View Full Version : Linear Algebra....how I hate thee

rko618

March 4th, 2007, 09:34 AM

I am currently retaking Linear Algebra at my University and after the midterm...am currently on course to fail it a second time. Linear Algebra is one of the required math classes that all CS majors must take for their degree. Anyways I can't help but think this is a sign that I am doomed to be a mediocre programmer. Did anyone else have trouble with Linear algebra? Does anyone use what they learned in Linear Algebra with their programming? I know its mostly applicable to graphics programming but where else?

russell.h

March 4th, 2007, 09:44 AM

Its graphics related, but linear algebra is great for physics type stuff. Collision detection and whatnot.

Edit: Check out http://joshua.smcvt.edu/linearalgebra/

Its a free linear algebra "textbook" that I am currently teaching myself from. I find it quite well done, and maybe it will explain things in a way that makes more sense to you than whatever you are currently using.

SaddisticTwist

March 4th, 2007, 10:12 AM

HA! I am was just about to study for my mathematics exam, SAME SUBJECT!!! ahhhhh.

But i'm taking Gaming technology, not Computer Science. So, there's one benefit of Linear Algebra.

But you shouldnt really have to much trouble with it, they taught the stuff in high school. But, it does get quite confusing from time to time. Anyways wish you luck!

Maybe we can trade note's or something. Give me a PM, if anything of the sort comes up in mind.

Edit: Forgot - exams tomorrow. Crunch time. Yes. Yes.....

azazel00

March 4th, 2007, 11:45 AM

Dont sweat it man. I suck at math and Im a pretty decent programmer.

Im currently taking the same course, but I find it a bit easier than Calculus. Then again, I took Calculus 2 four times. Shame on me.

Regards,

az

phossal

March 4th, 2007, 11:47 AM

Linear what? ;) I had a difficult time learning Algebra early on, but I found myself more inspired after college when I found practical uses for it - not for programming, but finance. I went on to teach myself Calculus. Whether or not you use it, though, is not the issue. The issue is whether you can choke down enough of it, like spinach, to pass and graduate. Going to, and graduating from, college is not for the kind of practical people who ask questions or think about the utility of what they're doing. Just do what you're told. Pay your dues (literally). Graduate, so you can move on to more of the same.

dwblas

March 4th, 2007, 05:16 PM

I got out of my first semester of Calculus with a "D", and 5 more semesters to go. That wasn't good so I started looking in the library at other calculus books. It turned out that something that was very confusing in one book was relatively easy to understand in another. I think I wound up with something like 10 calculus books in the end. The moral to the story is that if you aren't just plain stupid, the problem is the professor or book. Change both if you have any further linear algebra classes to take. You can only go up from here.

hod139

March 4th, 2007, 08:04 PM

Anyways I can't help but think this is a sign that I am doomed to be a mediocre programmer.

Linear algebra is orthogonal to your programming abilities, unless you are only solving linear algebra related problems.

Did anyone else have trouble with Linear algebra?

Linear algebra is probably your first exposure to more advanced mathematical concepts and requires you to start thinking more abstractly. It is a difficult topic, but one of the more applicable math courses you will find. A lot of people have trouble with this topic.

Does anyone use what they learned in Linear Algebra with their programming? I know its mostly applicable to graphics programming but where else?I use it all the time, but of course my research is in accurate simulation of physical systems. Linear algebra is used heavily in graphics and physics. More and more games are requiring physical "believability", so if you are interested in game programming this will help out too. Natural sciences use linear algebra all the time too, since non-linear systems are more difficult to analyze most people simplify problems to linear approximations.

But you shouldnt really have to much trouble with it, they taught the stuff in high school

They didn't teach linear algebra in my high school. It is usually taught after calculus and is where you learn about vector spaces, matrix properties (eigenvalues, rank, condition, etc), and linear transformations. You must of went to an advanced high school.

theorem_hunter

March 4th, 2007, 11:14 PM

im also taking linear algebra & not enjoying my self... i have a discrete maths test tomoro :( next semester i do abstract algebra. good 2 know im not the only 1 suffering

hod139

March 4th, 2007, 11:45 PM

next semester i do abstract algebra.

Abstract algebra is hard and has no real use (pure mathematics at its finest). Are you a computer science major or math major? If the former, is abstract algebra really a requirement? If the latter, have fun learning about groups, rings, and fields.

pmasiar

March 4th, 2007, 11:52 PM

Linear Algebra is one of the required math classes that all CS majors must take for their degree. Anyways I can't help but think this is a sign that I am doomed to be a mediocre programmer. Did anyone else have trouble with Linear algebra? Does anyone use what they learned in Linear Algebra with their programming? I know its mostly applicable to graphics programming but where else?

We had similar discussion in thread so is programming pretty much math?? (http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=371096) less than a week ago.

