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Sophia Gold on An Intellectual History of Automatic Differentiation

by Papers_We_Love

Published May 24, 2017 in Programming

An Intellectual History of Automatic Differentiation traces the research surrounding a collection of techniques for computing derivatives without using either approximation or the manipulation of subscript-filled equations used to terrorize high school students. While its simplicity gives this method the mystery of "deep magic," it has its roots in work on differential equations in the late 19th century; inspired Alonzo Church's discovery of the untyped lambda calculus; influenced the development of functional programming, concurrency, and Unix in the 1970s; and has been recently rediscovered with applications to type theory, modelling stochastic processes, and training recurrent neural networks.


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