Thread: Math Question

  1. #1
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    May 2005

    Math Question

    Hi, I will be going to school in the fall to take a computer science course, and they have me taking calc 1,2,3 and linear algebra. Well my question is if it is important for me to know most of the stuff in these courses to be a successful programmer because math is not my strong area in school. In other words do I need to retain a lot of the information from those math classes? BTW I want to get into video game programming (Any Schools out there that are good for that?).

    Thank you for your time!

  2. #2
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    Apr 2003
    Well my question is if it is important for me to know most of the stuff in these courses to be a successful programmer because math is not my strong area in school.

    In other words do I need to retain a lot of the information from those math classes?

    BTW I want to get into video game programming
    Then, I think you will also have to study physics, as well as advanced mathematics.

  3. #3
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    Apr 2005
    I think perhaps the most important courses for you will be your math classes. As math is the foundation for most of programming. As a programmer you need to truly understand how mathematics works because you will have to design and implement various algorithms to get a task done. If you do not have a strong math background/and or do not like math then maybe CS is not for you. However, if you are willing to spend time to sharpen your math skills then by all means go for it. The struggle will make the journey worth while. Best of luck.

  4. #4
    Senior Member joshdick's Avatar
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    Nov 2002
    Phildelphia, PA
    A thorough understanding of Linear Algebra is required for graphics programming, and knowlege of Calculus will aid you in Physics.

    If you don't think you can handle math and science, then perhaps CS isn't for you.

    "The computer programmer is a creator of universes for which he alone is responsible. Universes of virtually unlimited complexity can be created in the form of computer programs." -- Joseph Weizenbaum.

    "If you cannot grok the overall structure of a program while taking a shower, you are not ready to code it." -- Richard Pattis.

  5. #5
    Hardware Engineer
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    Sep 2001

    Thumbs up Don’t get too discouraged.

    Your desire to succeed in programming should help motivate you to learn the required math. Motivation is a BIG factor. It’s easier to learn when you’re your interested, and people tend to be good at things they like to do. (Or, they like to do things they are good at. ) Know your weaknesses, study hard, and try to compensate. As long as you can pass the math classes, you will be OK.

    If you haven’t had calculus, it’s almost a different subject… like geometry & trigonometry are different from “regular math” or algebra. I’m not saying it’s easier… it’s just different. Make sure that you have the prerequisites for the math courses. ( I got into a calculus class my first quarter, and I had a tough time because I didn’t have quite enough high school math.)

    You don’t have to be a math whiz, but you will be required to pass these engineering-level math courses. You will be given programming assignments involving math. Without the math prerequisites, you wouldn’t understand the assignment. You don’t have to “retain” all of the details, but you must know the math concepts and terminology.

    There will be other required engineering & science classes with math prerequisites. In fact, ALL of the engineering and hard-science fields require a fair amount of math. By the time you graduate, you will have a stronger math background than the average non-technical college graduate.

    Given all that, there isn’t that much math in most programming. OK, there is a ton of “basic math” and logic, but if you picked any program at random and looked at the source code, it’s unlikely to contain calculus, differential equations, matrix operations, or any real high-level math!

    Students who are successful in computer science tend to be “left brained” logical thinkers. They also tend to have above average intelligence and higher than average grades. (You’ll also find these traits in most math, science, and engineering majors.) They also tend to be curious types who like solving puzzles, or figuring out how things work (I call this the “hacker mentality” ).

  6. #6
    S Sang-drax's Avatar
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    May 2002
    Göteborg, Sweden
    If you want to be a programmer, I strongly recommend courses in discrete mathematics and combinatorics.
    Last edited by Sang-drax : Tomorrow at 02:21 AM. Reason: Time travelling

  7. #7
    Let's do some coding! Welshy's Avatar
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    Mar 2005
    Staffordshire University, UK
    maths is especially important in video games programming

  8. #8
    err: undefined :(
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    Mar 2005
    If you want to get in to game programming I highly advise you to join modding communities. NOTHING (Ok, some other things could ) could prove to you more about how important math is to programming than working with Half lifes Source engine.

  9. #9
    People Love Me
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    Jan 2003
    You need to be extremely strong in your Algebra, Geometry, and Trig (at least) to be a game programmer. It's important to be good with geometric formulas, and right triangles and trigonometry are extremely vital to rotations and many other things. Calculus isn't so neccesary in doing non-Action-type games, especially 2D ones. But Calculus can be good for finding slopes of curves (like making Sonic run up a parabola).

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