Need to bone up on my math

This is a discussion on Need to bone up on my math within the C++ Programming forums, part of the General Programming Boards category; I've been programming C++ now for exactly 4 months, so it's safe to say that I'm a beginner. I'm picking ...

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    Need to bone up on my math

    I've been programming C++ now for exactly 4 months, so it's safe to say that I'm a beginner. I'm picking up the language quite well (so far) and for the most part feel rather confident, but I do have a serious weakness. My math skills are lacking

    Could anyone recommend any good books to bone up on my math? Preferably one oriented towards programming.

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    Jack of many languages Dino's Avatar
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    What flavor math?
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    Registered User NeonBlack's Avatar
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    What you can learn really depends on what you already know.

    So, what do you know? What is your mathematical background?
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    Calculus would probably be the best place to start, then move from there. I've had math up through calculus, but I was pretty indifferent to it and it was a few years ago.

    -edit- reading up on some floating point math and matrices probably wouldn't hurt either.
    Last edited by grok; 04-13-2008 at 03:37 PM.

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    Unregistered User Yarin's Avatar
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    >> Need to bone up on my math
    Make a 3D space shooter using math.h as your only math helping library

    I am in no way even close to a math geek. I'm terrible, but I've noticed that programming doesn't challenge how much math you know as much as it challenges how you know how to use what math you do know.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yarin View Post
    >>I've noticed that programming doesn't challenge how much math you know as much as it challenges how you know how to use what math you do know.
    I think this is exactly my problem. I figure that reading up on math I haven't done in years will help some, but i guess just doing it is the best way to figure things out.

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    what sort of math do you really need?

    i cannot honestly imagine a single scenario under which you'd need calculus to do any programming. i do process control engineering for a living, so i personally use it all the time, but never has my need for it arisen from anything to do with programming. linear algebra? possibly, but probably not. logic and arithmetic, yes; absolutely. cannot survive without them. some number theory might also be helpful.

    seriously, if you don't need it, don't waste your time relearning calculus. integrals, derivatives, and differential equations have little to nothing to do with programming. even if in some bizarre application they did somehow, everything in programming is discrete, so it all ends up boiling down to algebraic expressions anyway!
    Last edited by m37h0d; 04-13-2008 at 07:45 PM.

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    Algebra, Geometry, and Trigonometry seem to be the most important in programming to me. Although I may be mistaken.

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    I have no problems with algebra or geometry, perhaps some trig, and as I said earlier, matrices I seriously need to look into. I mean, we didn't even get into those when I went through college in the 90s.

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    The matrix didn't come out until the late 90's so you may have finished school too early to learn about matrices. Ok, in all seriousness (what? I thought it was funny...) I think the only time I've had to use some hardcore calculus in a program is when writing software for analyzing algorithms. All things equal, read up a bit on linear algebra and you should be ok.

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    Make sure you are familiar with http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_Morgan's_laws
    Also study various http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Refactoring techniques
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linear_algebra and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trigonometry can be extremely useful if you plan on making graphical games.
    Don't worry about Calculus. You wont need that unless you start something where you specifically know you will need it. Even then it would most likely be rather basic.
    Last edited by iMalc; 04-14-2008 at 02:58 AM.
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    Registered User guesst's Avatar
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    Math is not (only) the study of rules, procedures, functions, and formulas, but of how to think. And as much as finding applications for the rules, procedures, functions, and formulas an excellent study of mathematics includes finding out how those rules, procedures, functions, and formulas were developed so that you can reproduce the thought processes yourself.
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    You might not do a lot of actual boolean algebra as a programmer, but you will encounter a lot of boolean logic (any if statement or other conditional is an example of this). You might think thats trivial but it will help you, trust me.

    Geometry and Trig are musts. Usually, most people can intuitively infer geometry things, and go look up trig things on the web and apply them when needed.

    Calculus? Probably best to understand some of the basics (taking the derivative of a polynomial and very basic integration) just in case you encounter something where it's needed.

    Discrete math. That usually includes the boolean logic stuff, but also includes algorithm analysis (like Big-O) plus mathematical induction, matrices (adjacency and connectivity matrices), maps and many other odds and ends things like the pigeon-hole principle, etc.

    And if you're brave, regular expressions are in and of themselves a mathematical discipline.
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    If you plan on doing any kind of serious or semi-serious graphics programming, then trigonometry is an absolute must. And if you're doing graphics in 3-space, you might even need a little bit of analytic geometry. But that is probably down the road for your programming needs for now.

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