19
\$\begingroup\$

Several StackExchange sites have support for mathematical formulae using MathJax (LaTeX syntax).

Many Code-Golf challenges are mathematical in nature. Equations come up very often in discussions.

Therefore, I think it would be very useful to enable support for this on here as well?

Test to see if it is enabled yet: $ \LaTeX $

\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ MathJax is a big, heavy pile of javascript, and Jeff has claimed that it will only be used on sites where it goes to a core task. Not that I'd mind, as I'm active on Physics.SE so it's already in my cache. \$\endgroup\$ – dmckee Apr 12 '11 at 1:13
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @dmckee: As far as I can tell, it is about 50 KB of JavaScript. That’s the equivalent of about 33 images, and as you alluded to it only needs to be downloaded once and cached. Can you describe in greater detail what the problem with that is? \$\endgroup\$ – Timwi Apr 12 '11 at 12:05
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I seem to recall Jeff saying it was much heavier than that, but I can't find the conversation that I had with Jeff on the matter. I did find meta.stackexchange.com/q/30559/2509. \$\endgroup\$ – dmckee Apr 12 '11 at 16:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ I've found that Firefox 3.6 on Vista ties up the entire system for several seconds while fetching something from cdn.mathjax. I really have no idea why, but it goes deep because even the mouse pointer doesn't respond. No problems with Chrome on Linux at home. :shrug: \$\endgroup\$ – Peter Taylor Apr 16 '11 at 11:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ While there is not MathJax support on this site, we can use FAQ to help people: How can I incorporate good-looking mathematical exposition into my question/answer? \$\endgroup\$ – Martin Thoma Mar 20 '14 at 10:54
7
\$\begingroup\$

Although I don't think MathJax is necessary for codegolf.SE (in contrast to math.SE), I think it would be neat to have it. So I've checked some questions / answers to see how MathJax would be used on this site:

  • Easy indexing / exponentiation by $A_i$ instead of A<sub>i</sub> (example)
  • Symbols for number sets (\mathbb{N} and \mathbb{R})
  • Nicer Big-O notation (\mathcal{O}(n^2) instead of O(n^2))
  • \cdot instead of * (example)
  • Nicer variables (It's easier to recognize $n$ as a variable than n)

A way around that can be used by single people who want to have this in their answer is including images like this answer does.

codegolf.SE could also generate images for formulas instead of loading MathJax. But this might cause other problems. Here is how it can be done (link).

\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ In the present absence of MathJax, a FAQ article on "How can I incorporate good-looking mathematical exposition into my question/answer?" would be a nice thing to have. You seem to have a good command of a variety of options...perhaps you would be willing to write it? I can also throw in a few tidbits (ASCIITeX, export options in MathType and Mathematica) \$\endgroup\$ – Jonathan Van Matre Mar 17 '14 at 19:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ I could try to write this. Where should I write a first draft? How long can this explanation be? \$\endgroup\$ – Martin Thoma Mar 17 '14 at 19:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ Details on adding to the FAQ are here: meta.codegolf.stackexchange.com/questions/1280/… \$\endgroup\$ – Jonathan Van Matre Mar 17 '14 at 19:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JonathanVanMatre Thanks. I've created a fist draft here. If I find some free time, I'll search for command line tools that make this process easier. \$\endgroup\$ – Martin Thoma Mar 20 '14 at 10:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ There is meta.codegolf.stackexchange.com/questions/1611/… but neither answer is very usable. Maybe we should set a code-challenge to convert a math.se question with LaTeX into one that works for code.se :) \$\endgroup\$ – user9206 Jun 2 '14 at 16:51
1
\$\begingroup\$

While Latex is nice for viewing math, if the math is not essential to the site, it is a big problem. On Mathematics.se, it can take a while before the raw Latex is converted to what I see, especially on a slow computer. Oftentimes on a slow computer, the computer freezes.

As an alternative, I recommend copying the html symbols from this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Table_of_mathematical_symbols

This is what I have done in my posts when I want mathematical symbols; I even compiled a list of symbols into my profile for easy access.

\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ In my experience this is rather a matter of the browser than a matter of the computer. Old IE versions have problems with that. Chrome on the other hand displays it fine. Firefox seems to be much slower in executing JavaScript than Chrome, but by far better than old IE versions. \$\endgroup\$ – Martin Thoma Mar 17 '14 at 19:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ @moose I have a windows 7 computer that will freeze, using the most up to date chrome. \$\endgroup\$ – Justin Mar 17 '14 at 19:49
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ @Quincunx Well, there you go. You just need to fix your having a windows 7 computer. \$\endgroup\$ – AJMansfield Apr 25 '14 at 21:53

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .