[Lvlug] fields of mathematics most relevant to computer science
mstanley at technologist.com
Wed Dec 5 20:52:10 EST 2007
On Wednesday 05 December 2007 19:28, Christopher Hever wrote:
> Taking on diverse subjects in mathematics may not
> make a better programmer *generally speaking* i.e., improve knowledge
> of design patterns or ability to refactor code well, but it will
> certainly open up more applications for me, even if the most maths in
> programming is usually easy, but incredibly tedious accounting /
> 'Dungeons & Dragons' stuff.
You are getting close to the reason for combining the study of math with
programming. Keep reading...
> Plus the development of intellectual rigor may somehow contribute to
> greater skill in programming, maybe even imperceptibly.
True, in one sense, but don't let the rigor close your mind to the art and
creativity required of a programmer.
> Being able to find convenient closed forms for
> calculations might save a lot of runtime as well.
And that is the best reason for studying the maths. To put your statement
more clearly, the reason programmers study other subjects, math included, is
to fill their programmer's toolbox.
Remember when you first started programming? It was all about learning the
structure of the language. So the first tool you got was a programming
language. Once you had that then you needed to learn to think like a
programmer and that only happens with practice. You now have tool number
With those under your belt you have become a beginner programmer. So now if I
ask you to write a program you will ask me what I want, right? And I tell
you that I want to be able visualize the relativistic effects of traveling
near the speed of light from inside an immersive environment. As you can see
from that statement simply knowing how to program is insufficient for the
The main point is that everything you learn will become part of your toolbox.
Having a variety of maths will provide you with a larger set of tools from
which to choose. Be warned, though. Whichever math you choose will become
your hammer and every problem will look like a nail. ;)
> Ultimately, I have a good time and that's what counts the most.
For me that is the only thing that counts. I go to my job every day because
it is truly fun.
> (I'm the only person I know who wants non-essential textbooks
> for Christmas. >_<)
Not anymore. Welcome to the club. :)
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