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March 20, 2006

Mathematicians vs. Programmers

Steve Yegge thought about math and programming and reached some interesting conclusions:


  1. Math is a lot easier to pick up after you know how to program. In fact, if you're a halfway decent programmer, you'll find it's almost a snap.

  2. They teach math all wrong in school. Way, WAY wrong. If you teach yourself math the right way, you'll learn faster, remember it longer, and it'll be much more valuable to you as a programmer.

  3. Knowing even a little of the right kinds of math can enable you do write some pretty interesting programs that would otherwise be too hard. In other words, math is something you can pick up a little at a time, whenever you have free time.

  4. Nobody knows all of math, not even the best mathematicians. The field is constantly expanding, as people invent new formalisms to solve their own problems. And with any given math problem, just like in programming, there's more than one way to do it. You can pick the one you like best.

  5. Math is... ummm, please don't tell anyone I said this; I'll never get invited to another party as long as I live. But math, well... I'd better whisper this, so listen up: (it's actually kinda fun.)


He thinks "the best way to start learning math is to spend 15 to 30 minutes a day surfing in Wikipedia".

A solid math background can give you a wider perspective when you try to create an algorithm, you can find interesting ideas and connections that will make your code shine (not just because it works fast and reliable, but because it contains hidden treasures).

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