Big part of programming is is being detail-oriented, accurate. Algebra is good training for it IMHO. Another important part is being able to learn enough from whatever area you happen to program, to be able to solve problems for your users. That's why they need you - and often programmers are not willing to learn, and users better learn some programming (which is not that hard after all - it is mostly logic) and solve problems for themselves, without bothering lordly programmers. And yes, they will solve it NOT in C++: they will use Perl or Python instead.

So you better wake up soon. Not all programmers code MMORPG games - and those who do, are often paid peanuts, because many college kids will go in and work for peanuts to program games, instead of solving tough real-world problems, where the real money are.

thk

March 4th, 2007, 11:55 PM

Linear algebra is orthogonal to your programming abilities

How do you take an inner product between linear algebra and your programming abilities?

hod139

March 5th, 2007, 12:35 AM

How do you take an inner product between linear algebra and your programming abilities?

Ha, I actually missed that when I wrote it. All I meant was the two are unrelated, unless you are coding something that requires linear algebra.

cantormath

March 5th, 2007, 12:39 AM

I am currently retaking Linear Algebra at my University and after the midterm...am currently on course to fail it a second time. Linear Algebra is one of the required math classes that all CS majors must take for their degree. Anyways I can't help but think this is a sign that I am doomed to be a mediocre programmer. Did anyone else have trouble with Linear algebra? Does anyone use what they learned in Linear Algebra with their programming? I know its mostly applicable to graphics programming but where else?

Linear algebra is beautiful. It is one of the fundemental areas of mathematics. You need it and use it, whether you know it or not. The only reason it might suck something terrible is if you are using a book by a guy named strang. Then, may God have mercy on your soul.

cantormath

March 5th, 2007, 12:42 AM

How do you take an inner product between linear algebra and your programming abilities?

you take the sum of the products of each components from both subjects.

I dont think its zero though.....at least not for every vector in the space.:KS

xtacocorex

March 5th, 2007, 02:42 AM

I actually took linear algebra thinking it'd help out with numerical method programming I used in my Aerospace Engineering classes, but it was all theory and I hated it. I got out with a C, which was fine by me.

I did get some stuff out of the class, but my other math classes were more beneficial to me.

rko618

March 5th, 2007, 08:02 AM

The only reason it might suck something terrible is if you are using a book by a guy named strang. Then, may God have mercy on your soul.

I am using this ancient text (http://www.amazon.com/Linear-Algebra-3rd-John-Fraleigh/dp/0201526751/ref=pd_bbs_2/104-0589752-7280733?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1173077815&sr=8-2) by Fraleigh and Beauregard which if you look on Amazon the reviews are absolutely horrible so that may be the problem after all. The book actually comes with a floppy that contains supplements to the book. Unfortunately me nor anyone else in the class still has a floppy drive.

I've thought about watching Strang's MIT lectures on the web but have just not taken the time to watch them (watching them all would take many many hours).

pirothezero

March 5th, 2007, 10:26 AM

Someone mentioned what else it was good for.

Along with graphics it also comes in handy with parity checking and error detection through the use of solomon error codes and reed muller codes, etc.

cantormath

March 7th, 2007, 03:58 AM

I am using this ancient text (http://www.amazon.com/Linear-Algebra-3rd-John-Fraleigh/dp/0201526751/ref=pd_bbs_2/104-0589752-7280733?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1173077815&sr=8-2) by Fraleigh and Beauregard which if you look on Amazon the reviews are absolutely horrible so that may be the problem after all. The book actually comes with a floppy that contains supplements to the book. Unfortunately me nor anyone else in the class still has a floppy drive.

I've thought about watching Strang's MIT lectures on the web but have just not taken the time to watch them (watching them all would take many many hours).

Hauffman or Friedberg are my books of choice....

Older is usually better in my opinion.

ie) Walter Rudin for Analysis.

Pithikos

September 29th, 2011, 09:13 PM

Khan Academy might give you some inuition nowadays. I looked at some of Mit's videos and they look promising. However they don't follow the chapter flow of my teacher so I look at Khan's videos. It can be time consuming to find each video corresponding to every sub-chapter but it pays off with intuition(although intuition doesn't necessarily pay back in grades).

karlson

September 30th, 2011, 02:21 AM

I think it might be worthwhile to automatically disable threads that didn't have posts for more then a year.....

t1497f35

September 30th, 2011, 03:06 PM

I think it might be worthwhile to automatically disable threads that didn't have posts for more then a year.....

Sure, I wonder why they don't "disable" threads that are older than a given time period. The admins would save quite some time closing them.

PaulM1985

September 30th, 2011, 03:34 PM

What if you posted a problem, didn't solve it, then stumble upon a solution by accident a year or so later. It would be nice for those people to put in their solutions to help out others in the future.

Paul

EDIT: Threads ending in solutions are handy. Threads that you find online because you have the same problem, read all the way through to find that there is not a solution aren't.

sisco311

September 30th, 2011, 03:50 PM

Necromancy.

Thread Closed.

@karlson & t1497f35

Automatically closing threads after a set time

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