Mathematics was a nightmare for me when I was in secondary and high school. I have chosen programming as my hobby and career pathway and it changes my feeling and attitude towards Mathematics.

Although many of my College friends would describe me as their “Math Buddy”, Mathematics was never be my strength back then when I was in secondary school and high school. There was a joke that “while your Maths class rank shows how good you are at Math, my rank shows how many students are in my class”. I love solving puzzles, logistic games, I started with Maths in bright-eyed, but to no avail. I was not into the monotonous 2 steps: memorise an equation then apply it.

As soon as I had opportunities to interact with the programming language, I realized the Maths calculation skills could be easily replaced by the machine’s power. The program could run 10^8 equations in 1s which surely outperforms my brain. I began to like programming and starting my coding journey.

While my friends did their homework by calculation a list of equations by hand or using the calculator, I wrote the programming so I could just pass the list of input and it would return the list of output which I could just fill into the homework. I used to think the Mathematics and computer programming are two different aspects and there is no related between them as I was bad at Maths and still be able to code. Grown-up a little bit, I was aware of Math is the backbone of the logics and how the mathematical solutions could improve the efficiency and simplicity of my programming.

I want to improve my coding logics so I made the rash decision to start looking into Mathematics fields. I have realized the magic would happen when you start to ask “Why” instead of accepting the 2 steps of Memorizing- Applying. Till the point when you had asked “Why”, Maths turns into an interesting puzzle that I am eager to find the lost pieces. To me, the beauty of Maths lies on getting the Math’s sense of certainty and the pleasure of truly understanding about the result, the equation that I had been bored a while ago.

I am now pursuing my research career in optimisation fields. From the one who knows nothing about Mathematics, I am here – attending the AMSI Research Vacation with the project in Applied Mathematics to introduce about the exact approach to solve the multi-components optimisation problem: Travelling Thief Problem. AMSI Connect gives me more insights about Mathematics and its application and I am looking forward to exploring more about Mathematics and contributing in the Applied Maths field.

Duong Thuy Dung Le
Deakin University