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Computer Science

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July 30, 2009 10:54:59 PM

This might be a stupid question but how much math is required to major in Computer Science?, I need to decide between political science or Computer, i want to study computer science but not sure if i can since i heard you need to be really good at math. On a scale of 1 to 10, how much do you think is needed?

More about : computer science

July 30, 2009 11:32:59 PM

really good at math is very relative

for most applications algebra is fine

but for algorithms and stuff, you may come across basic calculus.

so yes you use math.....no its not hard math
August 19, 2009 5:45:53 AM

Math shouldn't be your deciding factor. A fair amount of math is involved but it's not too hard. You will need to put in a good effort that's all. But my advice is if you have an aptitude for developing algorithms or chip design or high level theoretical stuff like Theory of Computation, then computer science is meant for you.
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August 19, 2009 3:06:10 PM

I finished my CS degree in 1995 at the U of Minnesota. At that time, 2 semesters (1 fat textbook) of calculus was part of the graduation requirement. Some schools may offer some type of "intro to calculus for engineering" or something similar... unless you're into hardware design or complex algorithms you probably won't need the calculus, but it was definitely a requirement at the time I was in the program.

More useful is probably the vectors and matrices class, which is actually kind of fun if you like math at all (and not particularly difficult.) If you are going to be doing game programming you're GOING to see matricies unless you code specifically for someone else's engine which is taking care of the 3d calculations for 'ya. Overall it's NOT intensive math, but some level is generally required for your degree.
August 19, 2009 3:08:50 PM

Learn C. It's a decent benchmark of whether you will enjoy a career in computer science. If you go into code development, it's likely you'll need an understanding of C or a c-like language (java, c##, etc.)
August 19, 2009 3:30:36 PM

Depending on the program, you're going to have to take math. I'd rate somewhere in the 3-5 range. But the math shouldn't be incredibly difficult, stuff like basic calculus, linear algebra, set theory, that sort of thing. As for using it in the real world, trust me, anything you do in the real world for a job is going to be simple compared to the math you have to learn for the degree.

So here's a question for you, and some food for thought. Since you're interested in both poli sci and computer science, would you be happier using your CS knowledge to do something Poli Sci related, or would you rather do a pure CS job? (I can't imagine a computer science job with a poli sci bent but who knows). After college it may be easier initially to get a job with a pure CS degree, but having good CS knowledge and a Poli Sci degree could put you way ahead of your peers since you'll know how to program simulations and whatnot. Personally, I'd go for the Poli Sci degree with a CS concentration. Without knowing you, I'd bet that you'll be happier in the long run, and it will likely be a lot more interesting. Plus if the poli sci thing doesn't pan out, it's easy to find CS classes to get a full degree.
September 27, 2009 4:41:40 PM

You don't need higher than Calculus unless going in to really deep stuff like encryption programs, data compression,etc. Most programs involve logic and not so much math (Basic Algebra in most programs).
September 27, 2009 4:50:44 PM

math for a typical BS in CSis:
Calc Sequence (1 year)
Discrete Math (1/2 year to 1 year)
and any algebra you need as pre-reqs for the calc sequence

helpful courses (not required usually):
linear algebra (for anything 3-d/vector related)
abstract algebra (for cryptography)
graph theory (obviously, for graph's wiki:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graph_(data_structure)" target="_blank">Graph Data Structure[.url])

if you are coming out of high school, if you completed a 3 year math sequence you should be fine
!