Does better math skills really equal a better engineer in the future?

- posted
18 years ago

- posted
18 years ago

Does better math skills really equal a better engineer in the future?

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- posted
18 years ago

defiantly.. all that math you try to forget at school will suddenly become useful when you start calculating track impedance and capacitor reactance

Simon

- posted
18 years ago

snipped-for-privacy@domain.invalid a écrit:

No, although it helps

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- posted
18 years ago

not exactly equal...but you will impress the client when you give the frequency of a timing path of 14.4ns without using a calculator...:)

Kelvin

- posted
18 years ago

That's not maths skill, that's arithmetic skill.

For any technical profession you need to be fast and reliable at basic arithmetic - if you have difficulty working out how a 4.7uF capacitor compares to a 4700nF capacitor, you will have problems. But no one is going to blame you for using a calculator to multiply it by a 33k resistance.

Maths skill is something else - it is about logical thinking, reasoning, and analysis. The skill is in the ability to work with symbolic representations, to understand, manipulate and interprete such systems, with a care for the details and an attention to all special cases, while still being able to sort the relevant from the irrelevant. In short, maths is most important as training for your mind (although obviously particular branches of maths are directly relevant to particular branches of engineering).

It's not enough on its own, but if you are not good at maths, or don't study enough maths, then you will have great difficulty being a good engineer (except perhaps a social engineer...).

- posted
18 years ago

it's true...

but it's no big deal to calculate 47X33 anyway...

arithmetic is part of mathematics...every engineer needs to be proficient in math...

Kelvin

going

and

with

study

- posted
18 years ago

in

Arithmetic is to maths what letters are to English, or perhaps what handwriting is to essay-writing - you can get a computer to help with the larger stuff as long as you understand what you are doing, but it's going to be a pain if you need a computer for every little note, and being able to write well does not make you a good essay writer.

There are three sorts of mathematicians - those who can count, and those who can't.

There are 10 sorts of software engineers - those that understand binary, and those who don't.

Anyway, we agree that an engineer needs to be good at maths.

David

still

- posted
18 years ago

Engineer math skill is what remains after you forget everything in school, and what's gain from works.

- posted
18 years ago

Kelvin wrote: : it's true...

: but it's no big deal to calculate 47X33 anyway...

Well, start with 50X30 , we're engineers :-)

-- Uwe Bonnes bon@elektron.ikp.physik.tu-darmstadt.de Institut fuer Kernphysik Schlossgartenstrasse 9 64289 Darmstadt

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- posted
18 years ago

How about digital logic design engineer? What kind of math required other than basic arithmetic? And don't they need a lot less math than say an RF engineer?

Hendra

- posted
18 years ago

same as RF engineer .. ever seen what a 2 gig processor looks like :-)... infact anything over 500 MHz is RF

Simon

- posted
18 years ago

Let me give you a list of math/CS skills used by myself and two coworkers in the past year and expect to use on a regular basis as a reconfigurable computing engineer:

Basic trig and linear algebra: BLAS accelerator, ray tracer, 3D transformations and rendering Numerical methods for integration and general integration: Seismic data processing General calculus minimization and maximization technics Turing complete issues, BNF, language design, compiler design DCT, FFT, general butterfly expansion and theory General algorithms such as Greedy, general Branch and Bound, Dijkstra (sp?), etc. General timing, error percentages, error bayesian Seive and other prime number searches and manipulations On a daily basis I do pointer calculations/arithmatic and some kind timing analisys

I work with two other engineers who have insufficient math. They are total peons. They have nothing to do with any product design because, basically, they can't. They just don't have the background, the nomencalture, and the mental partioning ability to be a part of the process. If you base your "better engineer" criteria on how well a person follows orders, comments code, and produces bugfree code, which seem to be standard mesurements, then let me ask you this? Wouldn't you feel better knowing they understand the orders, understand the code they're commenting, and can effectively prove their code is bugfree? These skills all require an understanding of what's going on at all levels, and you can't have that without math.

- posted
18 years ago

Simon Peacock wrote: > same as RF engineer .. ever seen what a 2 gig processor > looks like :-)... infact anything over 500 MHz is RF

500MHz is the low end of the microwave region.The US government runs a radio transmitter on 60kHz, so I would have to call that the low end of RF. They used to run one at 20KHz, but don't anymore.

That is not counting the 7Hz transmitter used to communicate with submarines. (The resonant frequency of the earth.)

-- glen

- posted
18 years ago

How about Abstract Algebra? The math needed to understand Reed-Solomon, BCH, and other codes is not intuitive--at least for most of us. The "rules" are a little different over finite fields....

On a more basic note, you need math to budget your interfaces (how much bandwidth is required, etc.) and, of course, your parts lists.

And let's not neglect FFTs, and other digital signal processing opportunities.

Jason

- posted
18 years ago

Better understanding of engineering (and the world) develops better math skills.

If you understand your problem then the mathematics will fall into place. If you don't understand the problem the mathematics will seem pointless.

I only really started understanding some of my school math after I applied it in the practical field.

Low math skills/marks = low understanding of applications/problems.

Victor

- posted
18 years ago

Depending on the level of abstraction. Nowadays your tools doing all the nasty stuff, so you don't even need to know boolean arithmetic. However it's still good to know the basics, of what your tools doing to get good results.

I think you need less skills in "applied higher mathematic" than an RF engineer but at least the same amount in more abstract mathematics like coding theory, formal algorithms, complexity theory, automation therory and so on. If you like to implement eg a booth multiplier you end up with more mathematic than you ever wanted to learn.

The actual needed mathematics may be strongly dependent on the kind of circuits your doing. When working on digital ASICs for RF you need other mathematical skills then needed in CPU development or similar ASICS for number crunching. Image processing has other needs than lowpower design.

bye Thomas

- posted
18 years ago

Its part of the job to work with "peons" unfortunately.

Not sure if I would have broadcast that from the company email though:-)

Next time I think of SB, I will remember those 2 "peons";, poor guys!

regards

johnjakson_usa_com

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