Times You've Used Actual Math Concepts

Hi guys,

I'm working on an article covering Applied Math Problems.

Can you please let me know how you've used Math in your career?

I tried to break this down by different individual math skills. So for example Simultaneous Linear Equations is in Algebra and I have a few examples where I've used that.

I have an ME and AE so hopefully you guys will have uses from other fields such as EE and CS etc. Especially simpler ones in everyday use. Something random like I don't know, it takes me an hour to rake the lawn alone, once I had 2 friends help and it took 30 minutes. Just calculating basic things but hopefully a little more interesting and useful than that.

Thanks for any help! I wasn't great at Math at first mostly because I didn't see the point. It wasn't until I saw the uses that I became interested.

Founder of Kinvert


  • Well, DiverBob’s hexaped uses all sorts of geometry, I’ve caught reference of Pythagorean Theorem, SOH-CAH-TOA, and Kinematics. The third of which I have not yet learned.
    That's not an explosion! That's an unscheduled rapid disassembly!

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  • Yeah they made them with ActivityBoards.

    I know the guy says Arduino but yeah it's Parallax with a 3D Printed chassis. Kids wrote it in C for the bots and Spin for the central controller.
    Founder of Kinvert
  • @Keith,
    I’ve used simultaneous equations and polar-cartesian early on in electronics.

    I’ve use pythagorus theorem and circle circumference and area, plus area and volume many times when designing things at home such as driveways, roof pitch, paint required etc. Used general maths to work out number of bricks required, lawn area, etc. This would have to be by far the most used maths in 50 years since leaving school.

    I’ve used pythagorus lots to work out pcb layouts such as how close a hole/via/pad can be from another.

    Never had the need to use matrices in programming. Not done any fourier transforms which is used in signal processing.

    I regularly use maths (well more than once a week) to add/subtract/multiply/divide calculations. As I grew up without calculators, I regularly do these things in my head, or sometimes on paper. I just dont reach for the calculator/phone/computer to do these often as its not worth the trouble. I can also estimate an answer which the modern youth cannot do due to reliance on calculators - they seem to lack an understanding when an answer is obviously wrong.
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  • tomcrawfordtomcrawford Posts: 1,050
    edited 2019-05-11 - 15:05:58
    I used arithmetic just yesterday to convert from miner's inch to gallons/minute flow.

    I used trig (sine and cosine) not too long ago to simulate an analog clock in Blockly.
    Re-inventing the wheel is not a waste of time if, when you are done, you understand why it is round.
  • Trig and analytic geometry are mainstays in GPS tracking and CAD work, as well as cubic splines for the latter. Solving simultaneous equations is often another requirement, especially when working with resistor networks; but there are a multitude of online services that can do that for you. Probability, statistics, and combinatorics come in handy at times, too. I don't use calculus much -- and certainly never differential equations.

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  • ceptimusceptimus Posts: 106
    edited 2019-05-11 - 21:22:06
    Matrices are the easiest way to do 3D graphics transforms (sometimes even 2D ones). Of course it all ends up as trigonometry in the end but the matrix representation makes it easier to combine several operations (rotate, scale, shift, etc.) into one matrix - which then reduces the number of sine / cosine look-ups and multiplies.

    The same sorts of calculations are useful when you're not doing graphics but something conceptually similar - maybe tracking the orientation in 3D space of a drone or submarine by integrating the roll / pitch / yaw readings from a gyro and/or accelerometer sensor. Sooner or later you have to switch from mere 3-axis stuff to using quaternions or you run into problems with 'gimbal lock' when you get too near to a rotation axis - but again that is just extra matrix operations.
  • The one I like is the processor is running at 80Mhz and you want a timing loop to run at 100ms.

  • L U Cholesky decomposition... for polynominial fitting
  • Mostly simple stuff, area and unit conversions for area dose product checks, volume for round form to figure the amount of concrete for a pool lift chair etc... sometimes other maths to follow along with someone else's presentation, but that may not really count as using it for real.
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  • ercoerco Posts: 19,441
    While working in Hot Wheels, I built many large track sets for trade shows. For instance, a mechanism would carry a car up to a certain height and release it to roll down the track, then do a loop and a jump. I wrote out the math on charts to convert potential energy (height) into kinetic energy (speed) at various places. Also calculate the minimum height H to drop to stay in a loop diameter D, then how far the car would jump based on speed, angles trajectory. People LOVED all that and lapped it up, young and old.

    Also lots of gear/diameter/wheel size calculations used motor speed/torque charts (attached) to optimize speed/efficiency.
    1000 x 772 - 113K
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