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Math Math-Heavy Computer Science

  1. Nov 7, 2016 #1
    Hello PF, I'm a high school student in a math and science program. I'm currently planning on doing a double major in math and computer science, and I have a couple questions. Firstly, are there areas of computer science that heavily use math and require originality? I understand that most likely I will end up in a computer science job, but I would like to work in an area that heavily draws on mathematics in its problem solving. I'm aware of theoretical computer science, which would seem to be great for me, but are there significant job opportunities in industry for it?

    And also, I'm beginning to be concerned that I may not be as good at math as I thought I was. I'm getting to the "wall" I've heard about where I'm starting to have to study to get A's in math (currently in accelerated trig), and the fact that I seemed to hit this wall so early makes me worry that eventually my intellect just won't be good enough to succeed in higher mathematics. As I am only a high school student, I'm unsure if this is the case. I've read a lot about various areas of math, but I don't know enough to make sense of most of it. I am having a good time reading through Pinter's A Book of Abstract Algebra though.

    Thanks, and any advice is appreciated.
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  3. Nov 7, 2016 #2


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    You might want to look into Operations Research. It combines a lot of math and computer science for solving optimization problems. The techniques include computer simulation, statistics, linear and nonlinear programming (optimization of linear and nonlinear problems).

    Another area that might interest you is control laws. It is often in the aerospace engineering department, which would require a lot of other aero subjects. Control law design includes very interesting mathematics.
  4. Nov 7, 2016 #3


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    As a piece of advice, don't hasten to conclude if you're good or not at math. It's quite a bit early. University math is a whole different world from high school math. You definitely build a strong base studying hard at high school, but critical thinking is what is needed for university. I highly recommend taking a look at Keith Devlin's course "Introduction to Mathematical Thinking".

    Computer Science is all about algorithms, so you see the profound relation to math from the outset. Now, if you mean dealing heavily with math all the time, Theoretical CS is your thing. About job opportunities, it depends on what is the market in your country or where you intend to work and how good can you get. The second is obviously even more important, so you have to roll up your sleeves and work for it.
  5. Nov 7, 2016 #4
    Thank both of you very much! I'll definitely look into those subjects and that course. For theoretical computer science, I guess what I'd like to know is if companies like Google or Amazon would have any interest in theoretical computer science. Is there any market for it in the United States?
  6. Nov 7, 2016 #5
    Theoretical computer scientists are employed in nearly every industry. If you want an example of unexpected job opportunities, I know one who got a "temporary" job at a library just out of college, and got taken on permanently and promoted due to how useful his problem solving skills were.
  7. Nov 7, 2016 #6
    Wow, I definitely wasn't expecting that! Thanks very much, now I'm really excited about this!
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