johnthebaptist27
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So I am choosing my optional module for mathematics at Durham first year and am torn between a Spanish module or a discrete maths module. The Spanish module would get me from GCSE level to AS level. I would like to know is discrete maths worth doing? Is it very applicable in higher level maths or programming for example? Or would it be more useful to further a language?
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RDKGames
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(Original post by johnthebaptist27)
So I am choosing my optional module for mathematics at Durham first year and am torn between a Spanish module or a discrete maths module. The Spanish module would get me from GCSE level to AS level. I would like to know is discrete maths worth doing? Is it very applicable in higher level maths or programming for example? Or would it be more useful to further a language?
Yes, discrete maths is very much applicable in higher level maths.

In fact, it is fundamental in programming because it covers is the study of graphs and networks.
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DFranklin
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(Original post by RDKGames)
Yes, discrete maths is very much applicable in higher level maths.

In fact, it is fundamental in programming because it covers is the study of graphs and networks.
Really depends what you mean by "fundamental in programming". I've written code for computer graphics products for over 20 years, and I'd say very few of my colleagues have had had significant formal discrete maths training. (Personally the closest university courses would have been graph theory and optimization and I don't think I've used anything from those courses in my computing career). Good programmers may well end up with "working knowledge" of quite a few things covered in discrete maths, but the approach/emphasis is quite different.

Conversely, the company I work for was (pre-Covid) running an out-of-hours Spanish class for people wanting an extra language.

Having had a look at the Durham Discrete Maths description, I'd say that it looks like it would be interesting, with a lot of fun topics, but I doubt it's enormously relevant to programming.

That said, I think I'd choose it over Spanish here; the deciding factor being that it will be *much* easier to learn AS level Spanish post-university than it will to learn degree-level mathematics.
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RDKGames
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(Original post by DFranklin)
Really depends what you mean by "fundamental in programming". I've written code for computer graphics products for over 20 years, and I'd say very few of my colleagues have had had significant formal discrete maths training. (Personally the closest university courses would have been graph theory and optimization and I don't think I've used anything from those courses in my computing career). Good programmers may well end up with "working knowledge" of quite a few things covered in discrete maths, but the approach/emphasis is quite different.
I was thinking more towards programming algorithms that model networks, or go into operations research.

As you say, good programmers do not necessarily need to rely on formal understanding. I was getting at the fact that it would be better for OP to take Discrete Maths over Spanish if these areas are of greater interest to them, and possibly involved in their future career.
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Melvin Guna
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(Original post by DFranklin)
Really depends what you mean by "fundamental in programming". I've written code for computer graphics products for over 20 years, and I'd say very few of my colleagues have had had significant formal discrete maths training. (Personally the closest university courses would have been graph theory and optimization and I don't think I've used anything from those courses in my computing career). Good programmers may well end up with "working knowledge" of quite a few things covered in discrete maths, but the approach/emphasis is quite different.

Conversely, the company I work for was (pre-Covid) running an out-of-hours Spanish class for people wanting an extra language.

Having had a look at the Durham Discrete Maths description, I'd say that it looks like it would be interesting, with a lot of fun topics, but I doubt it's enormously relevant to programming.

That said, I think I'd choose it over Spanish here; the deciding factor being that it will be *much* easier to learn AS level Spanish post-university than it will to learn degree-level mathematics.
I agree. I have done programming for several years. Discrete mathematics is definitely a very important branch of mathematics and holds an essential place in computing theory. However, software application development expertise comes from a more hands-on approach.

So, in your particular situation, I am not able to say if this is going to add significant value within the timeframe you are referring to.
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