April 3, 2015
In January, the Harvard Business Review shared a study that showed that the average entrepreneur did not study a STEM field while in college. But, that’s totally fine, because we’re privileged with the illimitable freedom of the human mind, and we’ve got plenty of free resources at our disposal if and when we do decide to study something in STEM. If you’re currently studying computer science (or are working your way towards learning computer science), knowing the basics is essential to your success; you should check out MIT’s free course on math for computer science to get you started.
Available through MIT”s OpenCourseWare platform, the set of lectures and corresponding class materials comes from MIT’s popular “Mathematics for Computer Science” course. Spanning 25 lectures and involving the use of a 1,000-page text, the class is by no means a walk in the park, but it’s this intensity that makes the course so invaluable towards the study of computer science. This math for computer science course combines proofs, induction, graph theory, and related domains into one comprehensive curriculum aimed at helping the student become great at computer science.
It can be argued that to be good at computer science requires that one be good at mathematics. Indeed, the critical thinking involved in solving higher-level math problems can very much be compared to the level of thinking involved in the study and application of programming languages. Just two days ago, mathematician Keith Devlin – the Executive Director of the Human Sciences and Technologies Advanced Research Institute (H-STAR) at Stanford and the “The Math Guy” on NPR’s Weekend Edition – wrote a blog post on the importance of math courses in computer science education.
According to Devlin:
“If you want to prepare people to design, build, and reason about formal abstractions, including computer software, the best approach surely is to look for the most challenging mental exercises that force the brain to master abstract entities — entities that are purely abstract, and which cause the brain the maximum difficulty to handle. And where do you find this excellent mental training ground? In mathematics.”
While this all sounds great, we’re still facing this issue of having an overall lack of knowledge when it comes to mathematics. Before considering jumping into this MIT course on math for computer science, you should probably brush up on some past math basics first.
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