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Department of

Mathematics and Computer Science

Programs

Mathematics

The program in Mathematics has a threefold objective: to provide courses giving technical mathematical preparation to students in any field of academic endeavor; to provide liberal arts courses which will demonstrate our mathematical heritage from past ages, and point out the impact of mathematical thought and philosophy on our culture in this technological civilization; and to provide courses of advanced mathematical knowledge which will prepare students for graduate work or professional employment in mathematics or related areas.

Computer Science

Computer science is the system of principles and theory which deals with what computers do. It studies the nature of computation. For any given problem, it asks whether the answer can be computed, and, if so, what are the most efficient and practical ways to do the computation. (Often the methods that are best for machines are quite different from those that are practical for human beings.)

Computers are machines that manipulate abstract symbols according to specified rules. Therefore, computer science relies heavily on abstract reasoning and mathematics. The mathematics involved is usually quite different, however, from traditional mathematics. Much of it has been developed recently in response to the development of computers.

As an academic discipline within the liberal arts tradition, Computer Science has ties with many other disciplines. The natural sciences provide the physical principles upon which computers are built. Computer science serves the sciences, engineering, and business in providing the means to perform complex calculations and to analyze large amounts of data. Psychology and philosophy share with computer science the desire to understand the nature of reason, language, and intelligence.

The most important skills needed by a prospective computer scientist are an excellent command of one's native language and the ability to think in a mathematical way.