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Re: Project Euler (a series of challenging mathematical/computer programming problems)

by Anonymous Monk
on Feb 05, 2006 at 12:18 UTC ( #528060=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Project Euler (a series of challenging mathematical/computer programming problems)

I find this fascinating, mostly because I don't understand it even a little.

I am a regular Perl Monk, but I've chosen to post this anonymously because I am certain that it will be voted down many times. In fact, I'm going to vote it down myself after I log back in... I'm such a coward :(

I consider myself a competent programmer. I know several languages and I am able to make a living working freelance. I have no problem with pointers, references, OO, complex regular expressions, etc. I am capable of solving some quite complex problems and I've managed to raise myself to level 6 here on Perl Monks. I even speak three spoken languages... It's just the damn math that I cannot learn.

I have never been competent in mathematics. I lack a formal education, I'm self-taught, and maybe that's the difference. I've tried and failed to work toward a computer science degree at more than one community college because of the mathematics requirements. For me, it takes all of my concentration to barely grasp mathematical concepts beyond the basics. True to my claim, I cannot grasp the use of bitwise operators (&, |, ^) in Perl or their equivalents in other languages.

Why are mathematics and programming so closely related?

--
-- Ghodmode


Comment on Re: Project Euler (a series of challenging mathematical/computer programming problems)
Re^2: Project Euler (a series of challenging mathematical/computer programming problems)
by rhesa (Vicar) on Feb 05, 2006 at 13:56 UTC
    Your sig made me laugh so hard! That was about as funny as this cartoon :-)

    Update: Seriously though, I would be disappointed if people would downvote you, just because you admit to having a hard time grasping mathematics. I _have_ studied maths (for over 7 years), but I must say that for the majority of my programming work it's completely irrelevant. Text processing, web page generation, database interfacing, report generation etc. are all very common tasks we perform with Perl that don't require maths at all, but are still extremely valuable to our customers. I take enough pride in creating something that my clients want and appreciate. They rarely (if ever!) admire me for my mathematical prowess, but do for solving their problems.

      You're assuming the parent poster wished to be anonymous. The account "Anonymous Monk" is a misnomer, because it's not only used by people who wish to be anonymous. Some people are just too lazy to create an account, or don't want to create an account for for other reasons. I've posted on a number of boards on which I have no account. I typically sign those posts because anonimity is not my intention.
Re^2: Project Euler (a series of challenging mathematical/computer programming problems)
by Anonymous Monk on Feb 06, 2006 at 16:15 UTC
    Why are mathematics and programming so closely related?

    Well, because mathematics can be quite all encompassing, depending upon how broadly you choose to define it. One such definition might be "the formal study of patterns": encompassing not only everything that exists, but everything that might exist and remain logically consistent. In that sense, to many mathematicians, the real world is just a special case. :-)

    But in a less general sense, there's still a lot of overlap between mathematics and computer science. Mathematicians develop and prove the correctness of various algorithms: computer programmers then use those proven algorithms to solve real-world problems. Cryptography uses a lot of group theory and advanced math to develop hard to break cryto-systems; optimization problems involve a lot of calculus and algebra; neural networks involve a lot of statistics; effective compression algorithms and hashing algorithms involve probability analysis, and so forth. Even engineering problems often involve the use of partial differential equations (which again, requires calculus). Mathematics is the larger framework from which the specific tools for solving a given problem get developed.

    You don't need a mathematics degree to do a "Hello, World" program. You don't need one to code up most business logic, either. You might benefit from one when doing research on just about any new thing that computers could be applied to, however.

    --
    Ytrew Q. Uiop ( who has a B.Math, but never uses it at work)

Re^2: Project Euler (a series of challenging mathematical/computer programming problems)
by GrandFather (Cardinal) on Feb 07, 2006 at 00:49 UTC

    Actually for many of the problems there is very little maths required for solving the problem, but most problems require a fair amount of mechanical arithmetic - which is what computers are for :).


    DWIM is Perl's answer to Gödel

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