Jane Street is excited to announce our sponsorship of SoME3, Grant Sanderson and James Schloss’s third Summer of Math Exposition. SoME is a contest that Grant and James created to encourage the development of fun and interesting mathematics education videos.
We've long been big fans of Grant and his YouTube channel, 3Blue1Brown. There's a lot of great math content on YouTube these days, but Grant has a really unique voice in the space. It's a rare talent to explain things in such a compelling way. Some years ago we sponsored one of Grant's videos, and we've been waiting since then for another chance to work with him. (One of our own even tried his hand at making a video using Grant's software!)
So often, mathematics is presented in its finished form, where some definitions drop out of nowhere, and those definitions lead to certain consequences, and then maybe, if you're lucky, you find some possible applications. Grant's approach is often the opposite—starting with a sort of natural question or problem that leads to other questions. At some point, you discover the core issue, and this core idea turns out to be applicable in many other cases. The definitions emerge naturally from what minimal structure a problem needs to have in order for that core idea to apply. Combined with great taste in animations and thoughtful pacing, it's a lot of fun!
The hope with SoME3, in the short term, is to encourage more people to create online math content and to make it easier to find by a broader audience—creating a sort of curated list of Grant-approved content. Longer term, encouraging more people to get involved in creating math content should lead to a more diverse collection of creators and content.
While a lot of our work involves mathematics—representing Gaussian distributions as covariance matrices, say—math education actually hits closer to a lot of what we do. Being able to share intuitive understandings of the math we use, so that the applications and the math underlying them are tied closely together, is critical to our success. Our strategy has always been to hire smart, hard-working and curious people, and teach them the math, programming, and trading concepts they need to succeed here.
We're excited to now help out with SoME!