Computer Science and Math

Dean Chen:

I came across an interesting discussion regarding the role math in computer science education on SIGCSE’s (ACM Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education consisting of CS professors) mailing list. Brad Zanden, a professor in the department of electrical engineering and computer science at the University of Tennessee, started the conversation with:

I understand that discussing the role of math in CS is one of those religious war type issues… After 30 years in the field, I still fail to see how calculus and continuous math correlate with one’s ability to succeed in many areas of computer science… I have seen many outstanding programmers who struggled with calculus and never really got it. I also constantly see how what I consider to be excessive continuous math requirements in our program (calculus 1, 2, and 3, plus linear algebra) stops students from entering computer science…