Math and Hacking/Computers

Mathematics and Science; the subtle and ubiquitous arts

Re: Math and Hacking/Computers

Post by tarantulas on Sun Jan 10, 2010 1:26 pm
([msg=33151]see Re: Math and Hacking/Computers[/msg])

You can call yourself a mechanic without knowing how an engine works, but you're nothing but a part changer. You can write programs without knowing too much formal discrete math, number theory or logic, but you're going to write sloppy and inefficient programs in all likelyhood.

BTW, topology is an outgrowth of real analysis as far as I can recall and has little to do with computers. Network Topology has lots to do with computers, however
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Re: Math and Hacking/Computers

Post by xfelix on Sun Jan 10, 2010 1:50 pm
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Topology is also important for automata theory, which is important when studying how to develop your own formal language and/or compiler. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automata_theory
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Re: Math and Hacking/Computers

Post by LaggadagamoN on Mon Jan 25, 2010 11:16 pm
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University of Queensland feels that you do need quite a solid understanding of Mathematics to undertake a course in Information Technology. In 2012, they will be the first uni in Australia, (That I'm aware of) to have Mathematics B as a prerequisite. (Mathematics B is pretty much Advanced math.. You have prevocational math, math A, math B, math C, C is mainly focused on Engineering type math)

10% of kids do Math B and or C as it is so much harder than typical math courses. As said though, you don't need to know how everything works to be able to use it, but it sure will improve your ability to use it.
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Re: Math and Hacking/Computers

Post by runninggee57 on Thu Feb 04, 2010 11:39 am
([msg=34467]see Re: Math and Hacking/Computers[/msg])

I go to the University of Wisconsin and am enrolled in the Computer Science department. To get a major in CS here, not only do you need your basic series of Calc I and II (with Calc III recommended). But 2 additional upper level math courses. I've also observed that the harder the CS classes get, the more and more they start to look like math classes. Basically, there is no way to describe these upper level computer topics without upper level math.

And it's not always just the math that is needed to be a better hacker. I can tell you right now that it is very unlikely that any hacker will need to do a differentiation by parts in order to break through some protection. But calculus and above also teaches new ways to problem solve and model tasks. These are skills much harder to get by just surfing the web for tutorials.
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Re: Math and Hacking/Computers

Post by wh1t3halcy0n on Wed Feb 17, 2010 3:38 am
([msg=35205]see Re: Math and Hacking/Computers[/msg])

I'd just like to state it really depends on what your specialty will be. Calculus is not NECESSARY for SOME field of computer science... Granted there are many paths in which higher math is necessary, there are many paths which it isn't as well. Please don't flame me!!! :-D
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Re: Math and Hacking/Computers

Post by neuromanta on Wed Feb 17, 2010 8:12 am
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It is true that you don't have to be very good at math if you wanna be a hacker, but it really helps. At my university, on our first year we study discreet math I-II and analysis I-II (progressive math). This is the base of everything. For example, you won't understand sound synthetizing, or even electronics without understanding Furier transformations. Then we study probability theory, cuz it is the base of information theory. We study formal languages too, then algorithm theory. It is essential to programming. For example, you won't understand why the GOTO statement is considered harmful, if you don't understand algorithm theory :).
And of course there are those fields where mathematics is the base of everything, for example in 3D graphics. So I think that math is pretty important (though not the most important) in hacking.

PS: I'm not good at math :)
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Re: Math and Hacking/Computers

Post by wh1t3halcy0n on Thu Feb 18, 2010 2:09 am
([msg=35241]see Re: Math and Hacking/Computers[/msg])

neuromanta wrote:It is true that you don't have to be very good at math if you wanna be a hacker, but it really helps. At my university, on our first year we study discreet math I-II and analysis I-II (progressive math). This is the base of everything. For example, you won't understand sound synthetizing, or even electronics without understanding Furier transformations. Then we study probability theory, cuz it is the base of information theory. We study formal languages too, then algorithm theory. It is essential to programming. For example, you won't understand why the GOTO statement is considered harmful, if you don't understand algorithm theory :).
And of course there are those fields where mathematics is the base of everything, for example in 3D graphics. So I think that math is pretty important (though not the most important) in hacking.

PS: I'm not good at math :)


I agree with you. Math is a big stepping stone into the computer world. There are some system admins who don't really need calculus, other than a queue theory to calculate some bottlenecks and optimizing networks. Or website designers.

But then again, I can name 50 billion other things that you WOULD need that stuff for. 3D graphics... Depends. If you are just modeling them and such, not too bad... but if you are programming a game engine or making some bad ass programs... it would be a good idea to know it.

Moral of the story: Learn Math. It can't hurt, but it can sometimes help. =]
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Re: Math and Hacking/Computers

Post by mattseanbachman on Mon Feb 22, 2010 3:30 am
([msg=35519]see Re: Math and Hacking/Computers[/msg])

I remember a few years back when I first got the inklings to go into computer science, someone inferred that since I was scoring well in Calculus, I'd do just fine in comp sci. Derivitives, integrals, calculating the instantaneous rate of change are exercises I have NEVER used since I've started computer science.
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Re: Math and Hacking/Computers

Post by runninggee57 on Tue Feb 23, 2010 10:58 am
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mattseanbachman wrote: Derivitives, integrals, calculating the instantaneous rate of change are exercises I have NEVER used since I've started computer science.


Like I said before, what's good about calculus and upper level math isn't always the specific topics that are taught. The classes also teach you new ways to solve and approach problems, and developing these skills is key to being a good hacker. Abstract thinking is something very hard to learn on your own and can really only be mastered through lots of practice. That's why a class is the ideal environment. Don't get me wrong, the skills can be developed outside of a math class but they can prove much more effectively and efficiently learned through schooling.
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Re: Math and Hacking/Computers

Post by mattseanbachman on Thu Feb 25, 2010 9:49 pm
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runninggee57 wrote:
mattseanbachman wrote: Derivitives, integrals, calculating the instantaneous rate of change are exercises I have NEVER used since I've started computer science.


Like I said before, what's good about calculus and upper level math isn't always the specific topics that are taught. The classes also teach you new ways to solve and approach problems, and developing these skills is key to being a good hacker. Abstract thinking is something very hard to learn on your own and can really only be mastered through lots of practice. That's why a class is the ideal environment. Don't get me wrong, the skills can be developed outside of a math class but they can prove much more effectively and efficiently learned through schooling.


I see your point, and you do make a valid argument for it, but personally if I wanted to nurture my creativity in problem solving I might choose something other than mathematics in which to exercise my brain. That said, I'll have to rethink the way I view math, after the math classes I was pretty disgruntled with it all that I didn't immediately use it in computer science, but maybe I was too rash in my feelings towards it. And I definitely think math is worthwhile for things such as cryptography, I've read 'introductory' cryptography books that were over my head due to letting my math understanding lapse.
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