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Courses Linear Algebra vs Deterministic Operations Research for CS

  1. Jul 2, 2017 #1
    Hey all,

    I'm currently working on my CS degree with a mathematics minor. After this Fall, I will only have one more course to take to finish my minor.

    I'm debating between Linear Algebra and Deterministic Operations Research. I do have other options, but these seem to be most applicable to CS.

    Which would be more beneficial given my major?

    If it matters here are the course descriptions:

    Linear Algebra
    An introductory course in linear algebra covering vector spaces, linear transformation, matrices, systems of linear equations, and inner product spaces.
    Textbook: Linear Algebra and its Applications, Fifth Edition, by David C. Lay, Steven R. Lay, and Judi J. McDonald.

    Deterministic Operations Research
    This course provides a broad overview of deterministic operations research techniques. Linear programming will be covered including the simplex method, duality and sensitivity analysis. Further selected topics are from integer programming, dynamic programming, scheduling models, game theory, and associated topics
    Textbook: Schaums Outline of Operations Research, by Bronson and Naadimuthu, 2nd Edition, McGraw Hill Schaums Outline Series. (The university notes that attendance is essential for this class).

    Last edited: Jul 2, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 2, 2017 #2


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    2017 Award

    Staff: Mentor

    If mathematics belongs in any way to your final exam, then linear algebra at some stage is probably a must have. Otherwise operational research also contains to a large part methods from linear algebra, so you get some insights there automatically. So in my opinion it comes down to the question on how much mathematics you will need for your degree. I consider both of these two courses as equally important and basic and am surprised that they aren't mandatory.
  4. Jul 2, 2017 #3


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    Education Advisor

    If the choice is truly one or the other, linear algebra should be the natural selection. Linear algebra is foundational to many many things. Being able to speak in terms of vector spaces, takes a bit more time to grasp then self-teaching yourself the simplex methods.
  5. Jul 2, 2017 #4


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    Education Advisor

    I agree with @MarneMath that if it's a choice between the two, linear algebra should be the one to take.

    What I find surprising are the following:

    1. The OP was able to make it this far in a CS degree without already taking linear algebra (in most programs I'm aware of, linear algebra is a requirement for completion of a CS degree).

    2. That a deterministic operations research (OR) course won't require linear algebra as a prerequisite (I've taken an OR course in my undergraduate math program, and linear algebra was a requirement).
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