Is Math Still Relevant? - Singapore Forums by SGClub.com
Singapore Forums by SGClub.com
Sitemap Contact Us FAQ Singapore Forums by SGClub.com
Home Photos Member List Register Mark Forums Read  
Go Back Home > Lifestyle > School Life > Math Help » Is Math Still Relevant?

Why aren't you a member of SGClub.com yet??

» Join 130,000+ other members in chatting.
» Make lots of new friends here.
» Keep up-to-date with current events.
» Participate in Club outings.
» Download lots of Free Stuff!

Registration just takes 2mins and is absolutely free so join our community today!

I Want to Choose my Own Personal Nickname Now!


Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 27th February 2012, 01:21 AM   #1 (permalink)
Experienced SGClubber
whitecorp is a glorious beacon of lightwhitecorp is a glorious beacon of lightwhitecorp is a glorious beacon of light

 
whitecorp's Avatar
 
Posts: 2,404
Join Date: Jul 2009
Likes: 0
Liked 211 Times in 174 Posts
Gender:

Is Math Still Relevant?

The queen of the sciences may someday lose its royal status
By Robert W. Lucky

Long ago, when I was a freshman in *engineering school, there was a required course in mechanical drawing. “You had better learn this skill,” the instructor said, “because all engineers start their careers at the *drafting table.”

This was an ominous beginning to my education, but as it turned out, he was wrong. Neither I nor, I suspect, any of my classmates began our careers at the drafting table.

These days, engineers aren’t routinely taught drawing, but they spend a lot of time learning another skill that may be similarly unnecessary: mathematics. I confess this thought hadn’t occurred to me until recently, when a friend who teaches at a leading university made an off-hand comment. “Is it *possible,” he suggested, “that the era of math*ematics in electrical *engineering is coming to an end?”

When I asked him about this disturbing idea, he said that he had only been *trying to be provocative and that his graduate students were now writing theses that were more mathematical than ever. I felt reassured that the mathematical basis of engineering is strong. But still, I wonder to what extent—and for how long—today’s under*graduate engineering students will be using classical *mathematics as their careers unfold.

There are several trends that might suggest a diminishing role for mathematics in engineering work. First, there is the rise of software engineering as a separate discipline. It just doesn’t take as much math to write an operating system as it does to design a printed circuit board. Programming is rigidly structured and, at the same time, an evolving art form—neither of which is especially amenable to mathematical analysis.

Another trend veering us away from classical math is the increasing dependence on programs such as Matlab and Maple. The pencil-and-paper calculations with which we evaluated the relative performance of variations in design are now more easily made by simulation software packages—which, with their vast libraries of pre*packaged functions and data, are often more powerful. A purist might ask: Is using Matlab doing math? And of course, the answer is that sometimes it is, and sometimes it isn’t.

A third trend is the growing importance of a class of problems termed “wicked,” which involve social, political, economic, and un*defined or unknown issues that make the application of mathematics very difficult. The world is seemingly full of such frus*trating but important problems.

These trends notwithstanding, we should recognize the role of mathematics in the discovery of fundamental properties and truth. Maxwell’s equations—which are inscribed in marble in the foyer of the National Academy of Engineering—foretold the possibility of radio. It took about half a *century for those radios to reach Shannon’s limit—described by his equation for channel *capacity—but at least we knew where we were headed.

Theoretical physicists have explained through math the workings of the universe and even predicted the existence of previously unknown fundamental particles. The iconic image I carry in my mind is of Einstein at a blackboard that’s covered with tensor-filled equations. It is remarkable that one person scribbling math can uncover such secrets. It is as if the universe itself understands and obeys the mathematics that we humans invented.

There have been many philosophical discussions through the years about this wonderful power of math. In a famous 1960 paper en*titled “The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences,” the physicist Eugene Wigner wrote, “The miracle of the appropriateness of the language of mathematics for the formulation of the laws of physics is a wonderful gift [that] we neither understand nor deserve.” In a 1980 paper with a similar title, the computer science pioneer Richard Hamming tried to answer the question, “How can it be that simple mathematics suffices to predict so much?”

This “unreasonable effectiveness” of mathematics will continue to be at the heart of engineering, but perhaps the way we use math will change. Still, it’s hard to imagine Einstein running simulations on his laptop.

IEEE Spectrum

Sponsors:
whitecorp is offline  
Add to whitecorp's Reputation Reply With Quote
Old 1st March 2012, 03:16 AM   #2 (permalink)
Moderator
workingtoohard is a name known to allworkingtoohard is a name known to allworkingtoohard is a name known to allworkingtoohard is a name known to allworkingtoohard is a name known to all

 
workingtoohard's Avatar
 
Posts: 9,462
Join Date: Aug 2008
Likes: 140
Liked 174 Times in 130 Posts
Gender:

Re: Is Math Still Relevant?

one of the comment on there pretty much wraps it up.
Lealand LaPoint II
Engineering is applied mathematics and applied science. If you don't understand either then you aren't an engineer. Anyone can sit at a computer and push buttons until the simulation finally works, but that isn't engineering at all. Math is still relevant and always will be, because it gives us a language to describe our systems. It is the language of engineering and the language of science as a whole. Once engineers stop learning mathematics and can no longer analyze their systems on their own, they are nothing more than technicians relying of instruments to tell them how something works. That will be a sad day in engineering.
that said, i do see a different kind of disturbing trend. that engineers are engineers by name only. i have come across more technicians with the skills of an engineer than a claim to be engineer. maybe it is not math that is detaching from engineering but engineering curriculum detaching from the concept of engineering.

