# Mathematical ability/knowledge and Max

I’ve been thinking about this for a while and would be interested in hearing others’ opinions on the subject. How important do people think mathematical ability is for working in Max? Beyond add/subtract/multiply/divide, my math skills pretty much don’t exist, so I avoid objects like expr and % entirely because I don’t understand what they do, and I’m starting to think it’s stopping me making better/more efficient patches.

What does everyone else think? Is it important to understand objects like expr etc?

> so I avoid objects like expr and % entirely because I don’t understand what they do, and I’m starting to think it’s stopping me making better/more efficient patches.

Yes it does.

My math isn’t great either, even though I took math in high-school, but I’ve found digging into math issues in Max development context a great way to refresh or expand my skills. Especially in my late high school years I lost attention for it but I’ve now been encountering lots of the stuff I skipped on back then and find them easy to pick up just because now they’re linked to practical issues, which I was totally missing in theory classes. The internet is full of resources to dig into. I usually need that math in openGL context.

you dont NNED it, but maybe some day you suddenly fee it could be cool.

have you, for example, looked at the helpfile for % ?

it is pretty easy to understand what it does, and one does not need to know the way it is tought in

school or university.

i find it far more difficult to use +,-,+,/ to calculate the modulo or the div than using the % object!

expressions also also very useful. try start using it for +-*/ at first. it makes patches smaller

and eventually more CPU friendly.

can you say [expr $f1+$f2-$f3] ?

-110

you can get very far if just know how proportional things are calculated. you can break every complex algorithm down into simple calculations. i would say.O.

Hi

I am very much in the same position and have found that, over the last 5 or 6 years of Maxing, that my maths knowledge has increased, just by using objects such as [expr], [curve~], [sin~] etc. Patching logic is a great teacher too, as is this forum. So, maths skills are not the sine qua non of patching – they certainly help though, and I do envy those patchers/contributors with a clearer grasp of geometry and algebra.

Like a visitor to a foreign country, you can learn the language first, or (as I do) struggle initially and then learn more the longer you stay!

Brendan

See also: http://www.cycling74.com/forums/topic.php?id=34262

And as always, see Peter Elsea’s invaluable Max Tutorials, where you’ll find a cheerful little piece called "Befriending Math" – the last page is particularly useful.

http://cnmat.berkeley.edu/links/goto/1319/90/links_weblink

I keep going back to my school books trying to pick up where I left off 30-something years ago, in the hope that I’ll one day be able to get more out of books like Dave Benson’s ‘Music – A Mathematical Offering’ http://homepages.abdn.ac.uk/mth192/pages/html/maths-music.html

Pay more attention at school, kids – one day your brain will be mush and it will interfere with your Maxing…

Cheers

Roger

I’ve found http://www.khanacademy.org/ math programs invaluable while learning programming. Excellent video tutorials with great instructors. Go the extra mile and work through the problems on your own with a pen & pad to get the most out of each video.

@Roman – I have looked at the help file, but I still don’t really understand it. I find that a lot of objects in Max 6 (math objects mostly) assume knowledge of equations, functions etc. I appreciate they can’t spell it all out (because where would it end, right?) but that’s partly why I avoid those objects.

Looks like a read of that Befriending Math paper is a good idea. The math anxiety scenario seems applicable to my past experience!

% is 3rd grade arithmetic. "If Johnny has 7 cookies and wants to share them equally with Billy and Jimmy, how many does each get? Answer: Two each, with one left over."

With integers:

7 / 3 => 2

7 % 3 => 1 ("one left over after dividing by three")

I have never understood what people find hard about that, but apparently a lot of people do. And it’s dead useful.