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How important is calculus when programming? - Page 4

post #31 of 68
Discrete math is what's truly more important, granted not the math by itself but the algorithms theory that's based on it. In advanced coding projects you can quickly run into structures such as networks, trees, lists etc, and then there will be the question about how to operate efficiently on them to find, sort, optimize things, etc. If you want to a be a well rounded programmer as opposed to an average business app or "web shopping cart" programmer you certainly want to know your math.

Calculus is probably more important for domain specific coding (numerical computing, games, what-not), which you don't really have to get into if you don't like it.
post #32 of 68
This subject always pisses me off. Why? Because the answer makes no sense.

No, you don't need much math for programming (at least, not with any modern object oriented language).

AND YET, to be a programmer you need to pass several high level math classes in college. For no reason.

People always ask how it is that I can be good with computers yet don't like math. I tell them it's because I'm not a luddite. If only I could tell the school boards that as well. rolleyes.gif
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post #33 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zero4549 View Post

This subject always pisses me off. Why? Because the answer makes no sense.
No, you don't need much math for programming (at least, not with any modern object oriented language).
AND YET, to be a programmer you need to pass several high level math classes in college. For no reason.
People always ask how it is that I can be good with computers yet don't like math. I tell them it's because I'm not a luddite. If only I could tell the school boards that as well. rolleyes.gif

This is actually the reason I decided to minor in CS instead of major in it; I get to take the same courses, but without the tedious math classes.

I've never been bad at math, I've just never enjoyed the classes. Programming on the other hand has been really fun and challenging so far. I am always told that I'm a very logical person (sometimes to a fault) and I imagine that it is probably the reason I like programming as much as I do (granted, I don't have much experience yet... yet...). smile.gif
Edited by SectorNine50 - 12/28/12 at 9:49am
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post #34 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zero4549 View Post

This subject always pisses me off. Why? Because the answer makes no sense.
No, you don't need much math for programming (at least, not with any modern object oriented language).
AND YET, to be a programmer you need to pass several high level math classes in college. For no reason.

That's because the "college major" is usually "Computer Science" and not "IT" or "business programming". CS encompasses everything.. hardware, software, algorithms, and the processes they generate. You argument is like saying that you don't need to know mechanical engineering to drive a car. True. But you need to know something about engineering if you build a car.

The same is true for CS. You don't need to know much about algorithms if all you want to do is to use a class library to call a method that someone else designed and wrote. But there is more to CS than programming. A programming language is only a tool that describes the computation. The core of CS is really to understand how computation is accomplished. For example, trying to figure out how to solve a complex problem, such as design a search engine or a social network, may involve tackling algorithmic issues.

Finally, who said that everything they teach in college must be of practical nature? If you're not in the college of engineering (if you are, why complain?), the CS department must be under the College of Liberal Arts of your institution. Look up what's encompassed by liberal arts on Wikipedia. This usually encompasses humanities, social science, live sciences, math, and physical science, so you end up studying a bit of everything.
post #35 of 68
The only time I have heard a 1st hand account of calculus being used for programming, was when my mom was describing the system she was working on(mid 90's) - a satellite communications system for submerged nuclear subs using a deployed communications bouy. Since I have 5 other programmers in the family, and know many others, I think calc is fairly rarely used tongue.gif
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post #36 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZAKOH View Post

That's because the "college major" is usually "Computer Science" and not "IT" or "business programming". CS encompasses everything.. hardware, software, algorithms, and the processes they generate. You argument is like saying that you don't need to know mechanical engineering to drive a car. True. But you need to know something about engineering if you build a car.
The same is true for CS. You don't need to know much about algorithms if all you want to do is to use a class library to call a method that someone else designed and wrote. But there is more to CS than programming. A programming language is only a tool that describes the computation. The core of CS is really to understand how computation is accomplished. For example, trying to figure out how to solve a complex problem, such as design a search engine or a social network, may involve tackling algorithmic issues.
Finally, who said that everything they teach in college must be of practical nature? If you're not in the college of engineering (if you are, why complain?), the CS department must be under the College of Liberal Arts of your institution. Look up what's encompassed by liberal arts on Wikipedia. This usually encompasses humanities, social science, live sciences, math, and physical science, so you end up studying a bit of everything.

I'm a CS and CE double major, I don't see how that means I should blind myself to the fact that there is simply no reason for forcing higher math on programmers.

As for "who said that everything they teach in college must be of practical nature?", who says people should be forced to pay money and take time learning irrelevant information that will ultimately do nothing other than make them pay less attention to the information that actually matters in their lives? Just because that is how the system currently is, doesn't mean it SHOULD be this way.
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post #37 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZAKOH View Post

That's because the "college major" is usually "Computer Science" and not "IT" or "business programming". CS encompasses everything.. hardware, software, algorithms, and the processes they generate. You argument is like saying that you don't need to know mechanical engineering to drive a car. True. But you need to know something about engineering if you build a car.
The same is true for CS. You don't need to know much about algorithms if all you want to do is to use a class library to call a method that someone else designed and wrote. But there is more to CS than programming. A programming language is only a tool that describes the computation. The core of CS is really to understand how computation is accomplished. For example, trying to figure out how to solve a complex problem, such as design a search engine or a social network, may involve tackling algorithmic issues.
Finally, who said that everything they teach in college must be of practical nature? If you're not in the college of engineering (if you are, why complain?), the CS department must be under the College of Liberal Arts of your institution. Look up what's encompassed by liberal arts on Wikipedia. This usually encompasses humanities, social science, live sciences, math, and physical science, so you end up studying a bit of everything.

