At root, every computer can be thought of as a gigantic array of switches, packed into a tiny little space. Whether you're streaming Netflix, writing up a report, or aiming a giant space laser to communicate with aliens, at root all that's really happening is that a lot of switches are being flipped to one or zero, really fast.

This is just one example of how you use discrete mathematics, whether you realize it or not, every day. It deals with "real" numbers, like getting a package from a fulfillment center to your house, but it's so powerful it can literally bring history to life. And this course in discrete mathematics, available for just $16, will get you started on it, whether you want to understand the world around you better, or just get ahead in your career.

Why Study Discrete Mathematics?

Much of the math we do is discrete. Even the jokes we make have fundamentals in discrete mathematics; if you've ever seen a funny Venn diagram, then you've laughed at a joke based on the concept of countable sets. That's where this course starts; it lays out what a set is, why they're important, and De Morgan's Law, which explores how sets overlap and how to make sense of why that's important.

From there, this course explores in detail the mathematics of everyday life:

  • Statistics: If you've ever had to crunch a huge pile of numbers into something that makes sense for work, or just stared at a poll wondering what all of it means, this class will show you how to make use of statistics. Means, medians, modes, variance, outliers, and more are all laid out so you can determine just what the news is telling you.
  • Logic: Applying the rules of formal logic to math has led to any number of breakthroughs, including the basics of computer science. If you're looking to launch a CS career, or if you're wondering how they work, this is a perfect place to start. Classes will touch on digital logic circuits, "black boxes" and other topics that will give you a background in how computers are engineered and built.
  • Relations: If you've ever used a GPS, you've used relations, specifically binary relations. These are pairs of numbers that belong to the same set; without one, the other is useless. These classes lay out why this matters and how this seemingly simple concept gets fascinatingly complex.

Learning Higher Math

In addition to the more practical side of discrete mathematics, you'll also learn the theory behind them and how it drives modern math.

Number theory, for example, is what we used to call "arithmetic," the study of integers and integer-related functions. If you want to understand how computers function, number theory is where you start.

Graph theory, on the other hand, discusses how to turn data into visual information. If you've ever wondered how to turn a giant set of data into something you can understand at a glance, you'll need graph theory as much as you'll need a handle on Adobe and the principles of visual design.

And if you really want to get into abstract mathematics, there's a full course on proofs, how they work, and how to apply them, perfect for academics and college students looking to better understand the intellectual side of math and pursue it as a career.

As you can see, discrete math is all around us, in our careers and in our lives. If you'd like to know the numbers behind anything, now you can, and for just $16.

Futurism fans: To create this content, a non-editorial team worked with an affiliate partner. We may collect a small commission on items purchased through this page. This post does not necessarily reflect the views or the endorsement of the editorial staff.

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