Questions tagged [mathematics]

Use this tag for questions about the teaching of mathematics as it applies to computer science, or mathematics concepts in the context of computer science. DO NOT use for questions about pure mathematics or deriving equations or such matters; those questions belong on Mathematics.SE (or graduate-level questions on MathOverflow). Instead,

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56
votes
18answers
19k views

Why do computer-science majors learn calculus?

I am curious why computer-science majors have to learn calculus to receive their bachelor’s degrees. My father worked as a software engineer for twenty years and never used it. It seems to have little ...
26
votes
13answers
5k views

How do I teach “math equality” vs. “CS assignment” vs. “CS equality logic operator”?

Consider the following three uses of equality: In mathematics, the statement $x = x^2$ In Python, the statement x = x**2 In Python, the expression, ...
9
votes
5answers
860 views

Teaching “math function” vs. “CS function”

The word function has different meanings in math and computer science. For example, f(x) = rand(1) is a valid (pseudocoded) CS ...
8
votes
2answers
123 views

How to teach sums and asymptotics to students who don’t know limits

I am to teach sums and asymptotics to first year CS undergraduates who have only high school math. I thought it would be attractive to follow chapter 14 of https://courses.csail.mit.edu/6.042/...
7
votes
4answers
460 views

Avoiding confusion about precedence

When mentioning operator precedence for AND / OR, I explained it wrongly. I re-explained it properly using the idea of binding: the operator "binds tightly" to the two expressions immediately on ...
7
votes
3answers
494 views

Teaching “CS integer” vs. “math integer”

The concept of an integer data type is not equivalent to the math concept of the set of integers. For example, in many programming languages the expressions 3. and $...
7
votes
3answers
304 views

How to explain combinatorical principles like the rule of product to students who “just don't get it”?

I assist in courses that provide mathematical background to computing science students. Every year, there are some who "just don't get" (in their words) concepts like the rule of product or the ...
6
votes
4answers
652 views

Should students be taught to be first and foremost: scientists or mathematicians?

It's undeniable that Computer Science is a mixture of disciplines including science (the scientific method, some physics needed to truly understand how computers work at all levels, testing ...
5
votes
5answers
149 views

Discrete function is also a math function?

Here is a table of the Staten Island subway: ...
5
votes
2answers
197 views

How far do you take modular expressions?

I'm sure that basically every introductory course involves teaching about the ubiquitous mod operation. In my experience, and I'm sure I'm not alone in this, I've found that teaching my students that ...
5
votes
1answer
367 views

Tips for self-study with just a textbook and google

I'm going to be working through a textbook on discrete mathematics that has a special focus on computer science. My only resources are the textbook (which, in its defense, has answers to the odd ...
4
votes
3answers
185 views

Software development vs universities and scientific papers

In short: Does learning how to make software, have its place inside universities? If so which parts of it? I was studying in a university in Russia. I don't want to name its name and location. I ...
3
votes
3answers
97 views

How useful it is for math student to learn programming to find proofs or counterexamples?

I study mathematics and sometimes I have difficulties to find proofs or counterexamples to some problems. Is it useful to learn programming to find counterexamples or proofs? How useful it is for ...