I'm a CS and CE double major, I don't see how that means I should blind myself to the fact that there is simply no reason for forcing higher math on programmers.

As for "who said that everything they teach in college must be of practical nature?", who says people should be forced to pay money and take time learning irrelevant information that will ultimately do nothing other than make them pay less attention to the information that actually matters in their lives? Just because that is how the system currently is, doesn't mean it SHOULD be this way.
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post #38 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zero4549 View Post

I'm a CS and CE double major, I don't see how that means I should blind myself to the fact that there is simply no reason for forcing higher math on programmers.
As for "who said that everything they teach in college must be of practical nature?", who says people should be forced to pay money and take time learning irrelevant information that will ultimately do nothing other than make them pay less attention to the information that actually matters in their lives? Just because that is how the system currently is, doesn't mean it SHOULD be this way.

I think you don't seem to fully understand the concept of "universal education". In your world view, the CS major should drop most math courses. But why stop at this? Let's drop foreign language, history, humanities, biology. None of this seem to be relevant to your goals. However, a university education has always been about "universal education". If your goal is to learn just programming, then what you really need is "technical education". In case of programming occupations, getting a certificate from Oracle, Microsoft, etc will suffice.

I am also perplexed by the claim that "simple programming" does not require much knowledge in say math or algorithms. This all depends on how far you want to go. If you want to write a program for iPhone that checks weather or football game scores, or if you need to write a shopping cart time of an application on the web, yes you don't need to know much beyond throwing together a few lines of X (Java, Perl, Objective C, etc) code. If you want to write a process scheduler for an operating system, garbage collector for a programming language, a web crawler, a data base application from scratch, speech recognition program, etc. you probably need to be aware of the relevant theory behind the algorithms involved unless you want to reinvent the wheel. The universities need to educate people who won't move past the shopping cart application but they also need to give enough background material to people who will be designing the next Java or Google in future.
Edited by ZAKOH - 1/9/13 at 10:53am
post #39 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZAKOH View Post

I think you don't seem to fully understand the concept of "universal education". In your world view, the CS major should drop most math courses. But why stop at this? Let's drop foreign language, history, humanities, biology. None of this seem to be relevant to your goals. However, a university education has always been about "universal education". If your goal is to learn just programming, then what you really need is "technical education". In case of programming occupations, getting a certificate from Oracle, Microsoft, etc will suffice.

I am also perplexed by the claim that "simple programming" does not require much knowledge in say math or algorithms. This all depends on how far you want to go. If you want to write a program for iPhone that checks weather or football game scores, or if you need to write a shopping cart time of an application on the web, yes you don't need to know much beyond throwing together a few lines of X (Java, Perl, Objective C, etc) code. If you want to write a process scheduler for an operating system, garbage collector for a programming language, a web crawler, a data base application from scratch, speech recognition program, etc. you probably need to be aware of the relevant theory behind the algorithms involved unless you want to reinvent the wheel. The universities need to educate people who won't move past the shopping cart application but they also need to give enough background material to people who will be designing the next Java or Google in future.

I get that concept, I just feel it is flawed in it's implementation. I'm all for people learning more in general, don't get me wrong there.

What I do know for a fact however is that those iOS weather checking programmers really couldn't care less about traveling salesman algorithms or even basic arithmetic beyond perhaps converting Fahrenheit to Celsius.

It's all well and good that someone out there will make use of the full scope of their college program's covered materials, but they are by far the exception, not the rule.

Instead of forcing everything on everyone only for 99% of students to waste their time getting poor grades in classes they don't care about, our education system should focus on properly teaching the few core things that actually matter to the program, and let the individual voluntarily pick additional specialization classes a la carte.

You wouldn't expect every sushi chef to have a formal education in Spanish. If one happens to, great, they will be the first in line for a a great little nitch job in a sushi bar in mexico when they have an open position. For the rest of the world, I think we would be better off with chefs who concentrate on their food and not on cramming for a literature exam next Tuesday.
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post #40 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zero4549 View Post

I get that concept, I just feel it is flawed in it's implementation. I'm all for people learning more in general, don't get me wrong there.

What I do know for a fact however is that those iOS weather checking programmers really couldn't care less about traveling salesman algorithms or even basic arithmetic beyond perhaps converting Fahrenheit to Celsius.

It's all well and good that someone out there will make use of the full scope of their college program's covered materials, but they are by far the exception, not the rule.

Instead of forcing everything on everyone only for 99% of students to waste their time getting poor grades in classes they don't care about, our education system should focus on properly teaching the few core things that actually matter to the program, and let the individual voluntarily pick additional specialization classes a la carte.

You wouldn't expect every sushi chef to have a formal education in Spanish. If one happens to, great, they will be the first in line for a a great little nitch job in a sushi bar in mexico when they have an open position. For the rest of the world, I think we would be better off with chefs who concentrate on their food and not on cramming for a literature exam next Tuesday.

That's true, but those people who don't care to learn their jobs properly set the pay scale for those who do have the knowledge and skill to do more than just string simpler programs together into bigger programs.
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