in reply to Programming and math
<speech assumption="general">
 No. But it helps. I am horrible at math, i just don't
have the patience to work things out like that on a piece of
paper that gives no feedback (like a compiler does). Most
CompSci heads are actually good at math, but most Math heads
are not good at programming (something about i = i + 1 ;)). When i was a CompSci undergrad, i was told that i was "the exception to the rule", because i was one of the
top students who couldn't get more than a 'D' in Calculus 2.
 I think so. But know that you said 'Computer Science',
not programming or software design. CompSci can both improve
and hinder your programming and design skills. It's the
fundamental difference between Academia and The Real World.
For example, you get your Bachelors ... you get a real world
job. You get your Masters ... you get a higher paying
real world job. You get your Doctorate ... and you get
kicked out of the Real World.
 Yes, but i don't think it's as "black and white" as you
might think. FORTRAN obviously requires some knowledge of mathematical formulas, and BASIC requires little math at all  until the problem involves math. The better question to ask, IMHO, is "Will those with a good
mathematical background go farther in programming than those
that don't?" And that too depends upon what kind of
programming you are talking about. If all you do is fetch
database query results and slam them through the HTTP
protocol, then no ... you don't really need a strong math
background. But, if you want to get into functional
programming, then a good knowledge of lambda calculus will
surely help. At some point, you are going to have to be
pretty decent with Math to move to the "next level". This is
why i occasionally brush up on my Algebra, Trig, and Calc
skills. While it hurts my brain sometimes, it surely doesn't
hurt my programming skills. ;)
</speech>
jeffa
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(the triplet paradiddle with highhat)
Re: Re: Programming and math
by TomDLux (Vicar) on Aug 10, 2003 at 03:34 UTC

From the schools I've been to, and the places I've worked, I'd say many CS geeks barely struggled through Math. I was borderline, was planning a split honours, until I discovered how hard math became in third year. Mathematicians SHOULD be able to program, first, because they have to to do their work, second because thinking analytically, handling all circumstances, etc, should come naturally to trained mathematicians. However, they may not do so well at the aspects that involve daily experience.
For some aspects of programming, understanding math is usefull, even essential. Obviously things that are mathematical need math; on the other hand, a flight simulator, interplanetary rocket simulator, nuclear controller or simulator, could effectively isolate the math to certain sections. You would need a specialist in mathematical programming to handle those segments, but anyone could do the rest.

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Mathematicians SHOULD be able to program, first, because they have to to do their work, second because thinking analytically, handling all circumstances, etc, should come naturally to trained mathematicians
I'd have to say that while I agree with the second half, very few of the mathematicians that I dealt with while I was in graduate school had any need to program to do their work (and at that time in my life, nor did I).
Of course there are some (depending on field of interest) that do.
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Re: Re: Programming and math
by zby (Vicar) on Aug 11, 2003 at 10:41 UTC

Lambda calculus for functional programming won't help more then Turing Machine for imperative programming. This is just the simplistic model for proving some theory.
Update: This is just a comparison. I really do not say that lambda calculus or Turing Machines are useless. To the contrary  as I've explained somwhere else in this thread I believe it is quite importand to know some theory  because only theory would give you sound reasoning why something is impossible.  [reply] 

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