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Importance of learning Mathematics for Computing

Today, many IT under graduates don't see the importance of learning mathematics needed for computing. And also there may not any compulsory subjects for mathematics in some degree programs. Basically, learning some areas of Pure Mathematics is very important, if you want to become a real Software Engineer. Actually, when I was schooling, I also didn't know how important it is to learn these maths stuff for the job I am hoping to do in future. So those days, I had no any motivation. But after starting to follow an IT degree, there were some compulsory maths subjects for us, and then I had the motivations to learn them because there was some awareness in me about how these things are used in real life. According to my point of view, this is one of the biggest problems in Sri Lanka's school education system, specially in advanced level, no body knows what the reason for learning these subjects. But some times, there are reasons to be happy about not getting an effort to learn some subject areas in schooling time. For an example, the developers who specialized in Web based Enterprise Applications, Web Application Frameworks etc need not to know anything about Physics, Chemistry, and some areas of Applied Mathematics. But for them, it is extremely important to learn some areas of Pure Mathematics. That is the reason for there are modules for mathematics subjects in many good IT degree programs. Given below is a very simple example to prove this fact. This is the simplest one I could found in my recent works.

In one of our projects, there is an automatic leave allocation system. In that system there are so many things such as monthly allocation of leave, leave accumulations over the years, according to the employees job titles, pay grades, employment statuses, different leave types etc. And, there is a rule, no one can exceed the remaining vacation leave amount more than seventy days. This thing is checked always when assigning leave, copying and bringing forward the leave from previous year. Remaining vacation leave amount is calculated as given below.

remaining_amount = (allocated_amount + brought_forward) - taken_amount

When allocating leave, following simple condition is used to check whether the new leave amount exceeds seventy days.

(new_vacation_amount + brought_forward) - taken_amount >= 70

Now, when allocating vacation leave if the new added amount makes the remaining amount more than seventy, then the new amount should be adjusted so that remaining amount not exceeds seventy. This adjusted value can be calculated simply using the same function given above.

(new_vacation_amount + brought_forward) - taken_amount = 70

new_vacation_amount + brought_forward = 70 + taken_amount

new_vacation_amount = (70 + taken_amount) - brought_forward --->(3)

So, using the third equation, new vacation leave amount can be calculated when the new amount needs to be adjusted to keep remaining amount less than or equal seventy days. Actually, to do a simple things like this, there may be no need of a formal education of mathematics. But in some more complex situations the development time can be reduced by using the knowledge of mathematics. And, also I am not telling here every one needs to have a good maths knowledge to do the things. We all know, there are (were/will be) so many individuals who changed the world by doing good things without having any formal education.


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