Most of the technological advances that we use every day (3D graphics, MP3 audio compression, GPS navigation) would have been unthinkable without mathematics and informatics. The applied combination of the two disciplines will be the cornerstone of new technological changes in today's society. On the other hand, there is a growing demand for professionals with knowledge of mathematics and informatics in the business world and industry.
Would you like to be party to the development of new simulation systems applied to the environment? Would you like to generate more realistic graphical tools? Would you like to break new ground developing compression algorithms to support Web searches? Would you like to be party to the biotechnology revolution? Study mathematics and informatics
If you like mathematics and informatics and your are interested in their application to new technologies, study for a degree in mathematics and informatics. No previous knowledge of computers is necessary.
For many users all over the world, the most commonly used search engines, Google, for example, are the gateway to the Web. Google's page ranking system is based on linear algebra and statistics. Research with a strong mathematical groundwork is being conducted into techniques for broadening search engine search options, applying artificial intelligence techniques to identify photos that were taken of a particular place or identify a particular voice in an audio recording, for example. Other mathematical techniques, like fractal networks, are used to describe and study Internet traffic for possible improvement. Mathematics and informatics have provided revolutionary solutions for searching vast quantities of data and designing complex hi-tech networks for high-speed data processing.
Animated films, special effects and 3D graphics in video games are based on mathematics (vectors, matrices, polygonal approximations...) and would be impossible without computers. Listening to music on a CD or iPod or watching films on a DVD is possible thanks to informatics techniques that use the mathematics of signal processing, binary arithmetic, differential equations, linear algebra, trigonometry or calculus. On the other hand, the storage and transportation of such information would be impossible without image processing and data compression techniques that use linear algebra, probability, graph theory, abstract algebra and more recently wavelets to compress audio and video.
Research into air and water flows dates back over a hundred years, but not until recently has the phenomenon of turbulence, vital for aerodynamics, begun to be understood. Mathematics and computers are able to simulate these phenomena without having to use wind tunnels. Fractal geometry in conjunction with computers is able to simulate irregular natural structures or output real textures for virtual reality. Fractals are also a component of chaos study. The best known example of chaos theory is the butterfly effect, which refers to the fact that the flapping of a butterfly's wings can affect global weather weeks later. The simulation of galaxies, where many objects have chaotic paths, requires the design of new algorithms that will give us a glimpse of the underlying structure of the universe.
The equations that describe ocean currents and temperatures, which affect the world's climate, are impossible to solve even using today's computers. Even so, it is possible to make short-term forecasts, for example, to predict the appearance of "El Niño". Weather forecasting, which relies on numerical calculus techniques, has improved over the last 20 years thanks to the increased computational power of computers and the advance in mathematics-based applications.
The mathematics of cryptography is vital for trade today. Although based on classical algebraic methods, the encryption techniques used today were developed over the last 25 years. Mathematics are also behind error correction codes, enabling error-free operations or assuring correct bar code or identification number (ID card, ISBN,..) reading. Fingerprint identification involves building databases that are only manageable thanks to the use of computer programs that apply wavelet-based data compression mathematics techniques. Iris recognition is based on pattern recognition, wavelets and statistics.
Experimenting with the human heart is out of the question, but, thanks to mathematics and informatics, it has been possible to precisely model this organ leading to a better understanding of how it works. This has improved, for example, the design of artificial valves.To understand how the different parts of the brain work, it has to be mapped in 2D. This is especially complicated in the case of the brain due to the numerous folds and fissures in its surface. Different geometrical and topological techniques are useful for these mapping purposes. Geometry, differential equations and linear integer programming are three fields of mathematics used to process real-time data to locate tumours with the aim of doing maximum damage to the tumour and minimum damage to healthy tissue. Using computer-programmed mathematical models, it is possible to experiment on how to use viruses to destroy cancerous cells, eliminating failed approaches and selecting candidates to run other experiments.
Even if you are convinced that mathematics and informatics are your thing, you might ask