An End of Books - Or Books Reinvented?

The bound paper documents are part of a long culture. Most of them may be replaced by e-books. Here I do not distinguish between them. A book is a book.

In writing about music is like dancing about about architecture I have pointed out that writing about software is impossible. This is especially true for computational finance software. To understand the operational semantics of, say, UnRisk, you need to use it. Using it you variate input/output relations and get increasingly more insight in its behavior and how well it approximates real market behavior.

But using it you do not see, how it is built. You can write about it. If your approaches are mathematical, you have the language of mathematics for description. It can tell you how models look like and step by step how they are, say, calibrated and computed. The principles of solving.

To interpret and assess the results, you need to use and compare.

So, the software clarifies the what and a corresponding book the how. This is the intention of the Workout in Computational Finance (that goes beyond, explaining "How not" and "why").

To understand why it is formalized as workout I take the metaphor of cooking: to understand the meal you need to eat it. To understand how it is built you read the recipes. To become a creative copier you need to know the whole process (step by step) and hints from the chef (a deeper view behind the curtain) what to emphasize on and what to avoid.

Such mathematical workout books may become more interactive in the future - documents that are programs. But their purpose is still kind of single tasking (get skills, become fit, copy, ...).

UnRisk as language is of good nature for such interactive books. But when it comes to the numerical hardcore it will need static description ....

Picture from sehfelder