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While experimenting with some fairly math-intensive computer graphics (signed distance fields and procedural texture generation) I realized that I needed a refresher on algebra, calculus and trig. I’m well covered in linear and geometric algebra, but I’d like something that I can use as a reference to help with symbolic maths: derivative, integrals, series, polynomial and trigonometry approximations of arbitrary functions, function inverses, etc. I studied software engineering, which is less math and physics-intensive than other engineering fields, so I’m more interested in the results and applications than in the formal proofs.

What are the best books that you’ve came across that would fit these requirements?

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    I’m really liking A Programmer’s Introduction to Mathematics. Can’t recommend it enough. It covers a lot of bases though, and assumes a basic knowledge of algebra.

    Also, it’s old and it’s cheesy, but I really enjoyed Calculus the Easy Way back in high school, and I dug up my old copy again the other day to look it over.

    For a fun look at algebra, try Algebra: An Algorithmic Treatment, which teaches algebra using APL. It’s interesting and gets you thinking, but it may not be practical.

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      I flipped through the pages of “PIM” last week on Amazon but there’s (relatively) too much focus on linear algebra, for me at least, as I already have really good material on the topic. I’d ideally like the book to mention Taylor series for instance, which doesn’t seem to be the case in “Calculus: The Easy Way”. I’m probably going to get “A Programmer’s Introduction to Mathematics”, as I feel it will help strengthen some bases. Thanks!

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      For a visual explanation of Calculus, Linear Algebra, and Neural Networks, I have been blown away by this YouTube channel:


      3Blue1Brown, by Grant Sanderson.

      Seems like you would benefit from “The Essence of Calculus” from his channel. Also, you might want to take a look at the book “Calculus Made Easy”, which is my favorite refresher book on Calculus, resonates more with software and physics minded folks. I am also going through the course “Coding the Matrix”, which you can find on YouTube/Torrent, which is a Brown University course covering Linear Algebra from a perspective that resonates with programmers. There is a companion textbook available.

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        For linear algebra, I’d really recommend “Linear & Geometric Algebra” by Alan McDonald – it’s compact and to the point, and covers both linear and geometric algebra.

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        I like my buddy’s books:


        You can read a few sample chapters to see if you like it.

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          Paul’s online calculus notes.

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            I work at Khan Academy (an education non-profit) and math is one of our strongest subjects. People tend to like our stuff because of simple, clear explanations given in just a few minutes per topic. If you look at the vectors and spaces page, for example, you see a bunch of very specific topics so you can jump in and move on within minutes.

            Different people learn better from different sorts of material, so find the style that works best for you!

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              So here’s one that I found that seems to match my requirements: A Concise Approach to Mathematical Analysis – it covers derivatives, integrals, taylor and fourier series and other things.