Mathematics, Universal Language
Universal Language

Language is such an essential aspect of our existence. We cease to exist the moment we seize our communication. Twin powers of information and communication have become the de facto drivers in our existence and engagement.  

Language is the vital link that revitalizes our social engagement. We are social animals and we live in a networked society. We need communication channels. It is a civil society. We need to be civilized. We need to communicate. We need to converse. We need to understand. We need to appreciate. These paraphernalia needs the lever of language. We have a structure to construct a language. There are different components to the communication construction. We have so many different scaffolding to support. There are spoken language. There are over 6500 spoken languages in the world. There are written language. There are local language. There are global language. The languages gets classified into genealogical or topological. Each language has its own set of rules. We term it as grammar to semantics to syntax to morphology to phonology. The language follows a contour but each form of language has its own nuanced set of guidelines. And these rules differ.

We can always question whether maths can be termed as language. Galilee Galileo said “Mathematics is the language with which God has written the Universe”. Geometry is the universal language and nature speaks the language of mathematics.

Music is also considered to be a universal language. There are notes and there are tones. There are melodies and rhythms. Everything is inspired from nature and creatively nurtured in the glory of imagination. Look at nature and we have geometry embedded everywhere. The gamut of shapes all around us shapes our perspective. The round shape is particularly significant in its manifestation. The planets to stars to celestial bodies our space is a pack of round shapes. There are others who adds variety and beauty to the natural formation. There are triangles. There are circles. There are squares. There are spheres. There are pyramids. There are cones and cylinders.

Language has its own set of symbols and sounds. Maths has the numerical symbols and we count the numbers. The sequence of number forms the basis of formation of this language. We write math and not speak. Today’s prevalent numbers are a part of the Hindu-Arabic numerals invented by Aryabhat and Brahamgupta during 5-6th century B.C. Similarly, Euclid the Greek Mathematician is considered the Father of Geometry and his theories postulated during 300 B.C. continues to govern our mathematical language.

Much like any other language Maths has its own set of grammar, syntax, morphology, vocabulary to semantic. There are interjections, conjunctions and propositions. There are theorems, formulas and equations. There are nouns, verbs and modifiers. Variables (x,y,z) to Fractions (1/2, ¾, 5/9) to Decimals (2.34, 3.09, 4.44) are nouns. Additions to Subtractions to Multiplications to Division ‘Equal To’ to ‘Not Equal To’ to “Greater Than” to “Lesser Than” are verbs. There are functions and expressions. Expressions like (x^3, x+y+7, 3x) Functions (x+y=4, 2a+3b+4c=234)

Numbers get classified as rational numbers to irrational numbers to integers to whole numbers. An integer is a number that can be written without a fractional component. Whole numbers are a set of positive integers and they don’t have any decimal or fraction part. Whole numbers are natural numbers 0,1,2,3… Integers are all whole numbers and their negative counterparts. There are this variables and constants in maths so are the things in life. The variables like x,y,z… and the relationships between variables through equations explains the various processes unfolding around us. We solving problems in our daily life deploying these equations and establish an equilibrium in our understanding. We are travelers. We need to measure our distance. The distance traveled is calculated as rate multiplied with time. It is represented through the algebraic equation (d=r*t).

Pythagoras Theorem states that the square of a hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the square of the other twos side of the right angle triangle i.e. expressed as (a^2 + b^2=c^2). This language of maths is used for us to understand and communicate regarding placing things in specified space to calculating the distance between two points.

Maxwell’s Equations (a set of 4 complicated equations) captures how electric charges and current electrical and magnetic field. This differential equation helps us understand the relationship between electricity and magnetism. This algebraic aspect of the language of mathematics deals with subjects like power generation to wireless communication. Functions defines the relationship between variables and constants. There are differential functions and there are integration functions. Calculus is the aspect of maths that deals with functions, limits and derivatives. Newton and Leibniz together discovered calculus in the mid-17th century. Calculus is used extensively in the scientific development and advancement in the field of engineering.

Change is the essence of life and appreciating the rate of change in living is so essential to harnessing a healthy and wealth life. The rate of change in weather of the environment we live to the rate of change of prices affecting our cost of living.

Calculus is the study of the rate of change of functions with respect to variables the function is dependent on. Calculus captures the rate of Change.

Euler’s Equation is considered a mathematical beauty named after Swiss Mathematicians Leonhard Euler. The beauty lies in the way this equation depicts the relationship between five important constants of math. Euler’s Equation written simply as (e^iπ + 1 = 0). Arithmetic is the branch of the mathematics that deals with the properties of number and does the basic operations using addition, subtraction, division and multiplications. In other words arithmetic gives meaning to number, and we have arithmetic mean (average) that is commonly used. The handling of data and give meaning through pattern analysis. There are decimals, fractions to percentages and these are different ways of interpreting the same value (1/4, 25%. 0.25).

As in language we have words that connotes and denotes, and there is a literal meaning and also there is a literary meaning to a word.

Algebra deals with variables using symbols and letters. Algebra helps in finding the unknown in a problem.

Geometry deals with dimensions using lines, shape and surface. Geometry helps in measuring things around us.

Calculus dealing with limits and functions is applied mathematics. Calculus calculate the rate of change.

Probability and Statistics are two other important facets of the language of mathematics.

Probability deals with the likelihood of an event. Statistics deals with the structural analysis of data. The communication in data science is happening using the language of stats and maths. These are used for pattern analysis from historical data and making predictions for the future. We are living a world dogged by big data. In order quickly and better understand the hidden meanings we need to apply appropriate techniques to simplify the complex set of data. The graphical presentation makes the analysis and interpretation easy to understand and communicate.

Mathematical Modelling being developed using data sets are making the machines get trained and talk the way we so as human beings. Earlier computer machines were using the general processing units and it was taking time to solve a problem. Today computer machines are using graphical processing units and solving problem on the fly. The language that is empowering the machines to walk the talk is mathematics and modelling is making the machines learn. The variables, the functions, the equations and the relations, and the correlations to regression and classifications are changing the way machine have been behaving and working.

They are no more kids you can fiddle around anymore. They are big boys and playing the hard games with the man who have been otherwise dictating terms and they were merely following the programmed instructions.

Machines are speaking human language using the mathematical notations and modelling. Times have changed. Maths is playing the game at the forefront and the language to command and demand is squarely in the numbers and the variables. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are speaking the language of maths… 

Nihar R Pradhan

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