2 Replies - 1231 Views - Last Post: 25 December 2012 - 03:46 PM

#1 rex123  Icon User is offline

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Continue Mathematics when studying CS?

Posted 25 December 2012 - 12:39 PM

I am currently in my second year of a bachelor and I need some advice with a decision. I have the choice to do a bachelor that is purely CS or one that is CS/Maths split. I am convinced that in the end I will end up doing something in CS. My interest lay with crytopgraphy and complex algorithms (computability theory) and I know that these areas require quite a bit of mathematics. My question therefore is if I should continue taking the math courses.
On the one hand I spend a lot more time studying mathematics (the ratio math/CS is about 70/30) where I could as well be writing code or study something that I am passionate about. On top, the math courses are often not related to the areas that interest me. For example I see a point in learning some number theory, but not a Fourrier series. On the other hand I have the articles mentioned below which suggest to take as much maths as possible.
Currently I feel a lot more attracted to just doing CS because it annoys me that I spend a lot more time doing mathematics. Should I continue to study the maths that I find useful on my own and go for bachelor purely in CS or should I continue the general mathematics courses?
I appreciate every suggestion and personal experience.

I have read these two articles on the subject :
www.math.nus.edu.sg/~mattyc/CS.Maths.pdf
www.users.dickinson.edu/~jmac/selected-talks/math-and-cs-talk.pdf


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#2 Martyr2  Icon User is online

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Re: Continue Mathematics when studying CS?

Posted 25 December 2012 - 03:15 PM

Well if you are wanting to do cryptography and complex algorithms then math is simply a must. Especially if you ever wish to make a dent in that field and do breaking work. Because when you come up with a new scheme not only are you going to code it, but you will have to mathematically defend it and that will take math skills.

Honestly I would stick with the Math if you are already into it deep because the CS can easily support that and learning the syntax of a language will allow you to do some wicked stuff later.

But if you are annoyed with the math already you could do the CS... you sound like you may be far enough in math now that it doesn't really seem like it would hurt you too much to switch.

It is purely up to you and your interests. I would try to do a CS/Math mix for greatest effect especially if you are really wanting to do the cryptography and make a name for yourself.

:)
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#3 macosxnerd101  Icon User is online

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Re: Continue Mathematics when studying CS?

Posted 25 December 2012 - 03:46 PM

In any major, we have to take classes we aren't interested in. I'm taking Math 3144 Linear Algebra next semester, and I have no interest in the field. It may come in handy some day when I work more with graph theory or cryptography.

Fourier Series are really useful in solving Partial Differential Equations like the heat equation, and they are also useful in image compression. That could be useful in cryptography or steganography. Plus, Fourier Series and PDEs will give you a good background for numerical methods.

Some things you may not enjoy, but I agree with Martyr2. Stick it out with the Math/CS background.
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