • History of computers
  • Types of Computers
  • “Wapro” - A computer to make documents

Chapter 2 - Computer Architecture

  • “Under the hood” (Inner parts of a computer)
  • The binary system
  • The way until notebooks

Chapter 3 - Networking Computers

  • Usage of the internet
  • What’s a smart city?
  • Danger that occur with/in the internet and counter measures

Chapter 4 - Computer with great importance

  • “K” - A super computer
  • Upcoming super computers

Chapter 5 - Computer to aid in everyday life

  • Computers to aid telescopes
  • Digital school education
  • Computer aided societies

Epiloque - Envisioning Computers

  • Ikeda Toshio - Mining natural resources with/for computers
  • What is HCIS? (Health Care Information Systems)
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I couldn’t find any print versions of this book on Amazon or CDJapan (there’s another コンピューターのひみつ that might be a heavily upgraded version with more chapters) but the version linked in the poll is available for free as an eBook here! I hope it’s not just a short promo but I couldn’t find anything, so I’m gonna hope it stays free.

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Thanks for sharing the eBook link. I created a thread for the book club reading sessions: パソコンの秘密 (Math and CS book club) and added both links in the intro post.

My suggestion would be ~one chapter per week which would make it seven weeks in total to go through the book. To balance it out with some math topics we can read it bi-weekly as well. How do others think about it?

I think weekly would be better in my opinion, seven weeks is a decent time span I think.

I also think doing some advertising in the Beginner Book Club for this reading might be good, since the book seems to be on a decent level for beginners. That way we might get some more people to join us who maybe aren’t checking this thread.

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I’ll be pretty busy for the next four weeks, so I might sit this one out. I’ll try to drop by from time to time in the reading thread though.

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Would this thread be interested in learning some more basic concepts? Here is a site that explains elementary and middle school subjects (and a bit of math 1 for high school) made for native Japanese school kids. I’ve watched one video on their elementary school 5th grade math section just to check it out and it seems really easy to understand.


That looks easier to navigate than NHK for School just based on the layout. Thanks for the link!


Thanks for sharing your opinion. I’m happy to go with the one way or the other.

Thanks for suggesting it. Yes, beginner level seems to be suitable. I’ll check in with @Micki senpai and maybe tag a few more durtles who (I think) are interested in CS related topics. → In case you or others have ideas about advertising feel free to go for them :slight_smile:

Thanks for sharing. No worries at all, please take your time.

Thanks for sharing the link. As they have other topics, like kokugo or shakai studies as well, this resource might be interesting to advertise in the The Ultimate Additional Japanese Resources List! thread as well :slight_smile: @Kraits senpai: how do you feel?

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Oh yes, I was just looking at this the other day. I’ve just put it in the General practice and tests section. Thanks for the suggestion!


The current reading is going into its last week so it is time to open the votes for what to read next :slight_smile:

Since we read about computers and some of their use case for the last couple of weeks, how do feel about something math related next? Do you like for going something longer again or maybe couple of short articles / exercises instead?

Also, I’d like to propose a small break for maybe a week as I have some high workload coming up for the next two weeks. At least, in case you’d like to go for another book.

How do you guys feel?


Math sounds good to me! Usually I’m in favour of books but I’m trying to save some money (not a fan of ebooks, and constantly ordering books from Japan is quite expensive) so I’d prefer some kind of online resource.

Does anyone know if there are any popular science blogs or magazines in Japanese that also cover math topics? I thought that reading a few articles from something similar to Quanta Magazine would be fun but I’m not that good at googling stuff in Japanese yet so I’m not sure if that’s an option.

A break would definitely be nice, we could also go for a two week break if you want to.


Selectable, copy-pastable text, I guess? (I don’t have any particular resources in mind at the moment though. I wonder if NHK for School has high school level stuff that isn’t hard to understand. I think that would be a good balance between being intellectually stimulating and not too advanced for Japanese learners.)

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