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Differential Equations or Number Theory for Computer Science?

  1. Mar 15, 2012 #1
    I'm getting ready to register for classes for the fall. To make a long story short, I might have to take another math class to satisfy a degree requirement, rather than a computer science class.

    I'm taking Linear Algebra right now. I enjoy it, and it seems to have a lot of practical applications.

    Next semester, I have two options: differential equations or number theory. Which do you think would be a better choice for my career, in terms of building a knowledge base? I'd like to work for a company that does a lot of scientific research. I don't mind writing code for business or anything like that, but I'm really interested in science. Differential equations would strike me as more useful for science.

    Number theory seems more like pure mathematics. On the other hand, that might help me understand a lot of computer science concepts better.

    What's your opinion? I can add more information about these courses if you want it.
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2012
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 15, 2012 #2
    I doubt either of them are going to matter very much past school but I would suggest diff. eq. since the first course on number theory is usually doing some useless things such as finding the number of solutions for [tex]x^3 + y^3 = z^3[/tex] and seeing if 23458623786487236483 is divisible by 9.
  4. Mar 15, 2012 #3
    Number theory is pretty applicable to upper division computer science courses such as cryptography, or theoretical computer science.
  5. Mar 15, 2012 #4
    I don't know much about diff. eq...still need to take it. As Math Warrior said, though, number theory has a fair number of computational applications--RSA public-key cryptography, integer factorization, primality testing.
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