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Jun 14, 2019 22:28:45

reminiscing about college math

by @swizecteller | 317 words | 🐣 | 116💌

Swizec Teller

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I actually quite enjoyed all the math at my CS degree. Calculus turned out to be the easiest of them all 😅

Ok I lie, numerical methods where we used Octave to do approximations for problems unsolvable by calculus was the easiest


I will never forget linear algebra and doing fucking Newton Elimination by hand. Damn shit takes five fucking whiteboards for the simplest bloody matrices. Make one arithmetic mistake and the whole damn algorithm is ruined ... you only find out at the end

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaussian_elimination …


To be fair doing it with a computer in the numerical methods class was a fucking delight the year after

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It's hard to summarize. A lot of other stuff usually gets thrown into calculus classes (ours were just called Analysis 1 and 2)

Derivatives help you calculate rate of change at points on a curve.

Integrals help you calculate area under complex curves.


In practice, you will never use analysis to get those results. Most practical derivatives and integrals are unsolvable with analytical methods.

Plus modern computers are super fast so approximating the result numerically is waaaay more efficient than asking a mathematician.


HOWEVER the infinite series shit, that stuff is super useful.

I also found the concept of modular spaces often comes handy in the real world https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modular_arithmetic …

A mentally fun one from Analysis 1&2 also were complex number inequalities. That shit's trippy


Oh here's another branch of maths that often gets lumped into calculus that is super useful in real world engineering (mostly not software): Differential equations.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Differential_equation …

Particularly the nonlinerial kind. Great for modeling stuff https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nonlinear_system#Nonlinear_differential_equations …


Anyway I hope I'm not scaring you @joelatwar, my CS course was very theoretically geared. Meant to breed future computer scientists, not engineers. It was almost a math major :D

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    @swizecteller One of my majors was applied mathematics, and I can honestly say I NEVER reminisce about college math. In my numerical methods class, I remember I had one problem that I used Mathematica to solve. I kicked it off that night on my bondi blue iMac, and when I woke up the next morning it was still churning away. Eventually, I did get an answer.

    Brandon Wilson avatar Brandon Wilson | Jun 15, 2019 17:07:29
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      @brandonwilson damn that's crazy. We never had datasets or algorithms so complex they wouldn't finish in a few seconds

      Swizec Teller avatar Swizec Teller | Jun 15, 2019 20:42:56
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      @swizecteller Well it was 20 years ago, so I'm sure iPhones now have several orders of magnitude greater computing power than the original iMac.

      Brandon Wilson avatar Brandon Wilson | Jun 16, 2019 08:01:31
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      @brandonwilson ah yes, my iWatch now has unimaginably more computing power than my first Pentium in the 90's :D

      My college was juuuust when single core performance started hitting a wall and dual core processors were becoming affordable

      Swizec Teller avatar Swizec Teller | Jun 16, 2019 14:07:31
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