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Thread: best major to get into computer science?

  1. #1 best major to get into computer science? 
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    i would rather focus my study on math in college.

    do math majors ever get computer jobs? is this looked down upon.

    would employers prefer a major with a specialization in computational mathematics or scientific computing, or would a math major with a specialization in plain computer science look better?

    what exactly is computational science/mathematics? is it relevant to the computer science field? what is the difference?
    i looked at the course requirements for the math-scientific computation major and the math-computer science major and they look somewhat similar..

    which would get me the best jobs?
    assuming it's from a respectable university.


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    Forum Freshman CelticMadScientist's Avatar
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    I'm not an absolute expert either, though I'm a computer engineer student (Ph.D.) that really looked hard at computer science engineering. I would think a math major with specialization in computing could probably get you into some good jobs, especially if you got a masters. Math uses computers so much anymore, and at computing centers they need people to translate between those who know more math and those who know more code.

    Computer Science people study things like, for example, computational linguistics, for translating languages, making search engines better. Things like text-to-speech and vice versa that require some knowledge of how the vocal tract works to produce various frequenices and such. At least I dabbled in that stuff some. I'd say it's a pretty good intersection between math and computing, but you have to have some math in order to do anything meaningful anyway.

    Other things might be environmental studies: floodplains, weather.

    Funny thing though, a fair amount of computer engineers seem to fall into computer science type jobs, even though they have more hardware experience rather than software. Not quite sure why.

    Oh, and perhaps most pertinent to your enquiry, I work with a Ph.D. who focused more on math and works at a computer center.


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    Quote Originally Posted by CelticMadScientist
    Things like text-to-speech and vice versa that require some knowledge of how the vocal tract works to produce various frequenices and such.
    I'd be interested in hearing about that. What kind of work did you dabble in there?
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    Forum Freshman CelticMadScientist's Avatar
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    Well, you have to take a certain amount of classes out of your area for masters (fine by me, I really enjoyed the computer science stuff). I took a couple brain theory classes. One was mostly on the neural networks and how those simple constructs can adapt through training (presentation of correct input and outputs followed by modifying the "neuron") to become robust function approximators and classifiers. We also got a taste of an idea of "neural resonators" that could be used to single out different letters in text to aid in OCR. The other brain theory course focused on the auditory system, and how our ears have a series of frequency bands that the various sounds get grouped in, and how that feeds into the brain. Speech-to-text applications make use of knowledge like that to make the computer mimic our hearing and processing of speech.

    Then, I had a class devoted more to just text-to-speech. We learned about phonemes (basic sounds) and how you have to deal with things like one sound influencing the one following it. There's also the insanely hard problem of prosody, or introducing emotion into the speech so it sounds better and more meaningful.

    I also took the 2 general AI classes as prerequesites. The one focused more on deductive reasoning, the other inductive. We looked at applications across a broad range of problems, not just speech and such, but also vision.
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    Man, what university did you attend? This is the kind of stuff I've been daydreaming about for years, hah
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    Forum Freshman CelticMadScientist's Avatar
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    Maybe, I'm being too careful, but I'll PM you the answer; I'm still new here after all. Let's say it's one of the 3 biggest (by population) in the U.S.A. :-D
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