Recent Updates Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Issa Rice 8:56 pm on December 11, 2018 Permalink | Reply  


    I thought about some of the equivalences in this linear algebra summary table.

    I proved some of the propositions in Linear Algebra Done Right.

    I asked a question on Math Stack Exchange about the use of “conversely” in some proofs in Linear Algebra Done Right.

    I thought about how to show that “divide the data points by the standard deviation” and “scale the data points by a constant so that the new standard deviation is 1” are the same.

    I thought about some stuff related to composition of limits (in analysis), and did one exercise from Spivak’s Calculus.

    I made some edits to the page Comparison of concepts in computability theory.

  • Issa Rice 7:32 pm on December 10, 2018 Permalink | Reply  


    I tried to reconstruct a proof (that I read a day or two ago) that there exists a pair of recursively enumerable but recursively inseparable sets (I think I succeeded).

    I did problem 8 in chapter 8 of Spivak’s Calculus.

    I did problem 1 in section 13 of Munkres’s Topology. I also started on problem 2 but after I got the hang of it I stopped.

    I read some articles on the Tricki related to real analysis. I especially enjoyed this page.

    I think I continued reading a bit of Rogers’s computability book.

  • Issa Rice 12:56 pm on December 9, 2018 Permalink | Reply  


    I didn’t do much math. I thought again about Stillwell’s proof that there is a computable infinite tree whose infinite paths are uncomputable (which I still don’t understand). (I think this is called the Kleene tree?)

    While reading about recursively inseparable sets, I realized that this pattern of words was similar to saying a series is “absolutely divergent”, so I made a page to track similar terms.

    I looked a bit at Hartley Rogers’s text on recursive functions. I think this book goes into computability in more depth than the text by Boolos, Burgess, and Jeffrey, so I might want to look at this text more. (Fun fact: Rogers was Stillwell’s advisor.)

  • Issa Rice 12:44 pm on December 8, 2018 Permalink | Reply  


    I continued reading Stillwell’s Reverse Mathematics. Stillwell’s book goes over some results in computability, so I went back a bit to thinking about some computability stuff.

    I wrote a page called Tiers of learning in mathematics.

  • Issa Rice 10:52 am on December 7, 2018 Permalink | Reply  


    I did more more topology from Munkres. I read through section 12 (topological spaces) but haven’t started on the exercises yet.

    I spent some time thinking about the intermediate value theorem, the boundedness theorem, and the extreme value theorem in analysis.

    I started doing some conditional probability problems out of Intermediate Counting & Probability (David Patrick). This isn’t really material that is new to me (actually I think some of the material in this book is new to me) but I want to get better at solving these types of problems (especially under time pressure).

    I continued reading Stillwell’s Reverse Mathematics.

    I started working on a dependency graph of results in analysis. This was inspired by (1) reading different textbooks that all give different proofs of the main results; and (2) reading Stillwell’s book.

  • Issa Rice 10:02 am on December 6, 2018 Permalink | Reply  


    I continued reading Munkres’s Topology. I decided to skip the first chapter for now, since I am more excited about jumping into the actual topology. I plan to come back to the first chapter as needed. I started reading chapter 2, and thought about the initial definitions.

    I tried proving the Heine–Borel theorem for the real line again, which I learned a while back.

    I made some edits to the page Understanding definitions.

    I discovered John Stillwell’s book Reverse Mathematics and started reading it a little. The book seems pretty interesting but I don’t know if I should continue reading it (it might be tangential to my goals, but it might also strengthen me mathematically or cement my understanding of real analysis).

  • Issa Rice 2:21 pm on December 5, 2018 Permalink | Reply  


    I spent some time reading about the Riemann–Stieltjes integral in Apostol’s Mathematical Analysis. (I wanted to see how some other books defined this.)

    I also spent some time thinking about the nested intervals theorem.

