Number Theory - Algorithmica
Number Theory

Number Theory

Disclaimer: this chapter is a very early draft that is probably not worth reading yet.

In 1940, a British mathematician G. H. Hardy published a famous essay titled “A Mathematician’s Apology” discussing the notion that mathematics should be pursued for its own sake rather than for the sake of its applications.

I personally don’t agree — and I wrote this book partially to show that there are way too few people working on practical algorithm design instead of theoretical computer science — but I understand where Hardy is coming from. Being 62 years old, he witnessed the devastation caused by the First and the ongoing Second World War that was greatly amplified by the weaponization of science.

As a number theorist, Hardy finds calm working in a “useless” field and not having to face any moral dilemmas, writing:

No one has yet discovered any warlike purpose to be served by the theory of numbers or relativity, and it seems unlikely that anyone will do so for many years.

Ironically, this statement was proved very wrong just 5 years later with the development of the atomic bomb, which would not have been possible without the understanding of relativity, and the inception of computer-era cryptography, which extensively builds on number theory.