Python and Symbols

When I first looked at Python, I could recall many math curricula I have taken. In my opinion, Computation is a way to manipulate logic based on mathematical rules and symbols. However, most mathematical problems have only one solution and outcome each, but as for computation, multiple solutions can be given to one simple problem based on how you articulate the logic flow. That’s the most intriguing and confusing matter for me to understand computation: although the process of solving a math problem constrict your undertakings and ushers you to find the only true answer to it, the process of computation, which is based on math concepts and methodology, does not limit your approach to resolving a problem.

Also, I’m interested in if different coding language can be applied to solve the same problem. I noticed that JavaScript and Python have some same functions such as printing a string; given that any code language is a symbol system constructed on a set of rules, it can be possible that the same problem can be addressed and resolved by different coding languages as long as the algorithm underlying all solutions are viable. However, my limited knowledge of computation circumscribes to explore further on the possibility of solving the same problem using different coding languages.

I am also captured by the idea of computation as the manipulation of symbol systems. For me, insofar the course has proceded, I have acknowledged that everything has meaning, certainly including computation, but I still want to figure out a way to interpret the meaning behind computation. I hope to be equipped with the methodology to extract the meaning behind any meaning system and reexamine them with semiology.


Jeannette Wing, “Computational Thinking.” Communications of the ACM 49, no. 3 (March 2006): 33–35.