Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

I experience this with RockBand and Starcraft, but has anyone had this experience with math?

During exam time I'd often experience hallucinations of equations, but even crazier were the dreams: sometimes I couldn't wake up unless I performed a mathematical operation on some regular object, ie. "what's the Laplace Transform of this blue chesterfield?"

has anyone had this experience with math

Yes, and also computing. Among other things, I've had a dream where I was trying to open files and had to win a race against someone who was replacing them with evil symlinks; several dreams about copy-on-write B+Trees; and a dream where I was a mutex and was trying to keep threads straight except that I got confused when I was locked recursively.

There was a period where I was first learning haskell and trying to solve toy algorithmic problems right before bed. I would imagine I came up with a brilliant solution... and then on waking up a bit realize my solution involved frying eggs, or the way my pillow felt, or something else non-sensical.

It's cool to see that this is a pretty common thing.

When I was a kid I would lay half awake in bed, looking at my alarm clock, interpreting the time as an algebraic expression (mentally filling in the variables) and factoring it. This is when I was in a crazy Japanese math program where I had to factor algebraic expressions every day. Seriously, to this day I can beat physics grad students at factoring. (It was a long time before I learned that factoring was not as useful a skill as I assumed.)

what's the Laplace Transform of this blue chesterfield?


This is the number one way I really grasp some new technique or area in programming.

During awake time, when I'm actively studying/using a new technique, things can get mixed up. I might be absorbing information, but not necesarily using it very efficiently. I just plow on, trying things out, playing around. (Perhaps because most of what I do is self-directed studying, so getting unstuck is left up to myself.)

After days like this, when I sleep, it's fitful. I'll dream of people tormenting me until I can do something in O(n) time, garbage collectors chasing me, whatever. But oddly, often times when I wake up, I have a calm and a better unstanding of whatever it was I was studying. And sometimes, I'll wake up with a start, with a clear solution to a particular problem in mind.

Absolutely! I frequently have dreams in which random objects are represented by equations and I have to solve them. I never actually can, though.

I also have the same exact experience with coding. For example, I'll have to write a for loop in order to perform actions, such as eating cereal.

Oh, God, yes. I was working on learning sysadmin tasks in MVS, if I recall correctly, when I experienced a weird mental inversion on the freeway and saw the trucks as data structures for a short time. Pointers and all.

This happens with me for maths. I even sleep talk about solving maths problem. They say I sound like a professor when I'm solving problems in my sleep.

The title of dreaming in code comes from a story told to the author by one of the programmers working on Chandler.

Happens to me all the time.

My hand instinctively goes to where the quicksave key would be before my tests.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact