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View Full Version : Mathematics : Lover or Hater ?



Brain Cell
12-14-2004, 12:06 PM
I've seen many posts about math in this board , and lots of people seemed interested in this "math" thing (brain teasers , theories ..etc). This made me recall a discussion i had , when i was in high school , with my teacher about programming. He told me if i wanted to get into programming i should be kind of a math lover or atleast be OK with math , or else i would give up and quit programming after a while.


I don't believe in this now since i've learned alot about programming and im still enjoying it even though i hate Math to the bone (maybe more). I mean i like simple calculations and stuff , but when it goes deeper with formulas , theories and other things i just quit.


So , if you're a programmer , are you a math lover or not? and do you think my teacher was right?

Thantos
12-14-2004, 12:11 PM
I like math but I don't think you have to love it to program. It all depends on what type of programming you want to get into. If you want to make realistic 3D games then yeah you'll be using a lot of math. If you want to write front end apps for a database then you probably won't use anything beyond simple alegbra.
The days are gone of programs being used soley for complex calculations.

Sang-drax
12-14-2004, 12:17 PM
1) I really like math.

2) It all depends on what type of programming you want to do. Like Thantos said, if all you're doing are GUI frontends, you'll be fine, but as soon as you start anything more advanced, you will need math.
If you deal with graphics, you will need linear algebra. When you create algorithms you need to understand O(n) notation. You don't need to love math, but you sure need to know some.
Discrete mathematics is perhaps the most important field of math for programmers.

Shakti
12-14-2004, 12:47 PM
I also like math. When i got started in what we call gymnasium (you go there from when you are 16 until you are 19) I wasnt really that good with math, i was ok with it. Since then i have learned to program and I must truly say that by programming I have gotten better in math. Maybe not because of using math in programming but more with the problemsolving way of thinking you have when you program.
Bottom line, I dont think you have to be very good with math when you program, programming might help you with the math, and math might help you with programming. Its a win-win deal.

Shogun
12-14-2004, 02:49 PM
I like math. I used to hate it though, became fun when we started with somewhat deeper stuff then sitting in class doing 33/3, etc. ;) this was a while ago, so guess I have to say I like math...

Brain Cell
12-14-2004, 03:41 PM
If you want to write front end apps for a database then you probably won't use anything beyond simple alegbra.
Yea im planning on making these , not anything related to games (maybe simple 2d games or something like that) , but i guess my hatred to math will limit my choices a bit.



Discrete mathematics is perhaps the most important field of math for programmers.
Yea i find it simple and fun (some subjects). I'm almost done with my discrete math course and the only thing i found related to programming is the logical operators (AND , OR , XOR and maybe more). Other subjects we took were all about some graphs and compliments ...etc wich have nothing to do with programming AFAIK

major_small
12-14-2004, 03:50 PM
it depends on the math... I love applied math, but some types of math I just can't get into... for example, long division of polynomials... don't know why I would want that...

that was a bad example though, because I did find that interesting... I guess I would say I like applied math and algebra...

exluddite
12-14-2004, 03:55 PM
My first time around in college, I avoided math like the plague. Now that I've returned to school, I'm finding it very interesting. There are aspects of it (like Trig identities) that still kick my butt.

linuxdude
12-14-2004, 04:49 PM
I love math. Right now I am in Advanced math(trig/precalc) and algebra II, I am going into Calculus next year. The only thing I don't like about it is box and wisker charts:)

gcn_zelda
12-14-2004, 05:02 PM
I don't "love" math, but it can be interesting, the way it works. I used to hate it, but now that I can do things with it, it's interesting.

kermi3
12-14-2004, 06:44 PM
I loved math until it got into calc. Then it started to slip away from me.

Currently, I have to love math. I am helping to teach a 6th grade math class. I have found that I love it. The material is interesting and challenging to teach - they are starting to really touch some increasingly abstract concepts. But what I really love is that it gives me plenty of oppertunities to work one on one with the kids, and that is what I love to do. That is why I'm in teaching.

SourceCode
12-14-2004, 11:01 PM
I loved math until it got into calc. Then it started to slip away from me.

Currently, I have to love math. I am helping to teach a 6th grade math class. I have found that I love it. The material is interesting and challenging to teach - they are starting to really touch some increasingly abstract concepts. But what I really love is that it gives me plenty of oppertunities to work one on one with the kids, and that is what I love to do. That is why I'm in teaching.

