TeX Hour

A weekly video meeting

Integer Sequences and Digital Typography

The meeting

Jonathan Fine: Tonight’s combination might look a bit odd. But it makes sense. We look at the Online Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences (OIES) from the point of view of Digital Typography. A humanist might look at the First Folio (wikipedia) of Shakespeare’s plays from the point of view of 17th century movable type printing.

For more information about the TeX Hour, including Zoom URL, see the About page.

All of us know some integer sequences. The counting numbers. The powers of ten. Perhaps the prime numbers. Perhaps Pascal’s triangle of binomial coefficients. All these are in the OEIS, along with about 350,000 other sequences of more or less interest.

The OEIS was founded by Neil Sloane as first a collection of punch cards (1965) and then books (1973, 1995), and then became a website (1996). From 2002 it became a community with associate editors and volunteers.

The OEIS is a sort of social networking site for mathematicians. If the same sequence appears in two places then there’s probably a connection of sorts. So the OEIS is a sort of social networking site for mathematicians.

For example, quite by chance I found that my research was connected to the Kolakoski sequence (OEIS A000002). The links in that page allow me to link up with others who value that sequence. By the way, the OEIS contains (as a joke) a program to generate the Kolakoski sequence in the Shakespeare programming language.

And now we can get to Digital Typography, by which I mean largely the art and science on presenting textual information in print, web-page, audio and other media. The online life of OEIS is in some started with the copying into web pages of the contents of Neil Sloane’s file cabinets.

Digital typography has nothing to do with fingers and thumbs, just as a Digital Camera gets its name from the Latin camera (meaning ‘room’). In this TeX Hour, Digital Typography will mean studying the media and conventions used by the OEIS and its team of volunteers.

In particular we’ll look at some of the about 3,130 annotated scanned copies (Google) in the OEIS. Many seem to have come from the Sloane’s file cabinet. For me, a Digital Typography is part of the publishing of a Digital File Cabinet.

Explore OEIS together

History of OEIS

Case study: Matriod to 2, 1, 2, 3, 6, 9

A0001037 to Kolakowski sequence


Using an contributing to OEIS

Annotated scans in OEIS

Where now?

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