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If you can bear with me reading this thread, I'm looking for comments and general direction on where to go next.

So in an ambitious attempt to hurl myself head-on into the world of mathematics, I managed to get involved in doing undergraduate research at my university. This is despite the fact that I haven't taken calculus yet.

I met with a professor who specializes in mathematical modeling, told him my background (which is mostly work experience in computer science, and one semester of calculus many years ago). I chose him as my first choice of mentors because the idea of mathematical modeling appeals to my interest in math, namely, "interdisciplinary mathematics" or what I think of as the "Mathematics of everything."

We went over my situation and background, which is that I have more work experience than education at the moment, especially in regards to my major (mathematics). The situation in puts me in is that we can use my life and work experience to generate problems and topics for research, though it's possible that not all the resulting problems (from a mathematical standpoint) will be things that I personally can solve.

This puts me on the other side of students that may have lots of math training, but no work experience, so they might not be able to generate the kinds of problems that someone with work experience could. (Though they have a better chance at solving them) Also, there may be problems that I would be able to directly solve using pre-calculus mathematics, so those are the ones I have to look for at the moment.

The plan of action is for me to establish a few general general directions that we could go in (perhaps related to computer science or other topics I am interested in or familiar with) and then find a few problems in each that could be addressed. This would probably have to start out in a non-mathematical language since I do not really have the vocabulary yet to put them in mathematical terms.

One of my main interests is of course physics, and if you're into physics, (or even if you're not) you are most likely into Astronomy and Cosmology. So, I met with my stellar astronomy and cosmology teacher. The class he teaches is for non-science majors and not math heavy. As far as research, he said, most of the current problems are of course going to require advanced mathematics. The question I asked him was "Well, is there just any raw data out there that can be looked at?"

Ah, we were getting somewhere. He recommended http://www.sdss.org/" [Broken]

As for what to *do* with the data, I am not sure yet. Keep in mind when I say that I am using pre-calculus mathematics, I 1) did have some calculus background and 2) am not opposed to learning new math by way of doing the research, which in a way is kind of the point. Does anybody have suggestions for a direction here?

Information technology:

I have worked in information technology for quite awhile. Though I wasn't involved deeply in computer science and didn't do much programming, I'm sure there are a lot of problems that can be somehow modeled mathematically. The general ideas floating around in my head are:

1) something having to do with networking, routing, load-balancing, data transfer

2) something dealing with data storage or increased computing power over time. Does "[URL [Broken] Law[/URL] still hold? Is there some kind of data that is tracking this or some other topic related to it?

Tangent to I.T.:

I spent a lot of time working in call centers. Call center managers are obsessed with particular numbers like "time to answer" and "resolution time" and "talk time." There are also routing tables that determine who gets what called, based on strengths of the various analysts answering the phones. i.e. someone who is more skilled in taking Excel calls gets a higher rating in the Excel queue and therefore will get more excel calls. Can I find something here to look at mathematically?

Musical Acoustics:

My last major was Music Technology and I've spent a lot of time playing and teaching music (classical guitar). Though I've always been aware of the relationship of mathematics to music (on various levels) I never have explored it very deeply. In our library I even stumbled across a book called "Computational mechanics of the classical guitar." Unfortunately I don't recognize any of the math in it with my background.

Yeah, I'm in slightly over my head, but can you learn anything otherwise?

Any guidance would be appreciated. Thanks,

-Dave KA

So in an ambitious attempt to hurl myself head-on into the world of mathematics, I managed to get involved in doing undergraduate research at my university. This is despite the fact that I haven't taken calculus yet.

I met with a professor who specializes in mathematical modeling, told him my background (which is mostly work experience in computer science, and one semester of calculus many years ago). I chose him as my first choice of mentors because the idea of mathematical modeling appeals to my interest in math, namely, "interdisciplinary mathematics" or what I think of as the "Mathematics of everything."

We went over my situation and background, which is that I have more work experience than education at the moment, especially in regards to my major (mathematics). The situation in puts me in is that we can use my life and work experience to generate problems and topics for research, though it's possible that not all the resulting problems (from a mathematical standpoint) will be things that I personally can solve.

This puts me on the other side of students that may have lots of math training, but no work experience, so they might not be able to generate the kinds of problems that someone with work experience could. (Though they have a better chance at solving them) Also, there may be problems that I would be able to directly solve using pre-calculus mathematics, so those are the ones I have to look for at the moment.

The plan of action is for me to establish a few general general directions that we could go in (perhaps related to computer science or other topics I am interested in or familiar with) and then find a few problems in each that could be addressed. This would probably have to start out in a non-mathematical language since I do not really have the vocabulary yet to put them in mathematical terms.

One of my main interests is of course physics, and if you're into physics, (or even if you're not) you are most likely into Astronomy and Cosmology. So, I met with my stellar astronomy and cosmology teacher. The class he teaches is for non-science majors and not math heavy. As far as research, he said, most of the current problems are of course going to require advanced mathematics. The question I asked him was "Well, is there just any raw data out there that can be looked at?"

Ah, we were getting somewhere. He recommended http://www.sdss.org/" [Broken]

As for what to *do* with the data, I am not sure yet. Keep in mind when I say that I am using pre-calculus mathematics, I 1) did have some calculus background and 2) am not opposed to learning new math by way of doing the research, which in a way is kind of the point. Does anybody have suggestions for a direction here?

Information technology:

I have worked in information technology for quite awhile. Though I wasn't involved deeply in computer science and didn't do much programming, I'm sure there are a lot of problems that can be somehow modeled mathematically. The general ideas floating around in my head are:

1) something having to do with networking, routing, load-balancing, data transfer

2) something dealing with data storage or increased computing power over time. Does "[URL [Broken] Law[/URL] still hold? Is there some kind of data that is tracking this or some other topic related to it?

Tangent to I.T.:

I spent a lot of time working in call centers. Call center managers are obsessed with particular numbers like "time to answer" and "resolution time" and "talk time." There are also routing tables that determine who gets what called, based on strengths of the various analysts answering the phones. i.e. someone who is more skilled in taking Excel calls gets a higher rating in the Excel queue and therefore will get more excel calls. Can I find something here to look at mathematically?

Musical Acoustics:

My last major was Music Technology and I've spent a lot of time playing and teaching music (classical guitar). Though I've always been aware of the relationship of mathematics to music (on various levels) I never have explored it very deeply. In our library I even stumbled across a book called "Computational mechanics of the classical guitar." Unfortunately I don't recognize any of the math in it with my background.

Yeah, I'm in slightly over my head, but can you learn anything otherwise?

Any guidance would be appreciated. Thanks,

-Dave KA

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