I hated math till I took calc, we are totally opposite:) After that the more math I took the more I began to love it.

I think it's great that you are teaching, the best way to learn mathematics is to teach mathematics. I also do teaching one-on-one, more like tutoring, in mathematics, and I have found it to be extremely rewarding in every possible way.

caroundw5h
12-14-2004, 11:39 PM
throughout much of my school years - from elementary on - i was never very good at math. My grade 6 teacher told me i had a "block" for math. and i had always thought thus. Then about two years ago i started programming.

I qucikly became intrigued with the use of mathematics in computers and went on a quest to find the w5h of mathematics - who, what, where, when, why and how - to my joy i found out i loved it. not only did i love it but i enjoyed the challenge.
I'm come to find out that I'm not good at calculating(probably due to me not learning the basics in school on count of me "having a block") - however I love theoretical mathematics, applied mathematics and looking at the world "mathematically". besides calcualting is a skill that can be developed.

It turns out i never had a "block" for mathematics. I was just inquisitive. I wanted to know why. why is 2 + 2 equal four, why do we count up to ten, how does a computer read info yada yada yada. if i didn't have those questions answered i couldn't go on to learn the next lesson and in math, each lesson - for the most part - builds successivly on the past.

In closing i love mathematics and the study of it. i've come to discover that perhaps more students would love it too if they had better teachers in school who actually knew mathematics history and applications, and not just read from a textbook.


you don't have to be a mathematician to be a programmer, but to be a good programmer - it sure does help!!



:rolleyes:

VirtualAce
12-15-2004, 09:34 AM
I love math. But in high school I failed algebra 1 and didn't do so hot in ...get this....geometry and pre-calc. Now I'm creating my own 3D engine.

Math is very cool but the reason it never 'hit' me is because it was all taught in extremely abstract ways. For instance the distance formula was never explained as far as why it worked....just that it did. Sorry but I cannot understand it if you do not explain why the dumb thing works. So pretty much I gave up because the way it was taught just didn't fit me.

Also I hate sitting in class listening to someone lecture for an hour on an algo/principle I can figure out in like 5 minutes. The classes go way too slow for me and thus I get bored. I'm also a hands-on learner which means get outta my way and lemme do it. Instead they want you to take ten-thousand notes and then sift through them when you encounter problems.

When I dove into game programming mathematics became extremely necessary. Now I have a very good understanding of mathematics but I really need to take all the calcs up to Calculus 4. But as far as games are concerned you cannot actually calculate every movement and event like it happens in the real world. Way too slow. So good approximations are needed which is why you have to understand why and how the 'real world algo' works.

Do your students a favor and tell them why it works, why it computes - don't just make them regurgitate answers. Math is about principles, laws, and algos - if you don't learn those then you are short-circuiting all of it. When you know the principles, laws, and algos then you can begin to apply those to other problems.

andersRson
12-17-2004, 11:56 AM
I am ok with math.
I used to really hate math, from say 4th grade through all of school. It wasn't until about 2 years ago(I'm 24 now) that I gave it an honest shot and really tried to understand it. I didn't really bother to try in school, had so much other fun stuff to do =)

Now I'm at the university, just finished (the swedish equivalent of) cs 101, and this spring I'm taking math courses.

I'm very relieved that I lost my fear of math, because now I can do what I always wanted to do - code. Before I always thought there was no point, cuz I couldn't do the math I needed. Now I do, and that feels good.

I think what got me past the "block" I had was entirely an attitude thing. I stopped thinking "no I can't, I don't understand this" and started thinking "well, there is just no alternative. I'm gonna have to understand this, so there's no point in whining about it".
And I alway knew I was no dumber that the people in my school who went on to study physics and engineering and whatnot. Why wouldn't I be able to do math if they were?

axon
12-17-2004, 12:22 PM
I am OK with math as well leaning towards love :p I just hate the way it is thought at most schools...nevertheless, I'm glad I only have one math course left: numerical analysis - oh joy! I saw a previous exam, where one of the questions was "prove that 1 + 1 = 2; the sample solution spanned over two sheets of paper (hand written though).

