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Thread: Essential math skills for a computer scientist?

  1. #1 Essential math skills for a computer scientist? 
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    Hello math people. I wasn't sure whether to post this here or in the computer science section, but anyway, my question is this: Which areas of math are of particular significance for a computer scientist? I'm asking this because i recently came to the conclusion that i want to become one, but i am currently going to a vocational school which emphasizes more on business mathematics (despite it being an IT related field). It would also be nice if you (math people) could include some sources (books, links) where to learn about these areas of math.

    Thanks for reading.


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  3. #2  
    Forum Junior c186282's Avatar
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    I'm a physicist and I work with many programmers in a technical environment. The programmers that have mathematical skills in addition to their programing skills are by far better at getting our projects done. Also the programmers that have poor math skills get the crank and grind work that does not requirer as much creativity.

    I'm sure you will get a list of books and classes here but I would suggest that you just start with what you find interesting and develop a passion for mathematics.

    P.S. Be sure to take some physics also so you have something to use your math on.


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  4. #3  
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    Quote Originally Posted by c186282
    I'm a physicist and I work with many programmers in a technical environment. The programmers that have mathematical skills in addition to their programing skills are by far better at getting our projects done. Also the programmers that have poor math skills get the crank and grind work that does not requirer as much creativity.

    I'm sure you will get a list of books and classes here but I would suggest that you just start with what you find interesting and develop a passion for mathematics.

    P.S. Be sure to take some physics also so you have something to use your math on.
    good advice
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  5. #4  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope MagiMaster's Avatar
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    I suppose which areas of math in specific would be most helpful depends on what you want to do with your computer science training. (I find computer science in general to be very similar to math in general.)

    Most of the basics are covered by most university core math classes (calculus, differential equations, etc). Other useful/interesting classes are things like discrete math, abstract algebra, set theory and logic (which isn't always considered a math course).

    The study of algorithms and proving things about running time and such involve quite a bit of algebra and calculus.

    If you want to do scientific computing, then learning about physics would definitely be helpful. If you wanted to do biocomputing, some biology would be good. (And so on. )

    So, before I suggest any specific books, what are your interests? Pure computer science? Simulation (of what)?
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  6. #5  
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    Hello, im an avarge nerd, so I aint got any refernces.
    But two peoples books you should read imo, is:
    Markov and George Boole and mayby also turringer so three people it is:P
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  7. #6  
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    Quote Originally Posted by MagiMaster
    So, before I suggest any specific books, what are your interests? Pure computer science? Simulation (of what)?
    What about artificial intelligence, I would think probability and fuzzy logic, what else though?
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  8. #7  
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    Quote Originally Posted by MagiMaster
    If you want to do scientific computing, then learning about physics would definitely be helpful. If you wanted to do biocomputing, some biology would be good. (And so on. )

    So, before I suggest any specific books, what are your interests? Pure computer science? Simulation (of what)?
    Well I'm actually interested in a lot of topics in which programming/computer science could be applied, so much so that it's been driving me nuts for a long time now. Just to give an idea of the things id like to learn about, heres a few: physics, robotics and electronics, pure computer science, application programming, computer hacking, networking, reverse engineering and encryption (and every single subcategory in these fields).
    My interests between all of these areas fluctuate by the week (sometimes even by the day), and it seems almost inconceivable to pursue two or more of these, let alone all of them. This is one of the reasons i decided it would be good to start by improving my math skills, since all of my interests could benefit from it. I guess i just need to start with whatever seems interesting.
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  9. #8  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope MagiMaster's Avatar
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    Yeah I forgot linear algebra on my previous list. That's also generally useful.

    For AI, you need a lot of statistics. Fuzzy logic sounds cool and all, but unless that's your sub-specialty, it doesn't come up much.

    For robotics, linear algebra is very useful, as well as quaternions (not a field of study, but something to be familiar with). Robot senses fall under signal processing which also uses a lot of linear algebra and Fourier analysis.

    Electronics is fairly separated from computer science, but simulating circuits would require a good bit of calculus, differential equations and numerical methods.

    Encryption/cryptography requires a lot of basic math applied at very high levels. The various analysis classes would be useful here.

    Programming, hacking and reverse engineering aren't really specific enough, or don't really rely on high levels of math skill enough, for me to offer any suggestions.
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