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Foundation mathematics for computer science : a visual approach
Vince J., Springer International Publishing, New York, NY, 2015. 334 pp. Type: Book (978-3-319214-36-8)
Date Reviewed: Nov 11 2015

This book offers a fantastic exposition of mathematical concepts, including “number systems, algebra, logic, trigonometry, coordinate systems, determinants, vectors, matrices, geometric matrix transforms, [and] differential and integral calculus.” A fascinating visual method is used to teach mathematics. I was always fascinated by mathematics and how to explain the concepts to novices. Some of the concepts described are basic, but the book is aimed at the beginning undergraduate level and intended for grounding mathematical concepts. Teaching mathematics in a fun way really makes a difference. Usually, people turn away from mathematics due to a teacher or a book. This makes all the difference.

The book starts off with number theory and ends with example problems. The chapters are independent and can be read without losing track of the continuity. Different chapters relate to different computer science domains. “Geometric Matrix Transforms” is a fascinating chapter for graphic design aspirants. The chapter on logic will be very helpful to chip designers. Calculus and integration are explained in a very simple way. I would even recommend this book to non-computing majors. This is like a summary of several big books distilled in a simple fashion. Another unique aspect of the book is that it presents the inventors of many of the mathematical areas and gives credits. This is the first time I have seen credit for the number zero given to the person who first conceptualized it:

The concept of zero has a well-documented history, which shows that it has been used by different cultures over a period of 2000 years or more. It was the Indian mathematician and astronomer Brahmagupta (598-c.–670) who argued that zero was just as valid as any natural number, with the definition: the result of subtracting any number from itself.

Overall, it is an amazing achievement that so many concepts are explained in one well-written book. This will give a great start as well as a solid foundation to anyone aspiring to a career in computer science, whether it be programming, big data, visualization, or another area. I highly recommend it to final-year high school students or first-year undergraduate students.

Reviewer:  Naga Narayanaswamy Review #: CR143932 (1601-0043)
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