Do you think math/science are necessary for a degree in CS?

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15 Replies - 781 Views - Last Post: 27 November 2011 - 02:15 AM

#1 MangoTux  Icon User is offline

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Do you think math/science are necessary for a degree in CS?

Posted 26 November 2011 - 12:54 PM

I'm pretty good at math. I'm learning some extra calculus in my junior year of high school, while taking trig. Some of the stuff I'm learning in this class help my problem solving in AP Computer Science. However, I'm wondering if the actual stuff, like derivatives or trigonometric identities, would apply to programming. Thoughts?
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Replies To: Do you think math/science are necessary for a degree in CS?

#2 iniaes  Icon User is offline

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Re: Do you think math/science are necessary for a degree in CS?

Posted 26 November 2011 - 01:30 PM

I suppose it entirely depends on what it is that you are programming, remember this field extends beyond application developement, programmers help put sattelites into space, or simulate how proteins fold.

Whilst set theory and integration / differentiation are probably not going to help you make the next essential sudoku game for iOS, having a firm grasp of mathematics and related concepts will make more advanced programming applications such as simulation, navigation, game design and implementation and bioinformatics much easier to implement and understand.
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#3 macosxnerd101  Icon User is online

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Re: Do you think math/science are necessary for a degree in CS?

Posted 26 November 2011 - 01:55 PM

You might want to check out these links:
Why Math Is Important For Programmers
Math Resource Thread on DIC
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#4 Lemur  Icon User is offline

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Re: Do you think math/science are necessary for a degree in CS?

Posted 26 November 2011 - 01:58 PM

In short: no. They are not necessary.

I come from an almost completely creative background in learning how to program and other tech jobs. I was always horrible with math.

So if I was horrible at math, how did I ever pass math classes? Simple, I understood enough of logic in how to create my own programs to solve everything for me. I have never been put in a position where I've needed any more than basic algebra off the top of my head.

Programming is based in logic, and logic is not necessarily from math.

Now as far as algorithms and other complexities, that's beyond my knowledge, so I couldn't speak on that account clearly. So far, despite that, I haven't had a problem achieving a low order of efficiency in any type of large scale program.
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#5 Evil_Maniac  Icon User is offline

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Re: Do you think math/science are necessary for a degree in CS?

Posted 26 November 2011 - 03:19 PM

I think math is mainly important in programming although some knowledge in math/science wouldn't hurt to understand concepts that are sinusoidal or the mediums for which signals propagate on.

As for programming I believe it is a must. You are not going to be doing those simple exercises you do in class. I am doing an internship on computation geometry and it requires knowledge of abstract algebra and being able to represent geometric things algebraically as computers can only understand algebra.

If your planning to go into the research field or more towards the engineering parts math is a definite. But if your goal is more like IT and management/maintenance of systems I don't see the need for too much math other than basics.
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#6 Lemur  Icon User is offline

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Re: Do you think math/science are necessary for a degree in CS?

Posted 26 November 2011 - 03:38 PM

Which to be fair I come from the the System Admin side of the fence. For the most part what I program is purely based on logic and reason, such as what to substitute where and how to cleverly manipulate logs with awk/sed and whatnot. Some of that certainly takes a rather.... special train of thought.
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#7 MangoTux  Icon User is offline

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Re: Do you think math/science are necessary for a degree in CS?

Posted 26 November 2011 - 03:41 PM

Now, how important (For most things in this field) are math and physical science compared to things like history and language?
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#8 macosxnerd101  Icon User is online

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Re: Do you think math/science are necessary for a degree in CS?

Posted 26 November 2011 - 03:53 PM

Are you writing language translation software? And where does history come into play? The differences/needs should be pretty obvious. In technical fields, you will find yourself using more technical knowledge than humanities/liberal arts knowledge.
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Re: Do you think math/science are necessary for a degree in CS?

Posted 26 November 2011 - 04:08 PM

Well, obviously. I'm just seeing what people here's views are on the core courses in relation to the field of computer science.
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#10 macosxnerd101  Icon User is online

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Re: Do you think math/science are necessary for a degree in CS?

Posted 26 November 2011 - 04:20 PM

You're probably going to get a lot of common-sense responses then. :)

Obviously we're in the field of information. So as programmers, we are expected to have basic competencies in the fields for the software we are developing. Engineering/scientific software will require a strong math/science/engineering background. Financial software will require more of a background in economics, finance, and accounting. GPS software will require a heavy graph theory background. You get the idea.

Also, KYA has a good blog entry on taking non-programming classes.
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#11 mostyfriedman  Icon User is offline

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Re: Do you think math/science are necessary for a degree in CS?

Posted 26 November 2011 - 05:10 PM

I would say yes, Math is very important for computer science at least for the theoretical stuff. Anyways since you are good at math, then you have a good thing going for you, stick to it and do your best. Later you'll see the difference between you and someone who isn't good at math.

Just look at the guys at the topcoder forums and you'll know what I am talking about.
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#12 Nikitin  Icon User is offline

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Re: Do you think math/science are necessary for a degree in CS?

Posted 26 November 2011 - 06:58 PM

Math is logic, and logic is math. The best programmers and the top students I came across are all very adept in mathematics. You can make your own conclusions.

If you want an advice, then I would advise you to pay as much attention to math as to programming.
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#13 Lemur  Icon User is offline

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Re: Do you think math/science are necessary for a degree in CS?

Posted 26 November 2011 - 07:07 PM

All rectangles are squares eh? No, math is not logic, only a part of it.
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#14 Nikitin  Icon User is offline

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Re: Do you think math/science are necessary for a degree in CS?

Posted 26 November 2011 - 09:01 PM

Whatever helps you sleep at night.
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#15 darek9576  Icon User is offline

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Re: Do you think math/science are necessary for a degree in CS?

Posted 26 November 2011 - 09:01 PM

Why are we doing this again?
Math aint needed.
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