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Old 09-04-2009, 06:20 PM
Location: Queen Creek, AZ
7,132 posts, read 11,724,525 times
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I am going for a major in Computer Science at UNM, and am minoring in math.

I was wondering, what subjects do you think fit best with Computer Science?

I have always thought Linear Algebra and Discrete Math to be the best fits for CS. The CS department requires CS majors to have at least one semester of Linear Algebra, but allows students to choose either one of two Linear Algebra courses - an applied linear algebra course, or a pure (theoretical) linear algebra course. I took the applied one. For Discrete Math, the CS department actually has their own courses that cover the subject.

Now for my math minor, I have taken a Graph Theory course, and I am currently taking an Applied Matrix Theory course (a followup to Linear Algebra). I am specifically required to take a Multivariable Calculus course for my math minor. I am also perhaps considering an Applied Ordinary Differential Equations course, and a Numerical Linear Algebra course.

What is surprising though is the low number of CS students who were taking some of those courses. I was only one of three CS students in the Graph Theory course that I took, and in the Applied Matrix Theory course I am currently taking, I am the ONLY CS student.

It seems like the most popular math courses here at UNM for CS students minoring in math are Applied Ordinary Differential Equations, Partial Differential Equations, and Vector Analysis. I can perhaps see why the first two would be popular with CS students, but I can't see why Vector Analysis would be useful for CS students other than those who are great at physics.
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Old 09-05-2009, 12:25 AM
Location: Conejo Valley, CA
12,469 posts, read 19,704,918 times
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It's not surprising that there are so few CS students in a graph theory or a "applied matrix theory" class, most CS students don't need to know this stuff. Things like linear algebra (beyond the basics) are really only relevant to a small subset of computer science, e.g., computer graphics.

What is surprising is that so few CS students have taken a course in logic and computability theory as these are the foundations of computer science as it exists today! Only the top programs tend to make their students learn this stuff (e.g., MIT, CMU, etc). Besides logic/computability theory what math a computer science student needs to know is directly related to what they want to do in computer science, as a result it makes much more sense to just understand mathematics as a field. You're not going to come to an understanding of mathematics by running a bunch of banal calculations in a differential equations course...
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