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Courses Computer science minor for a physics major

  1. Oct 27, 2016 #1
    Hello PF,
    I am a physics sophomore this year and i took a course on java programming as an elective. And i just loved it!
    Really the harder it became the more i liked it. So i decided that i want to do something about it. But i don't know if a minor or a major is better for a physics major. And what part of C.S. should i learn that can help me too. ( if you have any info. on what side of CS is better for what field of physics i would be glad )
    Thank you.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 27, 2016 #2

    Stephen Tashi

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    Science Advisor

    Programming is interesting, but if you look at he courses required for a computer science minor you will probably see topics like "analysis of algorithms" , "database design", and "compiler design" that are heavily theoretical. Make sure you like that sort of thing before you get into a program where those will be required courses.

    (If you want specific advice, you can list the courses that your university requires for a CS minor and major.)

    Courses in numerical analysis related to physics will give you a workout in programming, without a commitment to theoretical computer science.
     
  4. Oct 27, 2016 #3
    My university requires for a minor :
    _introduction to programming ( that i am taking now).

    _discrete structures

    _intermediate programming with data structure

    _algorithms and data structures

    And 2 other courses of my choice in the field.

    Do you think it it too theoretical?
    How much of it can be used in practice?
    And also can i do some programming without a minor in it? Like on a professional level ?
    (Not that i want a job in programming but i want something more advanced ).
    Thanks
     
  5. Oct 27, 2016 #4
    It is not too theoretical. It looks like a good selection of courses to me. After you've taken them, you'll be better prepared to make a decision on the remaining two courses.

    Will they prepare you for programming on a professional level? Probably.
     
  6. Oct 27, 2016 #5

    StatGuy2000

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    Education Advisor

    To the OP:

    At least in my mind, getting solid programming experience along with a basic understanding of algorithms can be very useful for physics majors, regardless of whether you intend down the line to continue further graduate studies in physics or some cognate program, and would provide you with solid employable skills. So in that respect, pursuing the equivalent of a computer science minor would be beneficial.

    If you are really fascinated by computer science in addition to physics (and may consider graduate studies in either CS or physics), and if you are prepared to put in the work, I don't see any issue in pursuing a double major as well.

    I should also point out that there are research areas that intersect both CS and physics. For example, there are researchers in theoretical CS working on randomized algorithms that are closely related to phase transitions in statistical physics. See the link below.

    https://www.msri.org/programs/72

    Another hot topic is in the area of quantum computing, involving the study of quantum theory and its applications to computing. Many people with physics backgrounds have also contributed to research in areas like machine learning and neural networks.
     
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