__________________
*Have fun in SGClub but pls READ the RULES, Report Bad Posts and Give Reputation to Good Ones!*
workingtoohard is offline   Add to workingtoohard's Reputation Reply With Quote
Old 2nd March 2012, 05:41 PM   #3 (permalink)
Experienced SGClubber
whitecorp is a glorious beacon of lightwhitecorp is a glorious beacon of lightwhitecorp is a glorious beacon of light

 
whitecorp's Avatar
 
Posts: 2,404
Join Date: Jul 2009
Likes: 0
Liked 211 Times in 174 Posts
Gender:

Re: Is Math Still Relevant?

Originally Posted by workingtoohard View Post
one of the comment on there pretty much wraps it up.

that said, i do see a different kind of disturbing trend. that engineers are engineers by name only. i have come across more technicians with the skills of an engineer than a claim to be engineer. maybe it is not math that is detaching from engineering but engineering curriculum detaching from the concept of engineering.
Engineering is about innovation and design, and more importantly turning the impossible into possible. A good engineer needs to possess both strong math ability and the uninhibited imaginations of a child.

I am not quite sure about the so called current trend you are observing, but when I was formerly working in the Aerospace industry we engineers come up with the schematics in our offices while technicians use their practical skills to realize the blueprints (eg soldering, cabling, circuit/wire fabrication etc). Of course at times we do get our hands dirty in the planes and stuff when things don't work as planned.

While there were one or two clowns who made us all wonder how on earth they got their BEng (or MEng), working relationships on the whole were very effective and friendly. I would say both engineers and technicians were equally competent in their specific job functions. Peace.

whitecorp is offline   Add to whitecorp's Reputation Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
SM Goh: ITE must stay relevant *StarDust* School Life 1 30th January 2011 01:45 PM
Is the Bible relevant for the workplace? workplace.alpha Singapore Christian Forums 0 3rd April 2010 08:58 AM
Parents whose child do not like Math, this could be the solution for you!!! Math Monkey is FUN MATH! blueface7 Tuition Services & Educational Supplies 0 18th February 2010 03:12 PM

» Sponsors
Watch Free Movies Online
Celebrity Gossip
Food Delivery

» Facebook Fans
» What's Going On?
Title, Username, & Date
Repost comment.
[Maid abuse] Singapore is a very evil and lawless country. There is broad daylight i
Stupid court of appeal gives red light running driver who hit pedestrian 15% discount
Mum's Kitchen Catering and Cherish Delights get licences suspended after nearly 40 people...
[PMD-pedestrian rules] Singapore Court judges are high handed and biased or court rep
Post anything random on this thread.
Ritter Sport chocolate recalled due to undeclared allergen
Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio: Ars Nova
I really hate my mother!!!
Transcend RDF9K2 All-in-One Card Reader
Transcend ESD250C, a portable SSD that’s super classy
How PAP exploited racial differences to impose FASCIST rule over Singapore.
Up to S$7250 of government $ misused for buying each vote in Singapore?
Funky Fields organic vegan spreadable recalled due to 'undisclosed allergen'
100 hawksbill turtles released into the sea after rare hatching on Sentosa
Inspirational Songs
MOH, SFA investigating after 18 typhoid fever cases in 3 weeks
By militarily invading Hong Kong, Xi Jingping is setting in motion, the wheels of nuc
Deng XiaoPing original vision for HKG- China reunification was for the two to unite a
HSA warns against three products
Featured Photos
by marisoljames322
· · ·
Member Galleries
20359 photos
13619 comments
by marisoljames322
· · ·
Member Galleries
20359 photos
13619 comments
by pdsubbu
· · ·
Member Galleries
20359 photos
13619 comments
by Vikas Dhar
· · ·
Photography
35 photos
36 comments
by aaudreygan
· · ·
Guy Photos
1581 photos
946 comments
by aaudreygan
· · ·
Girl Photos
4351 photos
28608 comments
by a8paris
· · ·
Guy Photos
1581 photos
946 comments
by a8paris
· · ·
Guy Photos
1581 photos
946 comments
by aaricia
· · ·
Girl Photos
4351 photos
28608 comments
by aaricia
· · ·
Girl Photos
4351 photos
28608 comments

 

All times are GMT +8. The time now is 11:12 AM.


Powered by vBulletin
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright© 2004-2013 SGClub.com. All rights reserved.