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Old 01-04-2010, 01:10 PM
 
Location: Queen Creek, AZ
6,139 posts, read 9,180,898 times
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I am a student at the University of New Mexico (UNM), and am heading towards a major in Computer Science with a minor in Math.

Now I was wondering, what types of Math courses do you think would be best for CS majors like myself? Should I lean towards pure theoretical math, or should I focus on applied math?

At UNM, CS students are required to take Calculus I (Math 162) and II (Math 163), Linear Algebra (either Math 314 or 321), Statistics (Stat 345), and Numerical Computing (CS/Math 375), all of which I already completed. The Computer Science department also requires students to take their own Discrete Math course (CS 261), which I also completed.

For the Math minor, I am required to take Calculus III (Multivariable, Math 264), and four 300+ level courses other than what is required for the CS major. Math Education courses cannot apply to the Math minor, nor can Math 317 Elementary Combinatorics or Math 327 Discrete Math.

So far for my math minor, I have taken Math 318 Graph Theory (which IS accepted for the Math minor) and Math 464 Applied Matrix Theory. I was told by my advisor that these are excellent choices for a CS major who is minoring in Math, however, what was surprising was the low number of CS students who were in those courses during the time I took them. In Math 318 Graph Theory, I was only one of three CS students in the class, and in Math 464 Applied Matrix Theory, I was the only CS student in the class.

So, I need two more 300+ level Math courses. It seems that the three most popular courses for CS students going for a Math minor are Math 316 Applied Ordinary Differential Equations, Math 312 Partial Differential Equations for Engineering, and Math 311 Vector Analyisis. I don't see why Vector Analyisis would be so popular with CS students, as it is more used in Physics than anything else. I am currently registered to 316 Applied Ordinary Differential Equations for this upcoming Spring 2010 semester.

Does anyone have suggestions?
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Old 01-04-2010, 03:35 PM
 
Location: Houston
3,567 posts, read 4,265,636 times
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I chose business as my minor. I don't really think anybody cares what math classes you're exactly taking. The choices you have are quite good. Those classes ain't hard. I found it kinda hard to choose a minor for Computer Science. MY College does not offer a minor in Computer Engineering. I have no idea why.
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Old 01-12-2010, 11:02 PM
 
Location: Conejo Valley, CA
12,470 posts, read 18,188,668 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andros 1337 View Post
Now I was wondering, what types of Math courses do you think would be best for CS majors like myself? Should I lean towards pure theoretical math, or should I focus on applied math?
This depends greatly on what you see yourself doing in the future. Taking courses like partial differential equations is in no sense universally applicable, in fact for most I think its fairly useless.

If you have no idea what you want to do, then I'd suggest courses in statistics, probability theory and a bit of logic. These areas have the widest scope in the job market right now. But honestly, a general purpose CS degree is not going to take you very far. After all, you can find people with this knowledge in India that will work for much less than you.

If your advisor never bothered to ask you what you wanted to do within CS before giving advice, then I'd suggest seeing a different advisor.
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Old 01-12-2010, 11:04 PM
 
Location: Conejo Valley, CA
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Originally Posted by XodoX View Post
I don't really think anybody cares what math classes you're exactly taking.
Except of course employers that need people knowledgeable in statistics, probability theory, logic, algebra or etc.
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Old 01-13-2010, 09:13 AM
 
9 posts, read 31,480 times
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It's definitely strange that you still require so many math classes to get a minor for a comp science major. Most of my Comp science and Comp eng friends only need 1 or 2 more math classes to get a minor.

Anyway, I would agree with User_id's recommendation to take up stats, probability, logic and algebra. Those are very useful classes if you're serious with it. A few of those business math will do you a lot of good if you plan to be on the management side of things (which most CS major tend to be). If you're planning to delve deeper into the engineering side of your major, I would say, pick up more applied math courses. They would definitely help you a lot more.
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Old 01-13-2010, 09:39 AM
 
Location: Houston
529 posts, read 1,205,998 times
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Good choice, I double majored in CS and Math, it wasn't in my plans at the time but after graduation I found out that these two majors are hot in the financial industry.
Definitely go for applied math instead of theoretical. Take ODE's for sure, the PDE course since it's for engineers might be useful. I don't know about vector analysis, is it possible for you to take instead an additional stats course like game theory? What about stochastic calculus? although this might be a little more advanced. Or maybe there are graduate courses in time series analysis or linear models. I found all that very useful.
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Old 01-13-2010, 02:49 PM
 
Location: Conejo Valley, CA
12,470 posts, read 18,188,668 times
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Originally Posted by elikhom View Post
Definitely go for applied math instead of theoretical.
Why should one "definitely" go for applied math over theoretical?

Quote:
Originally Posted by elikhom View Post
is it possible for you to take instead an additional stats course like game theory?
Game theory is not statistics, its ahem...Game theory.
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Old 01-13-2010, 10:05 PM
f_m
 
2,289 posts, read 7,792,251 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andros 1337 View Post

So, I need two more 300+ level Math courses. It seems that the three most popular courses for CS students going for a Math minor are Math 316 Applied Ordinary Differential Equations, Math 312 Partial Differential Equations for Engineering, and Math 311 Vector Analyisis. I don't see why Vector Analyisis would be so popular with CS students, as it is more used in Physics than anything else. I am currently registered to 316 Applied Ordinary Differential Equations for this upcoming Spring 2010 semester.

Does anyone have suggestions?
It's all highly dependent on what you want to do later. However, the number one thing I think is important is to understand how to incorporate them into computing routines, otherwise you probably won't spend much time on them or learn as much. With all the new computing resources available for low cost (teraflop desktop machines), companies/organizations are solving whatever they can on the computer. As far as vector analysis and differential equations, these are use to compute real world math like fluid flow, climate models, Hollywood FX (ocean water in Pirates of the Caribbean) etc...
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