>>box and wisker charts<<
I never did these until statistics - or at least don't remember them from high school. It was an easy 5 points on one of my midterms :)

Brain Cell
12-17-2004, 01:05 PM
where one of the questions was "prove that 1 + 1 = 2"
I hate this kind of question. I hate having to prove some mathematical theory or formula. I think i'll never get over it because i don't like math anyway. I'd answer that question with something like "my proof is that you can't prove the opposite". Smart answer , isn't it? ;)

Believe it or not , im 19 and i still can't do the long division :o.*shrugs*

axon
12-17-2004, 01:10 PM
>>"my proof is that you can't prove the opposite".<<

actually this is a very powerfull proof technique: proof by contradiciton -I've used it countless times in my computational theory class. To say that you can't do something is just as powerful as saying what you can do - and sometimes it is easier to find the former, and impossible to find the latter!

Thantos
12-17-2004, 01:15 PM
Heh prove that 2 + 2 = 5 then axon ;)

axon
12-17-2004, 01:16 PM
that I'll leave to the Underground man - I wonder if anyone will get what I'm saying.

Brain Cell
12-17-2004, 01:16 PM
actually this is a very powerfull proof technique: proof by contradiciton -I've used it countless times in my computational theory class.
Yea we took that in discrete math , but its not done (or at least we don't do it) that way. We used to do it in a "mathematical" style with formulas and stuff , so i'd still be having hard time in both cases :(

misplaced
12-17-2004, 01:22 PM
a tad off topic, but is there a 'name' for, well, the following...

all numbers which add up to 3 or 9 are divisble by 3 or 9 ...
ex: 21 (2 + 1 = 3) 21 % 3 = 0
ex: 18 (1 + 8 = 9) 18 % 9 = 0

i believe there's something like this for every number up to 10 except for 7.....i remember learning this in elementary school. i would like to look it up and find out the 'magic' behind it.

Brain Cell
12-20-2004, 10:04 AM
50 voters and only 2 (including me) hate math .... wow :eek:

caroundw5h
12-20-2004, 10:19 AM
50 voters and only 2 (including me) hate math .... wow :eek:
Honestly I think once you really get into programming and understandiing - or wanting to understand how things work you will really develop a 'fondness' at least for mathematics. math is the key to the door of understanding; and the other sciences. without mathematics you're floundering at best.

Just a sidenote, they say many programmers become really good mathematicians and not necessarily vice versa. I honestly believe this has something to do with a programmer understanding the "non-necessity" of counting in decimal. There is such a door of understanding opened when I realized this and how "symbolic" mathematics really is. I'd say more in this diatribe, but i lost my train of thought. hate it when that happens!!! :rolleyes:

SourceCode
12-20-2004, 06:48 PM
Just a sidenote, they say many programmers become really good mathematicians and not necessarily vice versa.

I think it is totally the opposite. While both share abstract concepts, Mathematics is much more abstract, rigorous, and difficult to grasp than anything in everyday programming. Essentially, Mathematics teaches a person to think about problems very well, and because of this the transition for a well learned Mathematician to programming is trivial. On the other hand, the transition for well learned programmer to mathematics would probably be a bit harder. It would really depend on the programmers experience and other factors of course. But in general, the transition from either to the other can be done because both contain several things that need to be thought about abstractly.

ammar
12-25-2004, 09:41 AM
I like math...
I used to hate it when I was at school because most of my math teachers were bad ones. I think your teacher is right, when it comes to programming you should at least be OK with math. If you want to get a university degree in computer science you must be OK with math. I had 6 math courses at the university, and most other courses are somehow related to math.

[edit]
Sometimes the problem isn't in the math itself, it's just that you've never been tought math right

sean
12-25-2004, 09:54 AM
I don't know that I've used a whole lot of math in programming. If you do a lot of game programming, I can see uses for it. I think the connection is that if you're good at technical things, you're good at technical things. People who are talented and interested in computers tend to be good at math. Being well trained in one area then probably just flows into another because it develops your brain in a very similar way.

whistlenm1
12-25-2004, 12:46 PM
Another math lover here, its the next best thing to playing chess!

sean
12-25-2004, 12:50 PM
I like Go..

Maragato
12-25-2004, 04:21 PM
But in fact what we do in math at University is memmorize a bunch of steps to remmember how to solve a dumb problem that will never have practical use.