    I started reading James Munkres’s Topology. I finished reading section 1.1 (set theory and logic) and thought about/did some of the exercises (they are the kind of exercises I am familiar with from other texts, so I don’t plan to work through all of them). One particular exercise caught my eye, which was exercise 1.1.2(k)–(l); this is because I had seen the same exercise in Tao’s book a while back. Since I fell into the trap on my first attempt (when working through Tao’s book), I had wanted to “get back at” the problem by explaining it clearly (I didn’t find any excellent explanations online). This seemed like the right opportunity, so I started the page Conjunction of subset statements versus Cartesian product subset statement.

  • Issa Rice 12:44 pm on December 4, 2018 Permalink | Reply  


    I spent some time thinking about why a partition of an interval is finite. I didn’t come up with a definite conclusion. I can understand that finite sums are easier to deal with than countably infinite sums, but I couldn’t exhibit any problems with a countably infinite “partition” except by making the function unbounded.

    I finished the final problem in section 11.2 and worked through section 11.3 (did not finish working through the exercises).

    I started a page called Understanding definitions.

    I submitted some corrections for Tao’s book Analysis I (they were added to the page on 2018-12-05).

  • Issa Rice 12:56 pm on December 3, 2018 Permalink | Reply  

    2018-12-02: more analysis 

    I worked through the exercises in section 10.5 (l’Hopital’s rule), then worked through sections 11.1 (Riemann integral: partitions) and 11.2 (Riemann integral: piecewise constant functions).

  • Issa Rice 10:33 pm on December 1, 2018 Permalink | Reply  

    2018-12-01: not much math 

    I figured out exercise 10.4.3(b) in Analysis I only after seeing the trick in this answer (linked from this answer) of substituting in a quotient to get the general case; basically, since part (a) proved the case of x \to 1, in part (b) the trick is to see that x/x_0 \to 1 as x \to x_0. And then some algebra to get the thing to work. I had seen this sort of trick before, but didn’t think of it when I needed it, so I’ll have to keep it in mind more.

    I read section 10.5 (l’Hopital’s rule) but didn’t do the exercises (yet).

    Today was spent mostly relaxing and doing “first day of the month” bureaucracies (updating the front page of my website, updating Timelines Wiki pageviews table, submitting contract work hours to Vipul).

  • Issa Rice 11:24 am on December 1, 2018 Permalink | Reply  

    A note on scope of updates 

    I previously mentioned that I don’t talk about my daily Anki routine on this blog. I should also probably clarify the scope of this blog in other ways.

    As I stated at the beginning, this blog came about because I wanted to make available information about “what I’m up to” in cases where “what I’m up to” doesn’t naturally lead to public updates. So I think it’s not so important to record things on here when the same information can be obtained through other sources (i.e. my public activity on other websites).

    However, I also want to have some kind of conceptual coherence about this blog. And since the overlap between “my activity that doesn’t naturally lead to public updates but where I would like to make public updates available” and “my AI safety learning” is nearly perfect, I think I will track the former by writing about the latter. What does this mean in practice? It means:

    1. There will be some AI safety-related stuff on this blog that can be tracked elsewhere. For instance, for now I am planning to blog about wiki pages I update in the course of my studying.
    2. Some stuff not related to AI safety, even in cases where they can’t be tracked publicly, won’t be on this blog. This will mostly be one-off projects that I think up one day and decide to work on for a few hours or a day. Will these ever be made available? I think if they lead to something interesting I will try to publish them somehow.
  • Issa Rice 11:10 am on December 1, 2018 Permalink | Reply  


    I worked on several wiki pages:

    I also asked a question on Math Stack Exchange about point-free notation for limits.

  • Issa Rice 10:36 pm on November 29, 2018 Permalink | Reply  

    A note about Anki 

    I don’t mention this in my daily updates, but part of my routine as I study is to make Anki cards on the material I am learning. I also review the new and “due” cards daily, which usually takes about 30 minutes in the evening.

    If you are curious about Anki or spaced repetition, as of 2018 I think Michael Nielsen’s article is the best introduction. However, since it is somewhat difficult to use “correctly”, I’m not sure I would recommend this sort of software to everyone.

    I plan to write more about Anki at some point (probably not on this blog, as I want it to be in a more permanent location).

