On 2/22/13 8:39 AM, Cary Gordon wrote:
> While comprehensive specific math skill set might not be necessary in
> programming, an understanding of mathematics beyond arithmetic can be
> very useful. Relational database theory, for example, maps pretty
> neatly to set theory.
In fact, Cary, you can do relational databases just fine without set
theory. If it maps to set theory when you do know it, that's fine. But
in all the years in which I've worked on databases, only one person
involved in the design was a mathematician, and she didn't work directly
on defining the database design. Just because some of coding can be
explained with math doesn't mean that you *need* math to explain it.
Mathematics did not invent the concept of sets; you can go back to
Aristotle and find, pre-mathematical set theory, a good philosophical
basis for that thinking.
> Mathematics in general delivers a lot of insight into dealing with
> complex patterns.
As do music, language, clothing manufacture and building. And if you may
recall, the punch card and the first programming came from weaving
machinery. There are lots of activities that use complex patterns.
> Is a solid math background necessary to program? Of course not. Sooner
> or later though, programmers need a solid understanding of logic.
Yes, but there are many sources for that solid understanding. To insist
that the understanding has to come from mathematics is to essentially
take a very narrow view of human thought. This is one of the things that
bothers me about some proponents of mathematics: there seems to be a
view that math is the one true approach. If that were the case, our
world would be sadly uniform and uncreative.
> On Fri, Feb 22, 2013 at 7:30 AM, Karen Coyle <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> On 2/21/13 7:48 PM, Emily Morton-Owens wrote:
>>> This was just the right thing to say, because he was connecting it to
>>> something that I consider myself talented at (languages), rather than
>>> something I don't (math).
>> I want to clear up the "math is hard" and "programming is math" myths.
>> First, the ratio of women to men in graduate math programs is approaching
>> 50/50, although women are still struggling to be hired and gain tenure in
>> math departments. So "math is hard" for many of us, but it's not necessarily
>> a gender thing. (I'm looking for the cite for this -- I've done too much
>> random reading recently and didn't mark this. May be book below.)
>> Math skills are not required for programming. There was a time when silicon
>> valley was desperate for programmers, and some companies advertised that
>> they were looking for folks with music skills and they would teach them
>> programming -- because they had found that musicians make for good
>> programmers. It's the ability to deal with complex patterns that makes a
>> difference. Which is why it annoys me when programming instruction begins
>> with a list of mathematical functions that most programmers will never need.
>> I believe that Rosy was the first to recommend this, but the IEEE
>> publication: Gender Codes - why women are leaving computing/ edited by
>> Thomas Misa, 2010 is essential reading. You can get it as a Kindle or Nook
>> book. isbn 978-0470-59719-4 (paper) 978-1118-03513-9 (ebook)
>>>> Hi Folks,
>>>> I'm teaching systems analysis at SILS (UNC CH) this semester.
>>>> Though the course is required for the IS degree, it's not required for
>>>> LS degree.
>>>> However, the majority of my students this semester are LS. And the vast
>>>> majority are women.
>>>> Apropos of the part of the thread that dealt with numbers:
>>>> For those of you who came into this community and at some point went
>>>> through a MSLS or MSIS program I am wondering if there are things I could
>>>> try to do that might have an impact on better aligning the ratio of men
>>>> women in code4lib and the technology end of the field in general to that
>>>> in the general population?
>>>> Was there a moment of clarity? A person who said or modeled the right
>>>> thing? A project that helped uncover a skill you didn't know you had?
>>>> And, I am not just interested in what I can do through one class, but
>>>> what the curriculum and school could do more holistically.
>> Karen Coyle
>> [log in to unmask] http://kcoyle.net
>> ph: 1-510-540-7596
>> m: 1-510-435-8234
>> skype: kcoylenet
[log in to unmask] http://kcoyle.net