• Advertisement
Sign in to follow this  
  • entries
    15
  • comments
    44
  • views
    14496

Mathematics... rant

Sign in to follow this  

373 views

Well I'm angry. I'm angry at myself for my own stupidity.

Mathematics - I was a retard in school, so I need to do one module of University level maths to continue to second year CS. But the same thoughts still hit me - what is the point in Mathematics? Is it any use?

Well, I'm tempted to say both yes and no. Applied Mathematics may be useful in solving real-world problems, but just about everything else isn't. Maths doesn't exist as such - it's just a set of rules made up by people over the past few thousand years, and exists only in time and space. If it doesn't exist in the real world, I can't grasp it. So I just don't see the point - Maths seems to be a means of getting to the next level rather than something which is genuinely useful, interesting, or based in material fact.

I'd say about 75% of everything you would learn is both useless and overcomplicated. The ONLY time you'll see 100% usefulness is if you're a professional mathematician, working in a University (School teachers never teach anything as advanced as that). I mean, who really needs to be able to solve a trigonometric equation? Real-world application? Nobody and nothing are the two answers you're looking for. Trig graphs? Bollocks. Inequalities? Say what? Fourier series? Now you're pushing it.

I can handle computer science fine, there really is very little Maths involved, but having to jump through such pointless hoops to get there REALLY ticks me off. Especially when you spend hours and hours of struggle and it's always wrong. Struggle continually, hit the exam, fail, and the merry-go-round completes another revolution.

God, I pity Maths students, wasting 3-4, sometimes 5 years proving things which don't exist and that they will never use ever again after graduation. Chances are they'll be sucked into the arms of a financial juggernaut (like most of us) and spend the rest of their lives using the bare minimum in terms of what they have learnt. Pointless.

Gah. Better stop ranting, and try and get something done. And yes, the cracks are beginning to show, my state of mind has gone splat.



Sign in to follow this  


5 Comments


Recommended Comments

Quote:

I mean, who really needs to be able to solve a trigonometric equation? Real-world application? Nobody and nothing are the two answers you're looking for. Trig graphs? Bollocks. Inequalities? Say what? Fourier series? Now you're pushing it.

You are misunderstanding the tool. By itself, a tool is useless if you don't need it. The whole point of math is that you may need it where you don't expect it. I don't solve trig equations very often, but I had fairly complex trig code in the scanner driver I did 2 years ago. Trig graphs helped me to do it right. Fourier series leads to Fourier transforms (and fast Fourier transform), and this is a tool that is extensively used in image manipulation algorithms (as well as in signal treatments algorithms). Nearly every math stuff I learnt when I was still a student was needed at one point of my short career ;) - and I often miss the thing that I don't remember.

Quote:

I can handle computer science fine, there really is very little Maths involved,

You still have to learn about algorithms, language parsing, compression, logic, game theory, and a lot of other CS stuff - and most of them involve a lot of math, so take care [smile]. CS is filled with math.

Share this comment


Link to comment
Engineering and physics are key uses of maths. In fact, any subject where you need to model a physical system.

My course (CS and Cybernetics) includes a lot of control systems engineering, which is almost entirely maths. There are bits of it you can do with slightly-less-mathematical diagrams :P

Once you have a mathematical model of a system, there are all sorts of useful things you can do to it.

Share this comment


Link to comment
I feel your pain :-) During my Masters in Games Development we had quite an intensive maths course which I really didn't like all that much. It focused on the maths you would use for games and still it never stuck.

Stick with it, it's possible to get a really good grade if you practice enough and then its over. You may return to it in your job one day but then you'll have the power of Google for those moments or weakness. I'd also hang on to your math's books :-)

ukdm

Share this comment


Link to comment
Earlier:

"Calculus? adding with letters? I don't know my x-times table."

"Pythagoras? who could use that, I can just measure sides."

"Trigonometry? when am I going to know an angle and not the lengths."

"Matrices? one number is bad enough, why would I want 9 or 16 or more!"

"Complex numbers? are you kidding! We don't have enough numbers so we have to make up another?"


So you might find that what is abstract and useless now will become less so. I'm doing a joint honours in comp sci. and maths, and although some of the maths I might never use (differentiation from first principles anyone?) it is a) an extra feather in my cap, and something that puts me above just an average comp sci graduate and b) useful, at least some of it. I'm not going to say it's all useful, but don't discount it just yet.

Share this comment


Link to comment
Clearly you haven't had your algorithms course yet. [smile]

Quote:
CS is filled with math.


I would go so far as to say computer science is math. I like this quote a lot:

"Computer science is no more about computers than astronomy is about telescopes." - Dijkstra

Share this comment


Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Advertisement