# Questions tagged [math]

Programming questions that are significantly affected or best defined by the underlying mathematics of the problem.

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26answers
85k views

### What does mathematics have to do with programming? [closed]

I just started a diploma in software development. Right now we're starting out with basic Java and such (so right from the bottom you might say) - which is fine, I have no programming experience apart ...
67answers
231k views

### Do you have to be good at math to be a good programmer? [closed]

It seems that conventional wisdom suggests that good programmers are also good at math. Or that the two are somehow intrinsically linked. Many programming books I have read provide many examples that ...
10answers
14k views

### Is it good practice to replace division with multiplication when possible?

Whenever I need division, for example, condition checking, I would like to refactor the expression of division into multiplication, for example: Original version: if(newValue / oldValue >= ...
5answers
13k views

### Why is negative zero important?

I'm confused about why we care about different representations for positive and negative zero. I vaguely recall reading claims that having a negative zero representation is extremely important in ...
5answers
17k views

### Will a computer attempt to divide by zero?

We all know 0/0 is Undefined and returns an error if I were to put it into a calculator, and if I were to create a program (in C at least) the OS would terminate it when I try to divide by zero. But ...
14answers
37k views

### Why does DirectX use a left-handed coordinate system?

I considered posting on Stack Overflow, but the question strikes me as being far too subjective since I can't think of a reasonable technical explanation for Microsoft's choice in this matter. ...
11answers
39k views

### Is there a canonical book on mathematics for programmers? [closed]

I'm a self-taught programmer. I am honestly not good in math. What advice you can give to improve my Mathematical skills so that I will not be so insecure around my fellow programmers? What are the ...
5answers
40k views

### get weighted random item

I have, for example, this table +-----------------+ | fruit | weight | +-----------------+ | apple | 4 | | orange | 2 | | lemon | 1 | +-----------------+ I need to return a random ...
1answer
39k views

### Treating a 1D data structure as 2D grid

I am working with a native class that represents a 2D image as a 1D array. If you want to change one pixel, for example, you need to now how to derive the index from the x,y coordinates. So, let's ...
10answers
42k views

### How to check if 4 points form a square?

Assume I have 4 points (they are 2-dimension), which are different from each other, and I want to know whether they form a square. How to do it? (let the process be as simple as possible.)
16answers
7k views

### Why use other number bases when programming

My coworkers and I have been bending our minds to figuring out why anyone would go out of their way to program numbers in a base other than base 10. I suggested that perhaps you could optimize longer ...
1answer
3k views

### Why was the caret used for XOR instead of exponentiation?

Not that it's really a problem for anyone that has faced this syntactic issue before, but I see a wild amount of confusion stemming from the use of the caret (^) as the XOR operation in lieu of the ...
17answers
4k views

### Introducing Programming To a Mathematician [closed]

I currently am a programmer, I'm almost 16 years of age and have pretty much narrowed my careers down to something involving a Computer Science degree or Electrical Engineering degree (I know they are ...
10answers
9k views

### Why is Math.Sqrt() a static function?

In a discussion about static and instance methods, I always think, that Sqrt() should be a instance method of number types instead of a static method. Why is that? It obviously works on a value. // ...
4answers
5k views

### Can you use Pi as a crude random number generator?

I recently saw this question over at math.SE. It got me thinking. Could Pi be used as a crude random number generator? I mean the results are well known(how long has pi been computed to now?) but, Pi ...
4answers
42k views

### Prerequisite math skill for Introduction to Algorithms (CLRS) book [closed]

I already have knowledge about basic algorithms. Now I plan to study more advance algorithms and I decide to go with Introduction to Algorithms. I'm not sure, do I need to refresh my math's skill ...
11answers
11k views

### Why do we still use floats? [duplicate]

I understand why floats served a purpose in the past. And I think I can see why they're useful in some simulation examples today. But I think those example are more exceptional than common. So I ...
3answers
28k views

### what is a efficient way to find repeating decimal

I am trying to find a efficient algorithm in Java to find the repeating decimal part of two integers a and b where a/b. eg. 5/7 = 0.714258 714258.... I currently only know of the long division ...
11answers
2k views

### How is fundamental mathematics efficiently evaluated by programming languages?

As I get more and more involved with the theory behind programming, I find myself fascinated and dumbfounded by seemingly simple things.. I realize that my understanding of the majority of fundamental ...
7answers
2k views

### How can a large, Fortran-based number crunching codebase be modernized?

A friend in academia asked me for advice (I'm a C# business application developer). He has a legacy codebase which he wrote in Fortran in the medical imaging field. It does a huge amount of number ...
17answers
11k views

### What are good mathematical formulas to know for programming? [closed]

What are some somewhat common math formulas you learned that helped you write better algorithms and become a better programmer? Example: I learned about the ecludian distance formula: sqrt((x1-x2)^2+(...
6answers
5k views

### What is the mathematics foundation for first/second/third class values in programming languages?

Added Just found two related questions https://math.stackexchange.com/q/1759680/1281 https://stackoverflow.com/a/2582804/156458 In programming languages, from Michael Scott's Programming Language ...
4answers
3k views

### Documenting mathematical logic in code

Sometimes, although not often, I have to include math logic in my code. The concepts used are mostly very simple, but the resulting code is not - a lot of variables with unclear purpose, and some ...
4answers
4k views

### why are all the functional programming tutorials so mathy?

I've been trying to learn functional programming and most tutorials I have found use math as examples for the more complicated constructs (even the simple ones in some cases). Why is this? I would ...
5answers
6k views

### Is functional programming strongly related to mathematics?

Is functional programming so related to mathematics because much of the functional programming is depicted with mathematical notions? Is it a MUST to have a strong base of maths to learn & ...
1answer
2k views

