The MIRI course list bashes on "higher and higher forms of calculus" as not being useful for their purposes and calculus is not on the list at all. However, I know that at least some kind of calculus is needed for things like probability theory.

So imagine a person wanted to work their way through the whole MIRI course list and deeply understand each topic. How much calculus is needed for that?

Not much. The kind of probability relevant to MIRI's interests is not the kind of probability you need calculus to understand (the random variables are usually discrete, etc.). The closest thing to needing a calculus background is maybe numerical analysis (I suspect it would be helpful to at least have the intuition that derivatives measure the sensitivity of a function to changes in its input), but even then I think that's more algorithms. Not an expert on numerical analysis by any means, though.

If you have a general interest in mathematics, I still reco... (read more)

Open thread, January 25- February 1

by NancyLebovitz 1 min read25th Jan 2014318 comments


If it's worth saying, but not worth its own post (even in Discussion), then it goes here.