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.
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  • Lectures 20
  • Length 9 hours
  • Skill Level All Levels
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
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    Available on iOS and Android
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About This Course

Published 6/2012 English

Course Description

A Faculty Project Course - Best Professors Teaching the World

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.

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Understand how you can benefit from applications of math in your every day life.

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.



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

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

Lecture Slides
17 pages
Section 2: Getting Lettered

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
Lecture Slides
24 pages
Section 3: Angry Birds

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
Lecture Slides
21 pages

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.
Lecture Slides
23 pages
Section 4: Entering the Matrix

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.
Lecture Slides
20 pages
Section 5: Muggle Magic

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.  

Lecture Slides
28 pages
Section 6: Who's #1?

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
Lecture Slides
22 pages
Section 7: What are the Chances?

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
Lecture Slides
27 pages
Section 8: Billion Dollar Math

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
Lecture Slides
30 pages
Section 9: Wrap Up
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…

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Instructor Biography

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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