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Howdy!

I've searched the forums and Google for ideas but all the information/advice I found was either not helpful or inaccurate. So, perhaps someone here can help point me in the right direction. I'm heading off to University next year but, before I do that, I'd like to study some of the math subjects I will encounter beforehand, e.g. discrete mathematics and set theory.

I have no trouble learning and always give my best effort in everything I do. However, my current understanding of mathematics remains at an introductory-intermediate level of Algebra (no Calc or Trig, as is the case with the rest of my class), which I'm currently rectifying with other math books I've aquired. I'm also quite comfortable working out technical math-lingo, especially when doing so at my own leisure.

Sorry about all the rambling, just thought I'd try and put things into perspective by explaining my situation.

The book I'm dreaming of should be (relatively) easy to understand and provide enough information to give me some idea of what will hit me when I finally head off to Uni.

Thanks in advance for any replies,
Michael

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Last Post by Chrishas
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The best text book I used in my Mathematics and CS degree was "Linear Algebra and its Applications" by David C Lay, Published by Addison-Wesley. We used it in three of the five mathematics courses I did (including Discrete Math), and can thoroughly recommend it. I hadn't studied anything for 10 years before I decided to go back to university, so that is probably a pretty good advertisement for this text!

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I can agree that any book by Strang is good, but I don't think a linear algebra book is the right choice. I say this because I actually had one before going to college -- it was similar in scope to your recommendation, and it didn't serve me very well.

The book I'm dreaming of should be (relatively) easy to understand and provide enough information to give me some idea of what will hit me when I finally head off to Uni.

I'm assuming you're a CS major or something like it. I dual majored in CS and Math.

First of all, you should recognize that you'll be fine. You don't need any preparation for the mathematics you'll use in computer science. The only piece of math that's really really necessary for undergraduate computer science, other than basic algebra, is an understanding of modular arithmetic and an understanding of big O notation, and they're not prerequisites -- you'll be taught about both when you need them.* I still recommend being comfortable with modular arithmetic now, though, because that's just a natural life skill people should have.

I recommend Reading, Writing, and Proving. It's actually designed for math majors, not CS majors, for a sort of "introduction to proofs" class. It's not a book with a bunch of math facts or what not, it's a book about thinking rigorously. I think it's the most relevant boost in mathematical ability that a future computer science student can get in a book. It happens to cover sets very strongly and has a chapter on modular arithmetic.

* Actually, I suppose a course on the theory of computation, which is typically a required part of the curriculum, needs you to be comfortable about sets, functions, and cardinality. Reading, Writing, and Proving will be very beneficial for that. Also, I'm ignoring the fact that specific courses in computer science will require specific knowledge. In a computer graphics course, you're going to want to be comfortable with the feel of linear algebra and geometric trigonometry -- or you're going to become comfortable with it very quickly.


The truth is that the best preparation for a CS major is to do some programming. I say this because you'll be doing quite a bit of it as a CS major. And if you're any other kind of major, it's still good to be good at programming. Actual programming will improve the rigor of your thinking much more quickly than a set of exercises from a book.

Edited by Rashakil Fol: n/a

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Thanks for the helpful and informative replies. I'd also like to apologize for my late response but I like to wait until my forum posts have had time to stew.

As for the topic of preparing for university level maths, I've spoken with a few of my tutors and, most of them, gave me a similar explanation to that of your own, Fol, although in much less words. I'll check out the books that have been suggested and see how I get on.

Thanks again,
Michael

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Hey all, I am so happy that I stumbled upon this thread. I am also very much interested in programming. But I am not so good at Math. Now I am trying to learn some really useful tips so that I can actually improve my programming skills as well. I found that all the books mentioned over here are really very good. I just love programming and would like to take it as my major.

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Hi, does it matter which edition of the books is used? For example Linear Algebra and its applications has a 1988 and the next one I found is a 2004 edition.

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Hi, does it matter which edition of the books is used? For example Linear Algebra and its applications has a 1988 and the next one I found is a 2004 edition.

There are different textbooks by that name, so you'll need to tell us who the author is. (The one by Strang has dates 1988 and July 2005 so if that's the author I don't know where 2004 comes from.)

If it's Strang you're talking about, no it doesn't matter that much, but the 2005 book has more problems.

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Yeah it's the Strang one, In amazon uk there's a 2004 international edition but it's just the 3rd edition I think only an international version. Cheers for the reply.

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