Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Algorithms - Logical Thinking

In the article below, you will find out how learning mathematics is important to develop the ability of working effectively and efficiently. When learning mathematics, you are learning to think in a logical manner, which will allow you to solve problems using step-by-step processes known as algorithms. Complex real-life problems can only be solved if individuals know how to apply algorithms to vast amount of data with the aid of computers, which are then analyzed and interpreted to make informed decisions. I encourage you to read the article below and learn more how mathematics play an important role in decision-making.

Your Friend the Algorithm

With exponential trends of data growth and computational power colliding, the
world is literally drowning in data. There’s too much data, and not enough
magnifying glass

Fortunately, companies are using technology to capture and integrate data and
sophisticated mathematical procedures to analyze data and make better
decisions—decisions that ultimately improve the customer experience.

An article from The Economist,href="http://www.economist.com/business/displaystory.cfm?story_id=9795140"
target=_blank>Business by the Numbers
”, highlights how companies are using
algorithms to make book recommendations, choose optimum delivery routes for
packages and even route calls to agents that can best diagnose a particular

Algorithms help tackle complicated challenges—especially necessary as companies
race to take care of their “best” and/or most profitable customers.  I am
sure you will agree that our world is becoming more—not less—complex. As data
volumes and decision options increase, algorithms and the systems that run them
take on added importance.
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Monday, August 17, 2009

Shoelaces and Math

I found this interesting article of how we use math when tying our shoes. Another example how math is an integral part of our lives, even in the simplest tasks such as tying our shoes. Once again, Math is Everywhere!

Tying Shoes: Math May Make Case for How We Lace

Math-phobes of the world, take heart! You might not have realized it, but you've been acing at least one math problem each morning since the day you gave up Velcro.

"Tying shoelaces is a simple, familiar example of a geometrical optimization problem," said Ian Stewart, a professor of mathematics at the University of Warwick in England.

"We learn nothing of practical value about shoelaces that couldn't be found by
experiment—but we learn some interesting things about how to tackle other
problems of a similar kind, and those are often of practical value."
The bows that people make while tying shoelaces have nothing to do with making
the knot stronger, and serve only to make the knot easier to untie.
The ideal lacing should create uniform tension along the length of the lace.
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Thursday, August 6, 2009

For Today's Graduate, Just One Word: Statistics!

Interesting article! Learning mathematics, in particular statistics, is essential in times where everything is measured or quantified. We need people capable of analyzing data to identify trends and make accurate predictions. Click the link below to learn more about how learning statistics could lead you to a lucrative career.

For Today’s Graduate, Just One Word: Statistics

“People think of field archaeology as Indiana Jones, but much of what you
really do is data analysis,” she said.

“We’re rapidly entering a world where everything can be monitored and measured,”
said Erik Brynjolfsson, an economist and director of the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology
’s Center for Digital Business. “But the big problem
is going to be the ability of humans to use, analyze and make sense of the
The new breed of statisticians tackle that problem. They use powerful computers
and sophisticated mathematical models to hunt for meaningful patterns and
insights in vast troves of data.
Computing and numerical skills, experts say, matter far more than degrees. So
the new data sleuths come from backgrounds like economics, computer science and
The data surge is elevating a profession that traditionally tackled less visible
and less lucrative work, like figuring out life expectancy rates for insurance
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Sunday, August 2, 2009

How Algebra is going to help me be or become ...?

Today, a student asked one of the typical questions that students ask in a developmental math course: "How Algebra is going to help me be or become ...?" Unfortunately, today this question irked my normal coolness and patience with students. Why students continue having a narrowed mind about knowledge in general? Why they consider course content as useless when they cannot find an immediate application of this content to their lives? Why shut down the unlimited ramifications of what they are learning to focus it only to the present they live in?

As you can see, I was annoyed by the question since I cannot comprehend how students invest so much in a college education to just come out the same way they got in: with a narrowed mind attitude. I thought the purpose of earning a college education is to come out a better person than when we got in. Anyway, here is my response to my student's discussion post:


Learning Algebra will help you in the following way:

(1) To earn a college degree since it is part of your degree plan. The college degree diploma will open many opportunities that you may have never expected. Once you earn your degree, employers will see this as a person who is persistent, hard worker, self-disciplined and capable of overcoming whatever challenges s/he may face. Isn't this what you experienced in this course?

(2) To make you think in a structured, logical and critical manner. This is what Algebra is all about! When difficult situations arise in your life, you will methodically think and reflect how to solve it instead of just making wild guesses or reactive decisions that most likely you will regret at a later time.

(3) To develop the habit of working smarter, not harder. I am certain there have been times in your life that you are responsible for completing a task that is tedious and repetitive, and you wonder if there is a better way to do it. The ability of analyzing if there is a pattern on what you do and find a better-efficient way of doing it is what Algebra is all about.

In my humble opinion, and with all due respect, it is time to stop seeing Algebra as a manipulation of variables, such as x + y = z, and start realizing that Algebra is about understanding how the world around you works, so you can take control and make it better. Isn't this why you are pursuing a college degree?