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ryanmic92
Posts: **1**Registered User New Member

Hello! I would like to start out by introducing myself, I'm Ryan! I'm a current Computer Science major at Seton Hill University.

Now, to my question. For my Calculus 1 class I was told to write a paper on how we would use Derivatives and Calculus in general for our major. This is where I am stuck... I know that I need a lot of math (Calc 1&2, Discreet, Linear, Stats), but I am not sure how calculus will be practical. I've heard that it can be helpful in programming, but I have no interest in programming for the rest of my life. I'm hopefully starting my networking and internet security classes next semester, because those areas interest me the most. I don't see how I would use Calc in Security or I.T. I've tried looking at many sources, and haven't had time to make an appointment with my advisor, so I'm kind of stuck at the moment. If anybody has some background or information that would great. Thanks!

Now, to my question. For my Calculus 1 class I was told to write a paper on how we would use Derivatives and Calculus in general for our major. This is where I am stuck... I know that I need a lot of math (Calc 1&2, Discreet, Linear, Stats), but I am not sure how calculus will be practical. I've heard that it can be helpful in programming, but I have no interest in programming for the rest of my life. I'm hopefully starting my networking and internet security classes next semester, because those areas interest me the most. I don't see how I would use Calc in Security or I.T. I've tried looking at many sources, and haven't had time to make an appointment with my advisor, so I'm kind of stuck at the moment. If anybody has some background or information that would great. Thanks!

Post edited by ryanmic92 on

## Replies to: Calculus in Computer Science

9,520Registered User Senior Member2,856Registered User Senior Member+cryptology +calculus

or even

+cryptology +derivative

Also, the is a course that is part of BOTH computer science and math departments called numerical analysis.

You're Welcome :-)

72Registered User Junior Member9,520Registered User Senior Member1,026Registered User Senior MemberThese are applications of computer science, at least depending on how you define computer science. The only reason that these are "heavy on calculus" is because the application area is heavy on calculus; not all areas of CS application share these properties, so I would find these as invalid as numerical analysis.

This is a pure flight of fancy, right? The physics of computers has nothing to do with computer science as most people understand it. Certainly there are aspects of hardware physics which are taken into account in various application domains (temperature/power-aware scheduling come to mind as great examples), but these are also applications in the sense that the usefulness of calculus is incidental, not fundamental, to computer science.

I think the real issue here is this: does Computer Science include application areas (machine learning, graphics, numerical methods, etc.)? If not, what does computer science include? Note that evaluating series and sequences is something which is often taught in introductory calculus sequences, and this finds direct and uneqivocal application in the analysis of algorithms. In fact, some of the most clearly unambiguous examples of the potential for calculus in Computer Science proper seem to be in analysis of algorithms, and in particular, algorithmic complexity: evaluating series and sequences in limits. You could imagine scenarios where derivatives, integrals and limits would all be useful (since all can be useful in working with series and sequences).

Unless clear bounds are put onto what belongs to CS and what belongs to application areas, I'm not sure how much more there is than that.

1,315Registered User Senior Member9,520Registered User Senior MemberI do think that there's a difference between "using calculus to solve problems in computer science" and "using computer science to solve problems in calculus." Numerical analysis comes up with algorithms to solve calculus problems, so it's strictly in the second camp. Computer graphics does the opposite: you have a problem in computer science (how to represent in memory and render on a 2-d screen an image of a 3-d scenery) and you are using calculus concepts to solve it.

Are you now appealing to transitivity? You might have a point there. HOWEVER, even then, Numerical Analysis is only useful in CS because there are branches of computer science whose solutions rely on calculus. ln other words, without an actual use of calculus in another branch of CS (like graphics or machine learning), numerical analysis would be fundamentally useless for computer scientists.

2,856Registered User Senior Member1,074Registered User Senior Member