Canonical forms

by sen1 min read11th Jul 20201 comment


World Modeling

This post in the link gives an intuitive connection between canonical forms in mathematics and easy-to-understand examples in day-to-day conversations. It was motivated by the following question I posed to myself:

  • Why do mathematicians value canonical forms?

I think this addresses an important class of communication problems that people experience, and that's especially true of intelligent people that see the world through the lens of specialized knowledge. It's easy to trap yourself inside your head when you learn to (usefully!) pile on the complexity. Canonical forms offer one strategy for escape.