Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
MIT Mathlets (mathlets.org)
271 points by huftis 4 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 39 comments

Shameless plug for my React library for creating interactive visualizations on the web, in case anyone wants to make similar things. Probably needs a little work to make things this sophisticated though :)


I was really confused for a moment, because I thought the title of this post was "MIT Mathletes" (like athletes) and so this shameless plug seemed very random.

Wow, this is stunning! I foresee this as a frontend visualisation tool for a Brilliant.org competitor (something I have been wanting to do for a while, but haven't been able to find time for)

Funnily enough, I built it largely to impress them when I applied last year. But they black holed me. Still happy I made it!

Sometimes you're so good and qualified for something that some guy inside gets jealous and moves a few strings to keep you away. Happens more often than not.

So, ignore that and keep up doing what you do, which is great btw.

You definitely impressed some random strangers on the internet:) It’s quite neat really.

Oh hey, I remember seeing this on a Manim thread.

Great library, you reckon there'd be much interest in a Vue fork if someone were to put in the effort?

Really really cool !! The example section is sweeeet, real nice work ;)

On iPad your page shows for .2 seconds then blanks :-/

Dang! I did test on iPad at one point. Thanks for the heads up.

Working very well on my (3rd gen) iPad Pro, fwiw.

This looks really interesting! Very nice work!

Nice work - this is really impressive.

Another shameless plug:

I just made a awesome-type list of tools that can be used for creating interactive mathematics (and physics) visualizations like we see here. Feel free to add tools that i forgot to mention.


Thank you, I was looking for such a list.

Is there any such list for non web i.e. native platforms say like using GTK or QT?

You are welcome.

I don't know of any such list. I was thinking of including native platforms in the list, but I think that there are no too many examples. Web is dominant platform for this.

I would like a neurology site called brainlets.

I think it would appeal to young people. Brainlet is a popular slang word these days.

What do you think my friends?

I think it's a fantastic idea. Now what you need to do is play around with what domain you're going to use. brainlets (dot) me?

It's an insult akin to "stupid" or "dense". It worked for git, but "git" at least wasn't in vogue.

I thought git was considered a slur.

Lol, mathlets when will they learn?

Slightly off-topic question: how would you call these playable things embedded in HTML these days? I would like to use the word "applet" but it can be still confusing to those who remember Java Applets. Any idea?

I’ve seen other people use "interactives", "interactables", and "explorables" (as in "explorable explanation"). Those feel a little forced to me.

At Distill we simply called them "figures" or "diagrams"; sometimes "interactive figures" or "interactive diagrams" when the distinction needed to be made.

Slightly off-topic answer: back in the day these used to be Java Applets so the original mathlets name is probably a pun on them.

One of my grad school text books had interactive experiments based on Java Applets. I occasionally go back to work through the chapters we never finished and running the applets is a challenge. I think the last time I tried, I ended up finding a command-line interface to run an applet outside of the browser.

Agreed, "applet" is a self-documenting word, it's a shame that it is confusing! Personally I like the word "vignette" although I haven't seen it anybody else using it that way.

I would call them interactive animations.

Nun of these seem to be accessible for screen readers, unlike what PHET has.

What I find obnoxious, and typical of MIT, is how credit is allocated.

"Copyright © 2009--2015 H. Miller"

Only hmm (H. Miller) didn't do the work. The "About" page, fortunately, lists the authors, but doesn't really credit who did what.

Nothing personal about hmm, but a lot personal about the MIT culture of credit theft. MIT didn't have this culture 25 years ago. If this was © MIT, it'd be okay. But it's the PI on the project, who often doesn't do much of anything, who gets to pick-and-choose what goes to whom, and more often than not, allocate anything of value back to themselves.

Unfortunately, all of academia is like this now. The most successful PIs are the best marketers of work produced by an army of grad students recruited for their cheap labor costs more than their future in the academic world.

> the MIT culture of credit theft

This makes me think about who we revere as scientists and who we compare ourselves to.

A lot of success in life is out of our control. Conditions produce outliers, not diligence and hard work (Outlier X probably did work hard, but the conditions were so for their nervous system to act as such).

Besides this, the phenotype that academia reveres is a particular type of low-level bureaucrat that works by quantity, not quality.

For example, I'm in academia, but I prefer to solve interesting problems and create new things of high quality. I have never had to retract a paper, nor has anyone found a mistake in my work. I don't supervise more than one or two students at a time, because I want to be able to devote time to them. People like me languish and do not get promoted to tenure.

I have colleagues who pride themselves on how many e-mails they answer a day and recruit large labs of grad students who download neural net codes, tweak and publish. They talk of "least publishable units, or LPUs" and are always submitting and chairing ... submitting grants, submitting papers, chairing committees, etc. They get tenure very quickly and make a lot more money than I do. But they aren't scientists, they are bureaucrats who send emails. They decide what science is done, because they chair funding committees, so we get boring, incremental science that is stuck in local minima.

Yep.It should be copyright MIT, especially if he is using his post and other personnel to make this.

Nothing against him personally.

This might explain the reason for the copyright: https://mathlets.org/training/

Edit: More specifically:

> This self-paced short course by Professor Haynes R. Miller, Ph.D. [ Biography ] focuses on the use of technology in mathematics education at the university level. The course begins with an introduction and then explores the MIT Mathlets collection by providing examples of Mathlet use in three different contexts.

How is copyright the same as credit?

These are fabulous and really solidify a lot of concepts. I would have loved this when I was in school.

Interesting, but in the first one I clicked on, "T distribution", there should be more explanation. It says only "The t distribution depends on one parameter.". I would say, "The shape of the t distribution depends on one parameter, the degrees of freedom, which controls the kurtosis. As df approaches infinity the t distribution approaches the normal distribution."

It's designed to be used in a MOOC, so there should be lots of text around them. edX math classes use them a lot.

Click on the '+ help' label in the upper-right corner for a detailed description.

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