Ryan T. White is the author of Practical Discrete Mathematices, we got the chance to sit down with him and find out more about his experience of writing with Packt.
Q: What is/are your specialist tech area(s)?
Ryan : Machine learning, deep learning, data science, and computational mathematics
Q: How did you become an author for Packt? Tell us about your journey. What was your motivation for writing this book?
Ryan: There is an artificial chasm between the topics of discrete mathematics and algorithms in most books that masks the close interrelations that make each topic easier to learn. I wanted to help fill this gap and help students, programmers, and computer scientists broaden their skillset.
Q: What kind of research did you do, and how long did you spend researching before beginning the book?
Ryan: We spent a month with the help of Joshua Nadar at Packt planning the book and learning how we could offer something unique in the space that brought in mathematical instruction with actual code implementations rather than the common math-book theoretical approach or the common fully approach of most computer science books.
Q: Did you face any challenges during the writing process? How did you overcome them?
Ryan: We wrote the book during the COVID-19 pandemic and my coauthor and I were in different cities, so the joint writing sessions we hoped to have in person had to be cancelled, and we worked together entirely remotely. The folks at Packt were very understanding and provided good support to help us coordinate our efforts well.
Q: What’s your take on the technologies discussed in the book? Where do you see these technologies heading in the future?
Ryan: We use the most popular programming language in the world, Python, with its popular free libraries NumPy, SciPy, and pandas, which seem poised to continue their position at the forefront of numerical computation. They also link seamlessly with powerful libraries for data science like TensorFlow and scikit-learn.
Q: Why should readers choose this book over others already on the market? How would you differentiate your book from its competition?
Ryan: This book merges discrete math instruction into a more practical computer science setting than most, so bridging the gap is easier for readers.
Q. What are the key takeaways you want readers to come away from the book with?
Ryan: With just a little study of discrete mathematics, anyone with programming skills can understand advanced algorithms, so I hope readers will learn and find that they can easily move more deeply into computational computer science.
Q. What advice would you give to readers learning tech? Do you have any top tips?
Ryan: If you are new to Python, look through some online tutorials first. If you have trouble implementing the code in the book, download it from our GitHub repo and run our pre-written versions, manipulate our code and see what effect it has. Be hands-on!
Q. Do you have a blog that readers can follow?
Q. Can you share any blogs, websites and forums to help readers gain a holistic view of the tech they are learning?
Q. How would you describe your author journey with Packt? Would you recommend Packt to aspiring authors?
Ryan: We had some difficulties getting started and dealing with pandemic-related restrictions, but Packt was helpful and patient, so I would recommend working with them.
Q. Do you belong to any tech community groups?
Ryan: StackExchange, Kaggle, American Mathematical Society, Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics
Q. What are your favorite tech journals? How do you keep yourself up to date on tech?
Ryan: I subscribe to newsletters from Deeplearning.ai and RealClearScience, read the PyImageSearch blog and tutorials, read Towards Data Science blog posts, read new academic papers in deep learning on ArXiv.
Q. How did you organize, plan, and prioritize your work and write the book?
Ryan: My coauthor and I chose which chapters each person would write primarily, and each wrote drafts for our chapters, shared them with each other for editing, and then submitted to Packt. We both have very full schedules with our academic careers, so most of our writing was done in bursts as our schedules permitted.
Q. What is that one writing tip that you found most crucial and would like to share with aspiring authors?
Ryan: This was my first book, so I would stare at the blank page trying to think of ideas. Don’t do that. Just write some content. Not all of it will be suitable for your book, but you can store it for other purposes and, for me at least, I was ultimately far more productive after getting over these initial planning woes.
You can find Ryan’s book on Amazon by following this link: Please click here