I am going to study computer science next year. I am afraid I can't handle the mathematics in the university because I only know some basic mathematics, such as set theory, simple probability, simple matrix operation and I don't know calculus.

Which books you will recommended maths book for study in computer science? I have found two books by Gilbert Strang, Introduction to Linear Algebra, and Calculus. Are they worth to buy ?

  • $\begingroup$ Are you going to take a calculus class? $\endgroup$ – Thomas Jul 21 '13 at 17:46
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    $\begingroup$ Set theory is not basic mathematics !! :) $\endgroup$ – Amr Jul 21 '13 at 17:46
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    $\begingroup$ You don't really need to know calculus to do computer science. Discrete mathematics, perhaps, but not calculus. $\endgroup$ – Thomas Andrews Jul 21 '13 at 17:55
  • $\begingroup$ There's many books entitled "mathematics for computer science"; they contain essentially discrete mathematics & elementary algebra & their applications. $\endgroup$ – Paracosmiste Jul 21 '13 at 18:30
  • $\begingroup$ Discrete Mathematics and Its Applications by Kenneth H. Rosen is 20 dollars brand new, plus you can find a free PDF of it floating around the web... $\endgroup$ – A.E Jul 22 '13 at 19:15

I'd suggest getting a good handle on Discrete Mathematics, first and foremost, though I'd never discourage anyone from studying calculus and linear algebra, if they desire to do so. Of more immediate use, however, would be studying Discrete Mathematics. Unfortunately, most textbooks in discrete mathematics are somewhat expensive.

One great choice, for a "beginner" (in that it presumes very little in the way of a mathematics background), is Susanna S. Epp's Discrete Mathematics with Applications. This text, however, is very expensive.

Another text which is excellent is Edward R. Scheinerman’s Mathematics: A Discrete Introduction, though it is geared more for math majors than for computer science majors. I think it's less expensive than Epp's text, so I'd suggest taking a look at it, as well.

If cost is an issue, there are some well known notes that are freely accessible and free. For example, see

See also this earlier post, where the question posted sought recommendations for a great text in discrete mathematics. The "leading" answer there recommends Concrete Mathematics by Knuth and company, which is a phenomenal text, but some students may find it difficult to tackle without a more solid foundation in mathematics, including at least some Calculus. But do please do take a look at the text. If you hope to be a computer scientist, Concrete Mathematics will be, either now or later, a "must read" text book. (It is also considerably less expensive than many introductory Discrete Mathematics textbooks!)

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    $\begingroup$ I don't agree. I'd read Concrete Mathematics in high school, it was very friendly and the only part I would skip was about hypergeometric functions (it was tedious). True, explanations are concise, but there are many helpful examples and almost everything is done from the very basics. I would definitely recommend this book! (+1 for the other books.) $\endgroup$ – dtldarek Jul 21 '13 at 18:53
  • $\begingroup$ @dtldarek I wasn't sure on that one. It's one of my "faves"! I rewrote my post to describe it more accurately. $\endgroup$ – Namaste Jul 21 '13 at 19:00
  • $\begingroup$ Dear Amy, your third link (to Lovász & Vesztergombi) is broken. And great answer anyway! $\endgroup$ – Prism Jul 21 '13 at 20:30
  • $\begingroup$ @amWhy: Good points +1 $\endgroup$ – mrs Jul 26 '13 at 7:50

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