More sites like Lambda

Although I really just lurk I have to say I really like what this site is doing - providing a modern web community that focuses on certain areas of academic research and unites to some degree various academics, professionals, interested students and hobbyists. Provides interesting papers, references, news and discussion.

Perhaps this is just a symptom of the fact that computer scientists are likely to be a lot more clued up about the web and its uses than your average academic - although hopefully this will change and these sorts of things will become widespread.

What I'm asking is - does anyone know of any other sites doing something similar for other academic areas? I'd be particularly interested in any mathematics-related sites with a similar ethos, although any areas really!

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There's always Crooked Timber

Crooked Timber for the humanities.

a few

Although they are not exactly like LtU, you could visit mathforge and planetmath.

just in time

I was wondering this just yesterday! I'm looking for sites about operating systems (not *nix/windows .. research OSes, or OS as they might exist for the next generation). For example, some papers at MIT say their exokernels can improve peroformance by one or two orders of magnitude...stuff like that.

Secondly, I wish there was a site like this one for relational theory. I know there is, but somtimes content on that site gets downright childish. It has no forums, user contributions are in form of letters to editors who basically pontificate.

Frankly you could go down the list of ACM SIGs which would make great 'ltu' clones :)

Or start your own.

Hosting + drupal + catchy name + papers to discuss in the first few weeks == instant ltu clone!

The biggest problem is to find someone to get it going and keep it that way like Ehud does.

And a community around it, of

And a community around it, of course.


Growing a community is much harder than it seems, and finding great people to join and help takes a lot of luck (and work).

If I knew what's involved, I would never have attempted it. Luckily, LtU grew beyond my wildest expecations.


This seems like a good opportunity to thank you for that, Ehud. Lambda is an awesome resource for me, from which I learn a great deal, and hopefully contribute a nugget or two from time to time, once you cut through all of the bombast. :-)


Cheers, mate. I enjoy your contributions so as far as that goes we are square..

Our site

A friend of mine and I have been talking about starting a site like Lambda the Ultimate for mathematics and mathematics-related topics. (An important negative inspiration is Slashdot, since whenever a math article comes up, ensuing comment thread spreads ignorance far and wide.)

This comment thread gave us the last little push to stop talking about it, and start doing it, so we launched the site today. We christened it Ars Mathematica, and you can find it at, or for short.

Maths sites

That sounds good - I'll have a look!

As I see it the problem with most maths sites on the web is they're usually one of a few types -

Wiki-type resources full of definitions and statements of theorems, but not tied together or organised very well and lacking in proofs or intuitive motivations - useful for reference but not for actual learning.

News sites, which post a "somebody discovered a new big prime number!" story every few months, or some dorky-ass crap about the digits of pi, and are afraid to get even slightly technical in their discussions.

Message boards where people ask for help on homework, and cranks bring up stupid arguments about 0.99999... = 1 and so on.

What would be really interesting would be something like Lambda where various papers are referenced and discussed, ideas thrown around and pointers given. Kinda like a graduate common room online :-)

I guess in mathematics people tend to guard their ideas more closely though, and good original ones are harder to come up with, than comp sci. But still. Even just as a tool for people to help eachother with more advanced learning. I think the 'feel' of the web software used has a big influence on the way people interact - this site seems particularly good in the way it's structured.

Re: Maths site

That's exactly what our vision is for the site. There has been such an increase in the audience for advanced mathematics (thanks both to the large numbers of people who pass through math grad school and the increasing mathematical sophistication of related fields such as computer science) that it seems a shame that there isn't more out there. Maybe we can do something to fix it.

An interesting question

An interesting question for the editors...

What would happen if someone like Tablizer/topmind (two aliases used by a certain well-known relational advocate, widely considered to be a troll) were to show up on LtU? Or someone else who is excessively argumentative and/or persistent.

We seem to have our share of discussions here; though they seldom ever get unfriendly. Most of us, I suppose, have better things to do.

Has LtU ever booted anyone? (other than obvious non-contributors like spammers, drive-by flamers uninterested in PLT, etc.)

Actually Bryce did stop by briefly

Know Tablizer/Topmind well from a number of groups/boards. Only posted 4 times hereabouts. Have the feeling he's mellowing out with parenthood. :-)

He is rather active on c2 these days

... although mellower then his comp.object days.

Of course, c2 has changed quite a bit. A few years back, it was a hotbed of dynamically-typed OO and XP (the methodology, not the OS); and was dominated by Smalltalk fans. Many of whom had a rather anti-RDBMS bent, preferring things like ObjectStore and other OO-friendly persistence mechanisms.

The current crowd, though, is not hostile to databases. There is some hostility to "table oriented programming", top's pet theory wherein relations are used as a dispatch mechanism, and the code to be executed is somehow stored in one of the database attributes; such as a text string in some language with an interpreter handy. And there is some hostility towards top's occasionally sweeping claims regarding the (un)suitability of OO, and the (mis)applicability of type theory to PLT design. (Unfortuately, in these arguments Top brings knives to a gunfight).

And much discussion on the role of academia; Top takes a few positions that some (including myself) have described as anti-scientific; the old saw about "many aspects of CS depend on psychology; science cannot draw any firm conclusions about those that do."

But he mostly behaves himself; and I kinda enjoy having him on c2.


Rarely, but it did happen once or twice, and will happen again very quickly if needed ;-)