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todd_dsm 12-08-2009 09:25 PM

Seeking math program for algebra and discrete mathematics
Does anyone know of a math program? I'm using Mint 8 (Debian).

I'd like to brush up on algebra and discrete mathematics to better understand scripting/programming. If anyone knows of a program like that or 2 different programs that handle each, I would appreciate the assist.


jhwilliams 12-08-2009 10:11 PM

Are you looking for a program that will teach you Discrete Mathematics and Algebra? I am not aware or any such that exist. Discrete Mathematics and (pure) Algebra are very closed-form and analytical branches of Mathematics, and do not lend to computational manipulation. Of course, Discrete Mathematics (and Algebra to a lesser extent) have innumerable applications to Computer Science -- and here, there is much computational work that can be done.

Popular Mathematics and Engineering Computation software packages include, but are not limited to: Maple, MatLab, Mathematica, Mathcad, Gauss. All of the above are closed-sourced binaries for which you will need a license. Octave is an open source environment for MatLab code. Sage is an open source alternative to Maple, and may be your best bet as Maple is the only closed-form analysis tool of the above list.

The above notwithstanding, I think your time will be better invested just doing real programming instead of tinkering around with Mathematics, unless you have good reason to do so. If you are intent on brushing up on your Mathematics, the best way to do that is probably unfortunately to dig through textbooks.

Here are the names of two Algebra books I have on my shelf:

"Linear Algebra and Differential Equations", by Peterson and Sochacki," Pearson Education, ISBN 0-201-66212-4. A good practical introduction to Linear Algebra, algorithmic approaches to solving systems of linear equations, and a good overview of key topics and phrases in Linear Algebra. And sure, you can use all that to solve some differential equations.

"Algebra," by Michael Artin, Prentice Hall, ISBN 0-13-004763. A more advanced read than the above -- approaches more of the modern and abstract components of college Algebra.

And here are some class notes my father prepared for his Discrete Structures course. I'm sure he'd be happy to hear your feedback!

todd_dsm 12-09-2009 01:10 AM

To Clarify
To answer your question...the purpose is not to be a better programmer but to be self-sufficient programmer.

I've been shell scripting for about a year now. I seem to have hit a wall in theory and, in turn, practice.

A friend (20-year C programmer) advised me to hit Discrete Mathematics. And, if that was too great a jump, to begin with some remedial algebra, then the discrete mathematics. She said this would help me to think in programming terms and get into the mind-set.

I've found some cool (free) Comp-Sci course work from MIT. They video tape the classes, then give it away for free. I've also stumbled onto their Linear Algebra classes and the discrete mathematics from Georgia Tech. So, I don't need the programs to teach me.

I need to programs to run me through similar (or hopefully the same) concepts discussed in the course work, then apply them over and over until I have it. Think of the need as advanced flash cards.

I will chase down the free apps first, then the pay-for if necessary.

Thank you for the ISBNs. I very much appreciate that and I will look into them. And, by the way, I'm not qualified to give feedback on your fathers notes but he appears to be brilliant. I've book marked the page, it has some great concepts/references. If anything more comes to you let me know.

Cheers mate,


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