### Why does Math.min work with a one element array

According to MDN Math.min accepts only numbers, and if one of the arguments is not a number, it'll return NaN. It's true that if we pass an array with multiple numbers we get NaN, like this: Math.min([...
4answers
3k views

### Why is mod (%) a fundamental mathematical operator in many programming languages?

Is there a reason, historical or otherwise, why the modulus operator is part of a small set of standard operators in what seems like many languages? (+, -, *, / and %, for Java and C, with ** in Ruby ...
7answers
2k views

### What can one do to improve readability of math-oriented code in C#, Java, and similar? [closed]

As both a C programmer and a C# programmer, one of the things I don't like about C# is how verbose math functions are. Every time you would have to use a Sin, cosine, or power function for example, ...
1answer
1k views

### In what programming language did the use of the percent sign (%) to mean modulo/remainder originate?

In what programming language did the use of the percent sign (%) to mean modulo/remainder originate? This previous post1 explains that the symbol % was likely chosen because it includes a slash, ...
4answers
11k views

### Handling extremely large numbers in a language which can't?

I'm trying to think about how I would go about doing calculations on extremely large numbers (to infinitum - intergers no floats) if the language construct is incapable of handling numbers larger than ...
0answers
3k views

### Do we have to learn Mathematics to be a good Programmer? [duplicate]

Do we have to learn Mathematics to be a good Programmer?
5answers
19k views

### Recomendation for Math books related to computer science [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is there a canonical book on mathematics for programmers? I need your recommendation for math books related to computer science in these areas: Boolean Algebra (Boolean logic,...
9answers
7k views

### Pure vs Applied Math For Programmers [closed]

Math has always been my thing in that I've always found the subject easy. Computer Science is my second love, though. Given the choice, I would prefer to major in Math. Since the only careers one ...
2answers
812 views

### Trying to understand the 2N lnN compares for quicksort

I was going through the analysis of quicksort in Sedgewick's Algorithms book. He creates the following recurrence relation for number of compares in quicksort while sorting an array of N distinct ...
5answers
814 views

### Long term plan of attack to learn math? [closed]

I am a web-developer with a desire to expand my skill-set to mathematics relevant to programming. As 2nd career, I am stuck in college doing some of the requirements while working. I was hoping the ...
2answers
11k views

### Find the new coordinates using a starting point, a distance, and an angle

Okay, say I have a point coordinate. var coordinate = { x: 10, y: 20 }; Now I also have a distance and an angle. var distance = 20; var angle = 72; The problem I am trying to solve is, if I want ...
6answers
6k views

### Web Developer and Math [duplicate]

I have just learned HTML/CSS and I practice everything I read to make it more understandable to me and I really enjoy it. My goal is to be a Modern Web Developer both front and back-end, so I won't ...
5answers
1k views

### Does any programming language use variables as they're in maths?

In maths, a variable means you can put any number there, and an equation will still be true: root(square(x)) = abs(x) In programming languages, this is not so: a var can change. In Python: y = (x**...
9answers
7k views

### Will getting a degree in mathematics help in game development? [closed]

I'm two months away from getting my degree in systems engineering, which is to say, I learned how to code and code well using managed languages. The only reason I got into this career was because I ...
10answers
393 views

### Should 'mathematical' functions follow mathematical notation?

I suppose this question is going to be immediately flagged as subjective, but which do you think is better: double volume(double pressure, double n_moles, double temperature) { return n_moles * ...
5answers
2k views

### Are there any formalized/mathematical theories of software testing?

Googling "software testing theory" only seems to give theories in the soft sense of the word; I have not been able to find anything that would classify as a theory in the mathematical, information ...
5answers
10k views

### When comparing floats, what do you call the threshold of difference?

I'm comparing floats in Java right now and the simplest formula is: Math.abs(a - b) < THRESHOLD When naming your variable for the threshold of difference, should you name it delta or epsilon? ...
12answers
10k views

### Is it possible to learn maths via programming, or you should learn maths for programming? [closed]

I am not the best in maths, not very horrid either, but lower than the average, I've always been thinking to improve my maths, but schools and books didn't do the job because I get bored too fast. The ...
8answers
5k views

### How can calculus and linear algebra be useful to a system programmer? [closed]

I found a website saying that calculus and linear algebra are necessary for System Programming. System Programming, as far as I know, is about osdev, drivers, utilities and so on. I just can't figure ...
3answers
19k views

### Good way to learn how to solve questions on InterviewStreet [closed]

Possible Duplicate: How do I adapt to pre-interview challenge questions? InterviewStreet is a new company that essentially acts as a filter for companies to find programmers that can code. My ...
1answer
337 views

### Implied precision of floating-point functions

While reviewing another programmer's implementation of a function to calculate the normal distribution CDF, I made a suggestion to either replace the entire implementation with Python's built-in ...
5answers
929 views

### Interview puzzle on traveling on a line segment

On a number line of length M, where 0 < M <= 1,000,000,000, you given N (1 < N <= 100,000) integer pairs of points. In each pair, the first point represents where an object is currently ...
3answers
469 views

### When should a trig function, with a degree argument, return -0.0?

In creating trig functions my_sind(d), my_cosd(d), my_tand(d), that used a degree argument rather than a radian one and provided exact answers at multiples of 90, I noticed that the result was ...
1answer
1k views

### Maths needed to understand theory behind Haskell's type system?

Recently, I've become deeply interested in Haskell. While attempting to learn new concepts (e.g. the forall keyword and ST monad) and Haskell's type system in general, I continually run into ...
3answers
583 views

### What rationale is used when programming language designers decide what sign the result of modulo operation takes?

Going through Modulo operation (the avenue I entered while exploring the difference between rem and mod) I came across: In mathematics the result of the modulo operation is the remainder of the ...