I'm not able to write a script that reduces a matrix to RREF in Python

  • #1
Eclair_de_XII
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Summary:: I'm not asking for help, but I'm asking for an opinion. Is this a sign that I probably should not be pursuing a career in software development or computer science?

I basically feel like this in general wrt any subject I am studying, really, whenever I feel stumped on a given problem. I feel like needing help on a problem in a given area of study is a sign that I probably shouldn't make that area of study the focus of my career, academic or otherwise. I don't know what to do with myself anymore.
 

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  • #2
sysprog
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If you make a habit of quitting whenever the journey ahead looks daunting, you will be unlikely to get very far.
 
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  • #3
S.G. Janssens
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Most books on numerical linear algebra will explain that is it not at all easy to write a program that reduces an arbitrary numerical matrix to RREF in a reliable way. (For example, see Meyer's book, Matrix Analysis and Applied Linear Algebra.) Naively implementing the algorithm that you would normally carry out by hand is pretty much doomed to fail. If this is for a numerical LA course, go back to studying the book and persevere. If this is for another course, I would recommend using a canned routine instead of trying to write your own.

More generally, obviously you should not give up when a problem becomes difficult. There are so many other things you can do: let it rest and review it later, ask for help, consider special cases first, study more of the underlying theory, etc.
 
  • #4
Vanadium 50
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Here we go again.

You've gotten a lot of advice, taken precious little of it, and are pretty much where you started. It's time to do something different.

My advice is to get a job as a patient care technician. They are plentiful, pay well at entry level, often come with signing bonuses, and the employer will train you. Do that for a year.

After a year of wiping people's butts, you will have found either your niche or your motivation.
 
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  • #5
scompi
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As a self-taught programmer and software developer, I have asked for help countless times and it never made me feel "unworthy" or inept. Indeed, that's how you become a professional.

During your career you will inevitably come across new problems; some completely and others only superficially. It is your job to separate the two. Software development is pragmatic — if you can't solve a problem using the knowledge and skill you already possess, then it is necessary to obtain new knowledge and skill. And the only way to obtain new knowledge and skill is to ask for help, whether from a colleague, a textbook, PhysicsForums, or any other source of knowledge on the subject.

My opinion (since you're not asking for help): No, being unable to solve that specific problem is not a sign that you probably should not be pursuing a career in software development or computer science. However, if you're unable to ask for help when you need it, then you shouldn't pursue any career except the most menial and obvious.
 
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  • #6
vela
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I basically feel like this in general wrt any subject I am studying, really, whenever I feel stumped on a given problem. I feel like needing help on a problem in a given area of study is a sign that I probably shouldn't make that area of study the focus of my career, academic or otherwise. I don't know what to do with myself anymore.
It depends. If you find yourself stumped on almost every single problem you encounter, then yes, the field likely isn't for you. If it's just an occasional occurrence, that's normal. No one does everything on their own, and I think you already know this. The real question is why you have such an extreme reaction: "I can't solve this homework problem. I must change my major!" I think you should talk with a therapist or counselor to understand what's going on with yourself.
 
  • #7
StatGuy2000
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Summary:: I'm not asking for help, but I'm asking for an opinion. Is this a sign that I probably should not be pursuing a career in software development or computer science?

I basically feel like this in general wrt any subject I am studying, really, whenever I feel stumped on a given problem. I feel like needing help on a problem in a given area of study is a sign that I probably shouldn't make that area of study the focus of my career, academic or otherwise. I don't know what to do with myself anymore.
@Eclair_de_XII , with all due respect, you are behaving foolishly! Anyone who has studied anything at an advanced level has always felt stumped or needed help when studying or researching a new subject (yes, even the geniuses).

If you had a problem writing the script to reduce matrix to RREF in Python (or other problems), then you should have either

(1) Searched online on how to do this,
(2) Asked for help,
or
(3) Review what you have learned and figured out where you are having difficulty.
and
(4) Repeat steps (1)-(3).

The above steps are among the things you do to learn!

GET OVER IT!

[Aside (in case this statement is edited out): Is everyone in your family like you, giving up the moment something is difficult? Or is this somehow a thing in Hawaii, where you're from?]
 
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  • #8
Vanadium 50
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As usual, zero follow-up from the OP.

In the words of Yoda, "that is why you fail."
 
  • #9
sysprog
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As usual, zero follow-up from the OP.

In the words of Yoda, "that is why you fail."
. . . and as usual (as you know), the response from the contributors may be helpful to other readers ##-## it looks like the OP's contribution was simply the question . . .
 
  • #10
Eclair_de_XII
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If this is for a numerical LA course, go back to studying the book and persevere. If this is for another course, I would recommend using a canned routine instead of trying to write your own.
This was for self-study. I saw some problems in a linear algebra book I'm reading for review. Then I thought that writing a script to row-reduce could be good programming practice for me, as opposed to reducing things in the usual way like I'd done during my undergraduate career. I thought it'd be less tedious and more interesting. I know there are modules that can row-reduce much more efficiently than I can, like that sympy module and its Matrix.rref method. But I just wanted to see if I was able to on my own.

I have asked for help countless times and it never made me feel "unworthy" or inept.
I have always had an irrational fear of asking for help from others, despite having done so many times during college. I just lose faith in myself whenever I must resort to seeking others for help. It makes me feel inadequate and strengthens a long-standing belief that I'm inferior to others.

However, if you're unable to ask for help when you need it, then you shouldn't pursue any career except the most menial and obvious.
I will keep this in mind.

The real question is why you have such an extreme reaction: "I can't solve this homework problem. I must change my major!"
Being confronted with a problem that I'm unable to solve makes me question my worth as an individual. It makes me wonder what I'm good for.

Is everyone in your family like you, giving up the moment something is difficult? Or is this somehow a thing in Hawaii, where you're from?
I barely know my family. I've no idea how they react when they are faced with a seemingly insurmountable challenge. I barely know anyone in this state. Most people don't like sharing details about themselves with me because I rarely seem to care, notice, or take any interest in them whatsoever.
 
  • #11
vela
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Being confronted with a problem that I'm unable to solve makes me question my worth as an individual. It makes me wonder what I'm good for.
You've already told us how you react. The question you need to answer is why you react this way so you can do something about it.
 
  • #12
sysprog
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Eclair_de_XII said:
Being confronted with a problem that I'm unable to solve makes me question my worth as an individual. It makes me wonder what I'm good for.
Really? That seems unrealistic and glum. Maybe you should consciously forego the unjustified elation of complacently feeling boundlessly competent, so that it's not a big letdown when reality intrudes to remind you that like everyone else, you can't solve every problem.
 
  • #13
Eclair_de_XII
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The question you need to answer is why you react this way so you can do something about it.
I don't feel comfortable answering this on a public forum. But thanks for the advice, besides.
 

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