Programming hobby = Math skills?

Posted by
April 2nd, 2013 1:11 pm

I have noticed this trend. When I spent alot of time programming things from scratch, I usually had much better academic performance in mathematics without studying too hard. Last year, after having a burn-out because of my 10 hours per week of swimming lessons and after quitting swimming altogether, I had lots of free time open. So I started learning javascript and making some really interesting stuff, learning tile-based game design and physics. And guess what? I got the best math grade in school at the end of that year!

On a seperate note, I had a busy week, giving in my IB personal project and going to the Montreal Science Fair. But now it’s over, and I will spend more time on my projects. For instance, I want to advance a web drawing program/game that I was making. I am also going to participate in the next Ludum Dare.

P.S. How do you change your profile picture? I want people to recognize me!

4 Responses to “Programming hobby = Math skills?”

  1. sorceress says:

    profile picture is managed by gravatar,

    Your gravatar is linked to your email address, so will become your profile picture on all participating websites.

  2. 1. What sorceress said…
    2. I’m not sure if learning to programm stuff in javascrips really helps you with your math skills, but it opens your brain to use certain structures that may allow you to get a better grasp of some more abstract concepts, like, for example, used in math. It also makes you realize that math can have practical uses, like doing a physics engine or doing some calulations on game object coordinates and stuff…
    Be warned, however : If you work as a programmer every day for about 20 years (like me…), you might find it hard to think outside the very structures system that programming requires from you, and be disgusted of things or people you find to be illogical/unstructured.
    But we all pay a price for our actions, don’t we … ?!?

    • Zelen3d says:

      It’s not really because I started javascript. I messed with other languages before, and I already had a certain mathematical rigorousity that not everyone had. But last year, I actually started to apply my knowledge to do practical stuff such as … creating games from scratch!
      I see what you mean by the way programming makes us think. I imagine that it is best to keep our brain healthy is by balancing our activities. I used to be OK at drawing, and further ago, relatively good for my age at writing texts, but that was when I still read books :s . I guess we are flexible while young. I hope this quality won’t entirely go away.

  3. sorceress says:

    Since you are learning both mathematics and programming in parallel, your proficiency with both could be increasing independently. Correlation != Cause.

    One of the downsides of learning mathematics through programming, is that you get into the habit of thinking in terms of functions and algorithms. These can be limiting, as there is often a better way of understanding a mathematical concept.

    As an extreme example, there some mathematical problems which be solved relatively quickly on paper, but become terribly inefficient if converted into a software algorithm. So software isn’t always best.

    But in my experience I would say the causal relationship is the other way about: After I had learned some mathematics at school/college I was able to use that in my programs. And a new piece of mathematics gave the following benefits:

    Improved Efficiency – I can make something run quicker than it did before, or use less memory.
    Ability – I can do something which I couldn’t do before.
    Insight – I am aware of something important (in a problem, or in my solution to it) that I was oblivious to before.

    Also, the exposure to new concepts can give you practice at representing new mathematical objects in code.

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