MS221: Illidan was wrong

Illidan defeated, I was prepared :)
Illidan defeated, I was prepared ūüôā

So the results are starting to come out for the OU exams taken in June. ¬†Those who were on their last module have got their final degree classification and for the rest of us we’re getting our individual module scores. ¬†Despite not being due for another 8 days, the results for MS221 came out today.

If you’ve been following my blog you’ll know that I really hadn’t focused on studying for this module as much as I should and, with a new role taking up my time in the evenings and weekends I just hadn’t revised as much as I should have done. ¬†I even took my text books to the ReWork DL conference in Boston but only opened them briefly on the plane on the return flight. So how did I do?

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MS221 – was Illidan right?

So, a few days ago I tweeted that I had this snippet from World of Warcraft going round my head where Illidan taunted that we weren’t prepared for what awaited us. ¬†It was how I felt going into MS2211 and now that I’ve done the exam I wanted to reflect on why I’d ended up feeling unprepared for a¬†test¬†in a subject I am very enthusiastic about for a degree I’m doing for no direct gain other than for the fun of learning.

I started this degree back in 2013 because I was intellectually unstimulated in my job. ¬†I was¬†busy, spinning many plates and wasn’t bored, but there just wasn’t anything to do that really set my neurons firing. ¬†I’d started the process of looking for another job for a whole host of reasons I won’t go into, but I could feel my brain getting “comfortable” at not having to think much beyond which of my team needed to do which task in what order in response to changing priorities. ¬†So I signed up to do the maths degree I’d always wished I’d done. Continue reading MS221 – was Illidan right?

Preparation for MS221

So – I’m approaching the end of my third OU module, MS2211, and the exam is in a few days. ¬†I missed all the local revision tutorials through being away with work2 and, despite some good intentions, I am woefully behind. ¬†Consider this a crammer’s guide for learning university level mathematics in 3 and a half days ūüėČ3.

MS221 consists of four blocks: block A covering sequences, conics and geometry; block B covering iteration and matrices; block C covering more complex4 integration and differentiation and Taylor Polynomials; and block D covering complex numbers, number theory, groups and logic and reasoning5. ¬†The exam allows an annotated handbook and so it is fairly easy to prepare given a few days of dedicated effort, which (if you’re reading this in time, may help6. Continue reading Preparation for MS221

Proof by Induction

In my last post I talked a little about logic as it applies to generic statements. ¬†Now it’s time to think about more mathematics proofs and different techniques. ¬†As part of MS221 there are two proof types that we need to consider: proof by exhaustion and proof by induction. ¬†This all lays the foundations for building more and more complex mathematical statements so it’s important to get the basics right.

Dominoes
Wikipedia: Domino effect

Firstly, proof by exhaustion. ¬†This simply means that we try every possible valid input and check that the result is true. ¬†A single false result would disprove our proposition. ¬†So let’s consider an example:¬† Continue reading Proof by Induction

Public-Private Keys

This morning I had a tutorial for module MS221 of my OU Maths degree. ¬†In addition to complex numbers, groups, and proofs one of the topics we covered was RSA encryption and decryption. ¬†As I’m a little behind in my study¬†I’m going to use this post to explain how this type of encryption works (even though this is already covered elsewhere e.g. in wikipedia). ¬† You’re going to need a little maths to follow this, but hopefully not too much!

Firstly, a quick recap. ¬†Public-private key encryption means that you have a pair of keys – the public one you can give out without a care and anyone can use this to encrypt messages to you. ¬†Without the private key to decrypt, it’s practically impossible to¬†decipher the encrypted messages, so as long as you actually keep your private key private, everything is (relatively) safe. ¬†As an aside, if your private key is obtained by someone else then they will be able to read your messages and you would never know.

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