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Mathematics in Software Engineering
  : October 08, 2023

What does mathematics have to do with software engineering?

Well. So much. Actually.

It is Software "Engineering" after all. So, mathematics serves as the foundation of computer science like all the legitimate branches of science. Algorithms, data structures and so many other essential concepts of computer science are built upon the foundation of mathematics.

A good majority of software engineers use mathematics to model the problems that exist in the real world, design good efficient solutions and analyse the performance of their systems.

Here are some specific use cases to name a few.

Algorithm design

A step-by-step procedure for solving problems. By use of mathematics, the solutions can be made more efficient, reliable as well and on point.

Data structures

Ways of organising data so that they can be accessed and manipulated (hopefully, with no ill-intend) efficiently. Mathematics' application here helps the engineers to choose the most suitable data structure for their problem.

Performance analysis

Mathematics can also be used for analysing the system's performance as well as identifying areas for improvement. This will ensure the software is fast, responsive and scalable - all trademarks of a good software product.

Mathematics, in addition to the prior mentioned applications, helps engineers provide a general way of thinking to solve problems. Now, you might ask, what is the benefit of everyone involved thinking the same way? Of course, they are all not thinking alike, but they might share some specific methods among themselves to solve certain problems. Every engineer that I had the privilege to work with, always had a specific way of thinking and working, which was always enhanced by their knowledge of mathematics. These skills are also essential for developing critical thinking and problem-solving skills, which will help an engineer achieve great success.

To list a few, here are some of the benefits of having a strong foundation in mathematics for a software engineer.

Better problem-solving skills

A problem, in the beginning, might appear as a huge and complex monolith. But with practice and experience, we can break down the one big problem into smaller chunks that could be tackled, individually and efficiently, which we can put back together to have the complete solution. Mathematics, undoubtedly helps you do that and engineers face a variety of problems on a day-to-day basis.

More efficient code

If an engineer has a deeper understanding of the principles behind the algorithms and data structures, it will help them write code in a more efficient manner because they have a better understanding of why we use this particular algorithm or data structure.

It is important to have strong foundations in mathematics because it will help a software engineer to be successful in their field. (Or you could learn mathematics for the sheer fun of it).

Disclaimer : The views and opinions expressed in the article belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the author's employer, organisation, committee or other group or individual.


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