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Friday, May 31, 2019

Do we need math?

Recently, thanks to unexpected upvote from some Quora user I had an opportunity to discover my old post, in which I tried to answer whether programmers need or do not need mathematical skills. As it is apparent, I offered rather uncompromising attitude inclining towards necessity of math in modern human life with no exceptions for programmers.


Allow me to paraphrase Mr. Sherlock Holmes.
•    It is just in a math where the skilled programmers differ from the Gregson and Lestrade type."
Frankly, a math is needed in almost everything what involves a modern human being. At least, to count to one hundred is expected from any man, with no exception for programmers.
There is Amazon tribe where they count 0,1,2,4 and many. Even for them, an elementary level of math is necessary.
With that in mind, what exactly makes anyone believe that math is not required in highly abstract thinking as modern programming is?
Quoting from wiki:
•    Mathematics is the study of such topics as quantity, structure, space, and change…
Do you try to pretend that even web programming is not about such stuff?!
Put simply, the more you know about math, the better programming level you might achieve.
The vast ignorance shown in “No” answers here (on Quora) is the difference between ability to drive a car from point-to-point and ability to build car and drive it from point-to-point. The former might be a professional driver, the latter an engineer. Damned, what is so exciting about aiming to be the professional driver? And rest assured that professional drivers will tell you the same: We are driving a lot, and we don't need mechanical engineering.
Those who claim that a math is not needed receives a confidence from the simple fact that they are able to make a computer do what they wish. In reality, during their journey, they instinctively reach some level of math understanding (even if they deny so).
Math is formalized a bullet-proof system of thinking evolving for thousands of years. On the other side, programming is an error-prone invention, fragile and unreliable. Programming is to some extent crippled and compromised way how to do applied math. You can bet that one hundred year later there will be completely different way how to program but the math will stay the same.


The decision what you prefer is up to you.


But once again. You need math in modern life, even if you deny so.

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