|FROM ||Ruben Safir
|SUBJECT ||Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Math and Computer Sciences
|From owner-hangout-outgoing-at-mrbrklyn.com Sat Aug 30 21:55:23 2014
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Date: Sat, 30 Aug 2014 21:55:52 -0400
From: Ruben Safir
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Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Math and Computer Sciences
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On 08/27/2014 04:09 AM, Bryan J Smith wrote:
>>> I remember being confused by the amount of calculus involved, and to
>>> this day, I still haven't used any of it. I think there's a danger of
>>> wanting to give people a "well-rounded" education when it really doesn't
>>> help you in employment situations.
> ?Huh? This is the second time this has been mentioned, and I don't
> understand it.
> All I used in college was calculus ... for everything. Not just physics,
> analysis, environmental impact, mechanics, discrete/linear/?DSP (CS/EE/CpE
> flavors), signals/fields, etc... but also statistics, microeconomics,
> management/risk even resource geography (actually came in very handy in two
> jobs). In addition to the 12 semester hours of calculus (4 classes) itself
> and 12+4 semester class+labs hours of chemistry+physics, I had 96 hours of
> pre-core+core/option+specialty (general/EE+CpE) engineering that was all
> calculus. I think I had a whole 5 classes, 15 semester hours, of "general
> ed" (2x compsition, 2x history and philosophy) that did not use it.
I'm with you Bryan but right now I feel like a small child at a buffy.
I want big helpings of everything, and the BS would give that to me more
than the MS, but I just can't see passing the MS up for a BS at this
point, and I REALLY don't want to be treated like a 19 year old kid,
chasing my tail all the time and driving me to burn out. At least for
now, I think I'm going to try the MS because lower risk and higher reward.
That being said, I can't go without this math. Not just the Calc, but
the matrix Math and linear algebra. I need to study these as well, and
as soon as I get settled in, I'm going to be exploring this, even if I
have to do this on my own.
I KNOW that knowing good math skills can get one hired when others are
not. It means you can solve problems that others can not.
> Now ... there might be an explanation for that. If you attend a college
> that is an "Technology," but PhD-level research institution, you tend to
> get calculus-based everything -- economics, statistics, management/risk,
> etc... Some schools require it for just engineering, while others require
> it for any science-based degree. My Alma Mater (UCF, originally founded as
> FTU, an engineering college under a NASA space grant during Apollo) only
> requires 100% calculus-based "pre-core" classes for engineers. As I
> understand it, Georgia Tech and other "Institute of Technologies" are
> notorious for requiring a number of math, statistics and even CS majors to
> take engineering pre-core with 100% calculus-based classes which are shared
> with an engineering "pre-core" track.
> ?It really depends on the institution, but even today, I cannot imagine
> life without knowing calculus.
> E.g., rate of change in the US deficit is a 2nd order differential from
> overall debt -- and that's very elementary calculus. But I can ?understand
> how most Americans don't get that, and why 2000 -- despite having a net,
> although small, surplus -- was a very, very bad time for the economy, which
> led to some of the biggest layoffs in US history during Q1 of 2001 (jobs
> are the last to lose and last to come back).
>> The question is probably along the lines of "what do you want to be when
>>> you grow up?" Theoretical and practical computing are still two wildly
>>> different things, maybe even more so now. What's the goal here?
>>> Education because that's fun, or to get a job at the end of it? Is it
>>> programmer or CTO? Tech advocate? Circuit designer? There are so many
>>> specialities now; unless you're working for yourself, an employer will
>>> probably be most interested in how you can help them, and that's often
>>> in one specific area. Having a great breadth of knowledge is cool, but
>>> being an expert at something tends to get you paid.
> ?That's interesting because most of my colleagues that majored in
> Industrial Engineering are all upper-level administrators in major
> corporations, and one is a C-level in a moderately sized company. I cannot
> imagine microeconomics, much more risk management, without calculus.
> E.g., "Linear Feedback" isn't just an Electrical Engineering (EE) concept,
> but applies to not just risk, but CS' concepts of "discrete systems" as
> well as elementary digital signals.** You cannot build a system of
> equations for that interaction without calculus.
> This "theory v. practical" argument really falls flat on its face with me.
> That "Generation D" Sprint commercial they used to push used to make me
> laugh, because the world is very much analog. I had an advisor in college
> tell me I shouldn't switch away from Electrical Engineering to avoid
> signals and fields because analog is still everything. And he was right.
> I only wished I would have went after jobs in Fields because that
> experience is extremely and heavily sought after in today's wireless world.
> Even though I only worked in aerospace and semiconductor a small part of
> my career (6 years total), I do like being at a client and not only knowing
> what the heck they are talking about. I can even relate IT-centric closet
> and risk to them as well, instead of just talking with words.
> Even just my elementary statistical courses + past engineering work alone
> allowed me to garner great respect at several clients with researchers
> doing a lot of heavy analysis. E.g., it's much easier to understand SAS
> and R if you have such a background, and they are in heavy use in many
> divisions of many corporations and government.
> Which brings me to the Asimov and Sagan worries that if we don't keep
> teaching our future workers and leaders how to do basic -- not theoretical,
> but "basic" -- math and science, they will quickly forget how to build
> things. In fact we're pretty much reached that point with nuclear power
> plants, and only the US Navy (military) and French (commercial) being the
> sole authorities on the matter these days.
> -- bjs
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