  • Issa Rice 10:25 pm on November 29, 2018 Permalink | Reply  

    2018-11-29: more analysis 

    I continued working through Tao’s Analysis I. I worked through sections 10.2 (local maxima, local minima, and derivatives), 10.3 (monotone functions and derivatives), and 10.4 (inverse functions and derivatives). I got stuck on exercise 10.4.3(b) so I will resume there tomorrow.

    I also spent time working on the page for little o notation again.

    I also looked a bit at this study skills PDF (Cambridge University) as well as Lara Alcock’s How to Study as a Mathematics Major. The latter was actually better than I thought (based on the title) but I don’t think it contained insights I wasn’t aware of, so I skimmed a bit and stopped reading.

  • Issa Rice 9:18 pm on November 28, 2018 Permalink | Reply  


    I continued thinking about the chain rule and working on the page for it (in particular, adding the limits of sequence proof).

    I also returned to thinking about proving the continuity of f(x) := a^x (for fixed a > 0). (I know there is an (\epsilon, \delta) proof to show continuity at zero, but I was wondering if I could do it using the squeeze theorem for sequences. I wasn’t able to find a satisfactory proof for this.)

    I also thought a bit about the method of finding the inverse of a matrix by solving equations Ax = e_j.

    I also asked a question on Math Stack Exchange.

    I also posted a comment on LessWrong about an exercise in volume II of Analysis.

  • Issa Rice 3:07 pm on November 28, 2018 Permalink | Reply  

    2018-11-27: more analysis 

    I continued thinking about the linear approximation interpretation of differentiability, and looked a bit at Caratheodory’s definition of differentiability.

    I worked through the exercises in section 10.1 (basic definitions of differentiation).

    I started a page on the chain rule for differentiation. For some reason I’ve always found this result slightly unintuitive, so I wanted to understand it “once and for all”.

  • Issa Rice 2:24 pm on November 27, 2018 Permalink | Reply  

    2018-11-26: more analysis 

    I continued working through Tao’s Analysis I. I worked through section 9.9 (uniform continuity) and section 9.10 (limits at infinity), and read section 10.1 (basic definitions for differentiation).

    I spent time thinking about the “best linear approximation” definition of differentiability. I started a page on little o notation.

  • Issa Rice 5:24 am on November 26, 2018 Permalink | Reply  

    2018-11-25: more real analysis 

    I continued working through Tao’s Analysis I. Specifically, section 9.7 (intermediate value theorem) and section 9.8 (monotonic functions).

    I also began work on a timeline of my mathematical education. The timeline is kind of a way to make up for the lack of regular updates up to this point, but also a more compressed version of my progress.

    I also posted a question about the use of “covariant” and “contravariant” in definitions.

    I found a useful summary table for linear algebra (created by David Jekel), and thought about it a bit.

    I did some preliminary research into finding a math tutor for myself. My current feeling is that having a tutor might help me learn faster (or better), but since I haven’t enjoyed too much working on math in person with people, it might not be worth the trouble. Also, I suspect that tutors at my level and personality fit are too expensive for what I am willing to pay, so I am pessimistic about finding someone. (It doesn’t help that search results are polluted with lower level/test prep tutors.)

  • Issa Rice 8:12 pm on November 25, 2018 Permalink | Reply  

    What this blog is about 

    The goal of this blog is to publicly make available updates about what I’m working on. Previously, this was not as important, since most of my work was already available publicly (via public activity feeds). However, since the main thing I am focusing on now is studying related to AI safety, most of what I’ve been up to recently has not been explained publicly. I wanted to fix that (as I care about individual transparency and public accountability), hence this blog.

    Thanks to Vipul Naik for giving me the idea for this blog via his daily updates repo.

    I chose WordPress because I am familiar with the service/interface (from using it in the past), because it has LaTeX support (which GitHub doesn’t), and because I want to allow comments (so that excluded doing this on my own website).

Compose new post
Next post/Next comment
Previous post/Previous comment
Show/Hide comments
Go to top
Go to login
Show/Hide help
shift + esc
Create your website at
Get started