Mathematics

In this section, we have guides for a wide variety of mathematical concepts.

Mathematics in programming

Although it is good practice to create mathematical functions yourself, there are math libraries available for use in many programming languages. These have predetermined functions you can utilize to execute calculations. In programming, you typically cover topics like these in upper division courses on the theory of computation, the design of algorithms, and computer language design.

Fibonacci sequence (generating functions)

We all know that the recursion exercise begins with solving a Fibonacci sequence. It is the first example which shows the power of Dynamic Programming, and a special case of a class of mathematics known as generating functions. So, what we will be discussing here applies in general to all generating functions. There is this concept in mathematics: "each generating function has a sequence and each sequence has a generating function". But, the problem arises in the second part. It is not always easy to find the generating function. To remember this, I draw a analogy to non-terminating rational number: "if you know the number in decimal form, it is not easy to find the corresponding fractional form, but if we know the fraction, it is always easy to find the decimal form". So, we generally study some quite beautiful generating functions, in terms of their sequence. Why? Because, we know that sequences can easily be handled by a lot of algorithmic paradigms. Some famous sequences known are Fibonacci, Hadamard (similar to Catalan), etc.

Including math libraries

In this section we'll show you how to include the standard math library in different languages including a short example of how you can use it.

C

using System.Math;

public class Calculator {
  
  private int[] array = {1, 2, 3, 4, 5};
  
  private int CalculatePoweredArray (int power,int[] arr) {
    var poweredArray = arr;
    foreach (int nmbr in poweredArray) {
      nmbr = Math.Pow(nmbr, power); // First argument is the number to be raised, second argument is the power
    }
    return poweredArray;
  }
  
}

Calling the function with a power of 3 will give these results: [1, 8, 27, 64, 125]

Documentation reference: MSDN.aspx)

JavaScript

With Node.js

var math = require( 'mathjs' );

In the browser

<!DOCTYPE HTML>
<html>
<head>
  <script src="math.js" type="text/javascript"></script>
</head>
<body>
  <script type="text/javascript">
    // use the math.js libary
    math.sqrt(-4); // result: 2i
  </script>
</body>
</html>

Documentation reference: Math.js documentation

C++

#include <math.h>

Documentation reference: cplusplus reference

Python

>>> import math
>>> math.sqrt(9)      //takes only positive roots into consideration
3.0
>>> math.pi           //you can also utilize mathematical consonants like pi and e
3.141592653589793
>>> math.radians(90)  //converts degrees to radians
1.5707963267948966

In addition to the standard math module, there are several other mathematical helper libraries available on PyPI. For example:

$ pip install numpy
$ python
>>> import numpy as np
>>> np.zeros((3,4))

This returns a 3x4 array populated with 0s.

Java

import java.lang.Math

The math module can also be imported as follows, and the usage difference is illustrated:

>>> from math import *
>>> sqrt(4)
2.0
>>> pi
3.141592653589793

Documentation reference: Python 2 | Python 3

Additional resources

  • Animated visualizations of mathematical concepts can be found at 3 Blue 1 Brown and Khan Academy.
  • A very nice book about Mathematics named "The Princeton Companion to Mathematics", clear and very easy to understand. You can find a pdf copy here.

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