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Ryan Bishop
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Hi,

I realize this is probably the wrong forum to ask this question but didn't see one for math. I used to post on here when I was learning Java as a hobby. Recently, I've begun getting more interested in the entire area of computer science and realize what an enormous hole I have when it comes to mathematics. I've taken up to Calculus (a long time ago) but recently signed up for Finite Math (starts in August). I've always found the people on here extremely helpful and was wondering if anyone had any recommendations for mathematics related to computer science.

When I see posts on other boards, such as StackOverflow, the answers are pretty patronizing, such as people quoting "good" when someone asks for a good recommendation. Ideally, I'm looking for any recommendations for College Mathematics, Discrete Math, Algebra related to computer science, and the like for self-study. I like Kahn Academy a lot but would like to use textbooks that are clear and well written for a moron like me. It's also important I can have access to answers so I can see if I'm getting stuff right on the problems at the end of the chapters. (I've noticed some book reviews on Amazon express frustration where people learning on their own have no idea if they're answering problems correctly.)

To put it in perspective, I would look at it like you're recommending a math book to the dumbest person you know over the age of 15.

Thanks for any suggestions. (Sorry to the moderator if I should have this somewhere else.)

Chris
 
Henry Wong
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Ryan Bishop wrote:
(Sorry to the moderator if I should have this somewhere else.)


Agreed. This forum is probably not the best place for this topic... but since there isn't really a better place that I can think of, and you are nice about it... ... let's keep it here for now, and see what happens.

Henry
 
Naziru Gelajo
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Have you tried any of M.I.T.s courseware stuff? They have an amazing class on Discrete Structures/Math.
 
Campbell Ritchie
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Agree with Henry. We have a books forum but no maths forum at present, so there is nowhere better for this discussion.

I suggest you start by saying what sort of level you are with maths, because different books are aimed at different levels of expertise and experience. You said over 15; does that mean you understand school maths, advanced school maths, or what? You said discrete maths; are you specifically interested in sets, etc?
 
Bill foster
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Hi Ryan(a.k.a. Chris),

I actually teach Finite math, and I was wondering, when was the last time you took Algebra? I think the perfect plan would be to go to the collage library at the school you are taking math and get a couple books on Algebra.

If I were you I would brush up on the algebra so that you will not have any issues in the Finite class. It is my experience that students who have trouble in Finite and Calculus have not mastered the basics in Algebra. I would also try to talk to the math dept at your school to see if there are any math problem work sheets to prepare you for the Finite class. As for Computer Science you can talk with the folks in the Computer Science Dept and talk about what types of classes or math you need to understand C.S. I think C.S. goes up to Calculus II in some schools to Calculus III in addition also have classes on number theory as well and Linear Algebra as well. The CS students actually get a minor in math. I think the engineering students have to take a semester in differential equation so you might want to look at this as well. But to get a good start your algebra needs to be solid, the high schools do not stress this enough and as a result we have to teach remedial classes to help the student catch up.

Hope this helps,

Bill F.
 
Ryan Bishop
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Thank you everyone for the replies. I’m not sure what I’m interested in when it comes to math. Ideally, I’d like to have a solid grasp/base of mathematical ability that will allow me to venture off into other areas, especially understanding algorithms and math related to computer science. It’s more like I’m going on a trip and need help just finding clothes, luggage, and the like, let alone determining where I’m going to go. It’s been over ten years since I took calculus and when I took that a lot of my mistakes were with algebra, especially problems involving multiple complex fractions.

But, I’ve ordered the below books:

How to Solve It by G. Polya

Intermediate Algebra by C. McKeague

Precalculus by R. Blitzer

Trigonometry by C. McKeague

Mastering Algebra by Dan Hamilton

Discrete and Combinatorial Mathematics by R. Grimaldi

I got those really cheap. If anyone has any other recommendations, I’d appreciate it.

Thanks again for the responses. They’re really helpful.
 
Bill foster
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Hi Chris,

Also if you ever get stuck, you can ask for help at the school you are going to(I think the profs would be delighted to help, I wish my students had the fire in their bellies!).

You might, if you have time, join a math club at school as well.
I find when you interact with other students who have a common interest you can bounce ideas off of each other.

But just like programming math is a hard subject, please take your time with it. Please do not get frustrated and always ask for help!

Take care!

Bill
 
Ryan Bishop
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Thanks Bill. I appreciate your help.
 
Henry Wong
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In terms of mathematics usage in computer science, I would say, for me, it is the pre-algebra stuff that saw the most common usage. This is the stuff that is learned in the eight grade, immediately forgotten, and then later, wished that I had paid more attention to. After that, it was Algebra (9th grade), Geometry (10th grade), and Trigonometry (11th grade), and admittedly, I did a lot of graphics work early in my career, so geometry and trigonometry was very important.

After that, it was calculus. I actually had two projects that needed it -- including one that needed a deep understanding of both derivatives and integrals...

... but ... the one field of math that saw the most important usage for me, was something that I learned really really late. I believe I learned it around the 3rd year of university. This field was statistics. And it is absolutely needed when doing performance, or any types of measurements, that not only reports results, but also how reliable are those results.

Henry
 
It is sorta covered in the JavaRanch Style Guide.
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