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EE with Pure Math Minor - Which Math Sequence is best?

  1. May 5, 2007 #1
    Hello everyone,

    I'm an EE undergraduate and I'm specializing in Signals and Systems. I'm also minoring in pure math.

    So, in the fall I have to begin a 3-quarter sequence in one of the following math subjects:

    • Abstract Algebra
    • Real Analysis
    • Probability

    Each of these subjects is an in-depth 3-quarter sequence. What would give me the most advantage as an EE specializing in signals? I like pure math, and "romantically" I've been attracted to Real Analysis (I always wanted to prove everything I know about calc). But I'm quite interested in all 3 of these math fields. Which track would serve me best?

    According to my schedule and minor requirements, here are my possibilities, I can only finish one sequence and start another. (which is not bad... I'd still learn a third)

    1. -- 3 quarters Real Analysis, 1 quarter Probability
    2. -- 3 quarters Real Analysis, 1 quarter Abstract Algebra
    3. -- 3 quarters Probability, 1 quarter Real Analysis
    4. -- 3 quarters Probability, 1 quarter Abstract Algebra

    As you can see, due to schedule conflicts 3 quarters of Abstract Algebra is impossible. So it's sort of "Probability or Real Analysis." Somehow, I'm beginning to think Probability will suit me better as an EE. (I've taken the EE department probability course but it was pretty superficial and went too fast to truly understand the concepts.)

    Much thanks for any advice!
  2. jcsd
  3. May 5, 2007 #2
    I think I would recommend option 3 (3 quarters of probability, 1 quarter of real analysis). The subject that will be of most relevance is probability, since most signal models are statistical models. Having at least 1 quarter of real analysis will be helpful to understanding axiomatic probability theory and the theory of random/stochastic processes.

    I would also advise taking at least 1 quarter of linear algebra, because most signal representation methods have their mathematical foundations in the theory of vector spaces. I would hope that a course in linear algebra would be required for a pure math minor, but I know that a course in linear algebra is not an accreditation requirement for an undergraduate electrical engineering program, so I thought I would suggest it as well. Other aspects of abstract algebra (groups, rings, fields) are of less relevance to EE (with the notable exception of cryptography), and chances are that the first quarter of real analysis will cover some fundamental issues pertaining to fields (since the field properties of the real numbers and the rational numbers will be used constantly throughout the course).
  4. May 5, 2007 #3
    I think the priorities would be 3-2-1.
    Probabilities would be absolutely needed for a deep understanding of random signals, noise, and even general concepts like spectral density.
    Real analysis is a basic requirement.
    Abstract might be a bit too abstract.
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