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October 01, 2001

Categories For Dummies

A while ago I bought Basic Category Theory for Computer Scientists, choosing it over Conceptual Mathematics: A First Introduction to Categories on the basis of a discussion on the comp.lang.functional Usenet news group. According to Mike Kent, "coverage is idiosyncratic" in Conceptual Mathematics, while Basic Category Theory covers "enough (and the right) topics so that you can grok the category theory that underlies various areas/approaches in CS."

Well, after some careful reading, I came to the conclusion that Basic Category Theory was too terse, and assumed too much. So I bought Conceptual Mathematics too, knowing full well that it "introduces topoi, doesn't even define adjoints, and mentions functors only in the fleetest passing." I figure I'll try to grok what Lawvere has to say, then fill out the missing pieces from Pierce. The working approach here is to use the incomplete but verbose book to get grounded in the language and background, then use the terse but complete book to fill in the gaps. Wish me luck.

Posted by dpwakefield at October 1, 2001 09:40 AM