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CODE4LIB  February 2013

CODE4LIB February 2013

Subject:

Re: Math or the other math?

From:

Andreas Orphanides <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Code for Libraries <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 27 Feb 2013 09:45:49 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (145 lines)

As a math person who later studied some grad-level computer science, my
personal experience was that the stuff I found easy in CS was exactly what
the CS students got hung up on. So the aspects of CS involving "higher
math" (Hi Cary!) can definitely be challenging for those who don't already
have a math background; and contrariwise having that background can make
grad-level CS stuff go much easier. (This statement applies more to
theoretical CS, but I think trickles down a bit to coding as well.)

The extent to which this applies to the more engineering-y aspects of
programming isn't clear, but I feel like I called on my basic math
understanding a lot when I was learning to code. Knowledge of boolean
algebra and set theory was definitely helpful in learning SQL, for
instance, if only to provide me with a language I was already familiar with
and in which I could frame otherwise new concepts related to querying.

I think if there's one thing that a genuine math background gives a coder,
it's a vocabulary and a conceptual framework that they can apply to the
concepts from programming to make them more familiar. The quantitative
reasoning aspect is big too, of course, and that tends to come with the
study of math; but I think there are other places it can be got (for
instance, philosophical logic [1], rhetoric, hard engineering disciplines,
the natural sciences, some of the social sciences).

[1] ...which is just different enough from mathematical logic to be a bit
Alice-in-Wonderlandy for us math types.

On Wed, Feb 27, 2013 at 9:27 AM, Al Matthews <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> +1 mostly to the thread
>
> Programming seems to me -- just me here -- stratified like any other
> profession, in particular by access or lack of access to computer science
> within software dev.
>
> There are other factors. But computer science seems now heavily invested
> in math.
>
> --
> Al Matthews
>
> Software Developer, Digital Services Unit
> Atlanta University Center, Robert W. Woodruff Library
> email: [log in to unmask]; office: 1 404 978 2057
>
>
>
>
>
> On 2/27/13 9:17 AM, "Michael Hopwood" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
> >You mean discrete mathematics?
> >
> >http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discrete_mathematics
> >
> >I always kicked myself for not taking that course at high school (UK
> >readers, I mean secondary school) but at least I picked up the basics
> >during my physics MSci (a lot of physics these days is coding).
> >
> >Cheers,
> >
> >m
> >
> >-----Original Message-----
> >From: Code for Libraries [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of
> >Ken Irwin
> >Sent: 27 February 2013 13:53
> >To: [log in to unmask]
> >Subject: Re: [CODE4LIB] back to minorities question, seeking guidance
> >
> >What both Kelly and David say is true here:
> >David: programming needs math, not arithmetic.
> >Kelly: computers are good at arithmetic on their own.
> >
> >To which I'll add: the related skill that I see as necessary here is
> >quantitative reasoning - not the crunching of numbers but the correct
> >assembly of the formulae, articulating the systematization of the problem.
> >
> >What I'm less certain of is what sort of training tend to lead to that
> >sort of conceptual skill.
> >
> >Ken
> >
> >
> >
> >On Feb 27, 2013, at 8:44 AM, "David Faler" <[log in to unmask]>
> wrote:
> >
> >> I think math is essential, but what they teach in schools these days
> >> isn't math.  It's arithmetic.  Some intro philosophy courses teach
> >> math.  I'll stop before I start ranting.
> >>
> >> On Wed, Feb 27, 2013 at 12:04 AM, Kelly Lucas <[log in to unmask]>
> >>wrote:
> >>
> >>>
> >>>
> >>>
> >>> On Sat, Feb 23, 2013 at 2:57 AM, Thomas Krichel <[log in to unmask]>
> >>> wrote:
> >>>
> >>>>  Wilhelmina Randtke writes
> >>>>
> >>>>> Pretty much the whole entire entry level programming class for the
> >>>> average
> >>>>> class covers using code to do things that you can do much more
> >>>>> easily without code.
> >>>>
> >>>>  Probably it was the wrong course. I think coding should start with
> >>>> building web pages. A calculator can't do that.
> >>>>
> >>>>  Cheers,
> >>>>
> >>>>  Thomas Krichel                    http://openlib.org/home/krichel
> >>>>                                      http://authorprofile.org/pkr1
> >>>>                                               skype: thomaskrichel
> >>>>
> >>>
> >>>
> >>>
> >>> --
> >>> Kelly R. Lucas
> >>> Senior Developer
> >>> Isovera, Inc.
> >>> [log in to unmask]
> >>> http://www.isovera.com
> >>> http://drupal.org/user/271780
> >>> twitter: @bp1101
> >>>
>
>
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