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Old 05-02-2011, 02:48 PM   #1
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Default Is this computer learning?

What I'm getting at, e.g., is the Wolfram website whereby you can enter in any integral calculus problem and get back an answer. I can understand solving some problems online or through computer software to understand the methods, but it doesn't seem right to have the computer do all of your homework for you.

Do you share my issues?
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Old 05-02-2011, 02:51 PM   #2
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Default Re: Is this computer learning?

sounds more like cheating than learning

but all's fair play in homework.
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Old 05-02-2011, 03:21 PM   #3
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Default Re: Is this computer learning?

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Originally Posted by Comp Explorer View Post
What I'm getting at, e.g., is the Wolfram website whereby you can enter in any integral calculus problem and get back an answer. I can understand solving some problems online or through computer software to understand the methods, but it doesn't seem right to have the computer do all of your homework for you.

Do you share my issues?
I bet it can't find the indefinite integral of sin(x)/x.


I sometimes use Wolfram Alpha when doing homework - not to cheat, but to check answers. At least, I don't think that it's cheating - it's more of an anti-timewasting service .
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Old 05-02-2011, 03:28 PM   #4
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Default Re: Is this computer learning?

You have to show your workings usually. Not usually enough to simply give an answer.
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Old 05-02-2011, 03:51 PM   #5
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Default Re: Is this computer learning?

Usually you have to right out how you got to the integral, or set up the integral on the math homework. My teachers don't care how you solve it. That's what calculators are there for. We know how to solve the integral, plug it in and don't waste time.

Using my work for example, GM doesn't want their engineers to spend 30 minutes solving an integral when they are being paid a large sum of money, they want them to solve it quick and efficiently. Efficiency is key.
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Old 05-02-2011, 04:03 PM   #6
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Default Re: Is this computer learning?

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I bet it can't find the indefinite integral of sin(x)/x.
Not sure about that particular one, but if you have an absolute value and a trigonometric equation it tends to barf.

But then again, when I learned this stuff in college I wasn't even allowed a calculator on the homework. I could only use things like wolfram in other classes where showing work didn't matter.
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Old 05-02-2011, 05:25 PM   #7
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Default Re: Is this computer learning?

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I bet it can't find the indefinite integral of sin(x)/x.
Taylor series expansion my friend. WolframAlpha can get a pretty darn good estimation.
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Old 05-03-2011, 11:42 AM   #8
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Taylor series expansion my friend. WolframAlpha can get a pretty darn good estimation.
Can you still use Taylor Series for indefinate integration?
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Old 05-03-2011, 12:04 PM   #9
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Default Re: Is this computer learning?

I would imagine that they simply had a computer integrate various Taylor series of sin(x)/x to approximate Si(x).
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Old 05-03-2011, 12:07 PM   #10
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Default Re: Is this computer learning?

Yeah, that's for the definate integral - as in a numerical answer. It's impossible to get a finite algebraic answer to the integral of sin(x)/x
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