Grail Quest

Saturn’s day and the air temperature is less than yesterday’s this time. Definitely a brisk! constitutional in the park. And blissfully absent crashing drug addict. So I had some solitude to listen to podcast and my cerebration. Which mostly is wrestling with stochastic differential equations (SDEs).

SDEs have been a grail quest of mine for several years. They pretty much came on the scene after my formal schuling so I never had a chance to take a course in the subject. There may have been courses but their existence didn’t get past my mind screen of now-stuff. I first ran across them about ten or fifteen years ago and decided I needed to study them enough to see if they would be a useful tool. 

The problem was that I found myself in the position of a neolithic hunter-gatherer who asked about how to make stone tools and was handed a rock and told to get to it. I started my quest by buying a “textbook” on SDEs. Lots of theorems and rather unintelligible proofs but no tool usage. The examples never got beyond the trivial and were never adequately explained. 

I should comment here that one of the problems of being a not-Mathematician is that what is important for a mathematician to say in a maths book is not what is important to an S&E for tool use. Most of what a mathematician wants to make sure gets covered is not really relevant to someone who want to use a tool. I don’t care very much how the screwdriver is made if it has the right properties as a tool. So there is a lot of information but no indication of what has to be applied to use the tool.

This makes for a hideously frustrating situation. Lots of trial and failure. And eventually ennui and walk-away. 

So periodically the itch has returned. I go out and survey the market. All the courses are for real mathematicians – that probably ought to be indicative? No “dummy” books. I visit college bookstores and browse the course texts; I visit Amazon and Barnes and Ignoble and do searches. I buy anything that offers “applications”. Time and again, trial and failure and fleeing the black flies. 

I suspect this attempt will end the same. But I am still trying. And it is, tritely, very trying. 

Film at Eleven. If Eleven ever comes.