Neu Leonstein

27-03-2009, 00:31

I'm doing a lot of math at the moment, including stuff I've never actually done before: not solving equations, but much more pure math type proofs and the like. Set theory for the most part as related to preference relations, budget sets and the construction of utility functions.

At the same time I'm also doing intertemporal optimisation stuff using Hamiltonians to express the behaviour of agents in macroeconomic models mathematically and solve the models.

Oh, and Stats of course. GARCH (General Autoregressive Conditional Heteroskedasticity) models this week.

Weirdly, despite my belief for most of my studies that I merely tolerated math and could never enjoy it, the proofs in particular are actually kinda fun, when you finally work them out.

I'm doing this thread because

a) There'd been a bit of a discussion about the kinds of math used by different discipline, and whether any of them were "harder" than others. Specifically, there'd been people who said that physics- and engineering math is heaps harder than econ math. So, I'm making a poll and asking: what sort of math do you do, why do you do it, and how difficult would you say it is? I'd like to find out what the level actually is for real-world physics or engineering students or practitioners.

b) In another thread there are a few people bickering about whether the ability to do math is a skill one can learn, or just some random talent that comes with your DNA. My mother is absolutely convinced it is the latter, and that she can't do math, so she doesn't even try. So what do you say? How much math can anyone do, if they practise? How important is just being able to "think that way" by nature when it comes to learning this stuff?

EDIT: I just noticed that I didn't put in a "Finance" category. If you happen to be doing financial math, just put it under Economics. Merton, Scholes, Black...they're all economists anyways. Similarly, any other categories I've missed, just pick one that is closest to it.

At the same time I'm also doing intertemporal optimisation stuff using Hamiltonians to express the behaviour of agents in macroeconomic models mathematically and solve the models.

Oh, and Stats of course. GARCH (General Autoregressive Conditional Heteroskedasticity) models this week.

Weirdly, despite my belief for most of my studies that I merely tolerated math and could never enjoy it, the proofs in particular are actually kinda fun, when you finally work them out.

I'm doing this thread because

a) There'd been a bit of a discussion about the kinds of math used by different discipline, and whether any of them were "harder" than others. Specifically, there'd been people who said that physics- and engineering math is heaps harder than econ math. So, I'm making a poll and asking: what sort of math do you do, why do you do it, and how difficult would you say it is? I'd like to find out what the level actually is for real-world physics or engineering students or practitioners.

b) In another thread there are a few people bickering about whether the ability to do math is a skill one can learn, or just some random talent that comes with your DNA. My mother is absolutely convinced it is the latter, and that she can't do math, so she doesn't even try. So what do you say? How much math can anyone do, if they practise? How important is just being able to "think that way" by nature when it comes to learning this stuff?

EDIT: I just noticed that I didn't put in a "Finance" category. If you happen to be doing financial math, just put it under Economics. Merton, Scholes, Black...they're all economists anyways. Similarly, any other categories I've missed, just pick one that is closest to it.