Math is Everywhere: Applications of Finite Math

Computer fonts, Angry Birds, March Madness, and Google - sound like fun? Indeed, math influences the world around us.
111 reviews
  • Tim Chartier Associate Professor of Mathematics - Davidson College

    Tim Chartier is an Associate Professor of Mathematics at Davidson College. He is a recipient of a national teaching award from the Mathematical Association of America. Published by Princeton University Press, Tim coauthored Numerical Methods: Design, Analysis, and Computer Implementation of Algorithms with Anne Greenbaum. As a researcher, Tim has worked with both Lawrence Livermore and Los Alamos National Laboratories on the development and analysis of computational methods targeted to increase efficiency and robustness of numerical simulation on the lab’s supercomputers, which are among the fastest in the world. Tim’s research with and beyond the labs was recognized with an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship.

    Tim serves on the Editorial Board for Math Horizons, a mathematics magazine of the Mathematical Association of America. He also on the Advisory Board of YourMusicOn (YMO), a mobile music startup company and the Advisory Council for the Museum of Mathematics, which will be the first museum of mathematics in the United States and opens in December 2012. Tim has been a resource for a variety of media inquiries which includes fielding mathematical questions for the Sports Science program on ESPN. He also writes for the Science blog of the Huffington Post.

    As an artist, Tim has trained at Le Centre du Silence mime school and Dell’Arte School of International Physical Theater. He also studied in master classes with Marcel Marceau. Tim has taught and performed mime throughout the United States and in national and international settings.

    In his time apart from academia, Tim enjoys the performing arts, mountain biking, nature walks and hikes, and spending time with his family.

    Learn more about Prof. Chartier's teaching, research and presentations with mime and math on his blog.

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Math is Everywhere: Applications of Finite Math

Computer fonts, Angry Birds, March Madness, and Google - sound like fun? Indeed, math influences the world around us.
111 reviews


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Computer fonts, Angry Birds, March Madness, and Google — sound like fun?  Indeed, finite math is engaging and influences the world around us.  

Equations of lines can allow computers to create fonts, store them quite compactly, and render them at essentially any desired resolution.  Plotting the graph of a polynomial can affect how you play Angry Birds as you strive to dislodge the pesky pigs.  Linear systems model the performance of sports teams and influence which college football teams play in the new year bowl games.  You can create your own linear equations to help you create a bracket for March Madness.  Finally, probability and simulation lies at the core of the mathematical algorithm that catapulted Google as a leader in search engines.  

You benefit from applications of finite math every day.  Through this course, you can better understand how you benefit from applications of finite math in your every day life.  Along the way, you will likely learn new mathematical ideas, too.

    • Over 20 lectures and 5.5 hours of content!
    • Understand how you can benefit from applications of math in your every day life.


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  • 1
    Course Introduction

    Welcome!  This video gives you a quick overview of what we will cover in the course.  I look forward to working with all of you and hearing your comments along the way as we explore applications of finite mathematics.  

  • SECTION 1:
    Walk the Line
  • 2
    Walk the Line - equations of lines

    In the lesson we discuss and learn: 

    • quantifying data from the world
    • the use of lines in science and entertainment
    • equations of lines from points or a point and its slope

  • 3
    Lecture Slides
    17 slides
  • SECTION 2:
    Getting Lettered
  • 4
    Getting Lettered - learning to create scalable fonts with lines

    In this lesson, we discuss and learn: 

    • how to create scalable fonts as used on computers
    • how to create our own fonts with lines
    • how fonts scale in their size 
    • why such fonts can be stored compactly
  • 5
    Lecture Slides
    24 slides
  • SECTION 3:
    Angry Birds
  • 6
    Angry Birds - Part I.

    In the lesson, we discuss and learn: 

    • what a quadratic polynomial is and how they appear in Angry Birds
    • how to find the vertex of a quadratic polynomial
    • how to find the roots of such a polynomial
    • and how these ideas connect to the game Angry Birds
  • 7
    Lecture Slides
    21 slides
  • 8
    Angry Birds - Part II.

    In the lesson, we discuss and learn: 

    • how to define a scale for distance in Angry Birds
    • what quadric polynomials an Angry Bird follows for 30, 45 and 60 degrees 
    • how to use this information to determine the position of a bird and 
    • how fast in miles per hour an Angry Bird travels.
  • 9
    Lecture Slides
    23 slides
  • SECTION 4:
    Entering the Matrix
  • 10
    Entering the Matrix - Linear Algebra

    In the lesson, we discuss and learn: 

    • the dimensions of matrices,
    • how to add matrices
    • how to multiply matrices by scalars
    • and how to connect these ideas to computer graphics.
  • 11
    Lecture Slides
    20 slides
  • SECTION 5:
    Muggle Magic
  • 12
    Muggle Magic with Matrix Arithmetic

    In the lesson, we discuss and learn: 

    • to have Harry Potter disappear in the halls of Hogwarts
    • have Harry move from one location to another 
    • flip Harry as if a spell were cast on him

    all using basic matrix operations.  

  • 13
    Lecture Slides
    28 slides
  • SECTION 6:
    Who's #1?
  • 14
    Who's #1? - Sports Ranking with Matrices

    In the lesson, we discuss and learn: 

    • how linear algebra is used to rank college football teams
    • how to create a linear system for such rankings
    • how to solve a linear system online with a browsser
  • 15
    Lecture Slides
    22 slides
  • SECTION 7:
    What are the Chances?
  • 16
    What are the Chances? - Stochastic Matrices

    In the lesson, we discuss and learn: 

    • how to perform matrix-matrix multiplication 
    • when matrix-matrix multiplication is and is not defined
    • how to enter probabilities into a matrix forming a stochastic matrix
    • how to answer probability questions with stochastic matrices
  • 17
    Lecture Slides
    27 slides
  • SECTION 8:
    Billion Dollar Math
  • 18
    Billion Dollar Math – Google's PageRank Algorithm

    In the lesson, we discuss and learn:

    • how to create a stochastic matrix from the link structure of the web
    • how Google developed uses such matrices for the search results it returns
    • how to rank web pages according to their quality by finding the PageRank
  • 19
    Lecture Slides
    30 slides
  • SECTION 9:
    Wrap Up
  • 20
    Concluding Thanks
    Through this series of lectures, we have seen that math is, indeed, everywhere.  From computer fonts to the graphics that fill the movie screen, math affects our daily life.  Millions of dollars can ride on mathematical results like which business web pages appear at the top of Google's search resul…


Hours of video content
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  • Filipe Jonathan Vieira Barros
    Really good

    A great introduction course of applied math.

  • LarryB
    Fun short course on Math and Practical Applications

    Not having much of a math background this was an interesting course on how we can apply different forms of math to everyday actions. Well worth the time.

  • Shalini Jain
    Maths is everywhere

    It gives new way of looking the world also shows that knowingly or unknowingly we use maths everywhere.

  • David Yau
    Need Correction

    many wrong spoken words, makes the tutorial misleading

  • Paponiu Mariana Dana

    This course was interesting and useful.

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