# Thread: Using calculus w/o knowing it

1. ## Using calculus w/o knowing it

Ok I finally bought a book on calculus and before reading it I was expecting to be absolutely lost. I flunked high school algebra and had to take it again, but did well in geometry and trig. Recently and with my journey into 3D games I knew my math skills were getting better, but again I thought to myself - you can't teach yourself something you flunked - because you are the one who doesn't understand it.

How wrong I was. So far I've realized that all along in my computer programming exploits and game programming self-taught or self-researched solutions, I've been doing calculus the entire time. The problems in the book are actually quite simple or at least they are to me thus far.

So I'd like to encourage those here who feel deep down they don't have the math skills to be a programmer or a game programmer for that matter. I don't know why I didn't do well in high school and to speculate wouldn't help matters. But I do know, especially now, that your grades do not necessarily reflect your ability to understand problems or do problem solving. So if you aren't doing so well in college or in high school, take heart. There are enough books, sites, and sources now with the internet being so easy to access - you can probably teach yourself more in 1 year of internet research than you would get in a 1 year course. I'm not discounting school or education, but if you aren't doing well, it's not the end of the world.

If I can do it, there is definitely hope for others.

2. Agreed, although calculus is just the tip of the iceberg.

3. Beeing good programmer, means beeing good at calculus.
You have to use your brain to program, especialy games. So eventualy you learn your hidden ability's.
Everyone has them. It's in our blood. That's why we like C++.

4. I would be interested to know...what exactly did you already know about calculus? There's a lot there, and some of it isn't that hard (basic derivatives calculated with the power rule), but other stuff can be really hairy. But don't get me wrong, I know where you're coming from. I hated math in HS, so I was dreading taking calculus in college for the CS degree. And when I took it, I realized that it was not bad at all--actually fairly interesting. I think it's just a perception that calculus must be hard, since most HS students aren't required to take it--it's that "hard, advanced math that I'm glad I don't have to take."

5. Originally Posted by IfYouSaySo
I would be interested to know...what exactly did you already know about calculus? There's a lot there, and some of it isn't that hard (basic derivatives calculated with the power rule), but other stuff can be really hairy. But don't get me wrong, I know where you're coming from. I hated math in HS, so I was dreading taking calculus in college for the CS degree. And when I took it, I realized that it was not bad at all--actually fairly interesting. I think it's just a perception that calculus must be hard, since most HS students aren't required to take it--it's that "hard, advanced math that I'm glad I don't have to take."
I love math so far...but then I'm only in pre-calculus so

6. Originally Posted by ElastoManiac
Beeing good programmer, means beeing good at calculus.
You have to use your brain to program, especialy games. So eventualy you learn your hidden ability's.
Everyone has them. It's in our blood. That's why we like C++.
Being a good programmer means being lazy. Employers don't care how genius your code is, they just want it to do what it's supposed to do and be done as fast as possible so that they can pay you as little as possible.

7. As little as possible? In banking and most other Wall St. jobs the programming/systems side gets paid about %200 that of the operations side. I've heard people complain about hard work with programming, but bad pay is never really a problem as far as I've seen. Perhaps if you're freelance, maybe.

8. Very cool avatar BMJ!!!

9. That's good to hear! I know some people that need to be told exactly this!

What fields within calculus are you studying now?

10. I think it's just a perception that calculus must be hard
Agreed. I really enjoyed calculus. Not only was it simpler than I expected it to be, calculus is where all this useless crap you've been learning for years suddenly finds a purpose.

11. Oddly, I come from the other side. I loved calculus et al, but now I never use it and have forgotten much of it. And I seem to vaguely recall that DiffEq came along and simplified everything that was "the hard way" via calculus. (No refreshers, please, I'm just babbling.)

12. Originally Posted by ElastoManiac
Beeing good programmer, means beeing good at calculus.
This is a lie. Some of the best programmers Ive met flunked at calculus. Calculus is about methods, methods to solve something, it is a closed idea you dont think, you apply useless Imho, most of guys Ive met after calculus (oh me included) are unable to solve a real life problem using this crap. Programming is about using your brain to get a solution there is no default method to X class of problem, like calculus you want to find mins and max you derive and get a critical point, in programming, sorting for example there are plenty of methods and you must choose the better one and be able to implement that in the language you are using. Imho programming has much more to do with writting a book.

13. whats calculus?

14. Originally Posted by h_howee
whats calculus?
I think... and I may be wrong... that Calculus was an old wooden ship used during the Civil War Era.

15. i know it has something to do with math...

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