## Description:

Published: March 21, 2018
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By: Chuwei Yi, University of California San Diego

Category:
Mathematics

Hashtags:
#PersonalNarrative #speak #Video

Audience: UCSD Mathematics Graduate Program - M.A. in Applied Mathematics

Prompt/ Question: Please give a statement of purpose for you to choose Applied Math as your graduate program

I do the two videos to in order to show that I am qualifies for UCSD Mathematics Graduate Program. Going from video 1 to video 2, I eliminate a lot of unnecessary words, speak more fluently, and try to look more confident. Following are the written personal narrative:

Math is meaningless until it is applied

Ever since I was in middle school, I was told the wrong story - Chinese students have much stronger mathematical abilities than students from America or European countries.

If I search the keyword “China America Math” on Baidu - the most popular searching engine in China, a video that has been watched a million times will pop up. Named “Chinese middle school students challenge to solve SAT math problems. Surprising result!”, this video can’t wait to show the amazing mathematical talent of Chinese students. Not surprisingly, the creator of the video went to a Chinese middle school, gave the selected SAT math questions to a class of students, and got a bunch of full-score papers. Around seven years ago, similar videos and news were so widely in China that I, as a middle school student, developed an feeling of superiority in my favorite subject math over students from other nations. Grown up with such strong confidence on my mathematical proficiency, I chose Mathematics- Computer Science as my undergraduate major while applying for UCSD.

It didn’t take me long after I start studying in US to realize that I was wrong. Even though I memorize a large amount of mathematical theorems and problem-solving strategies which helps me to earn high scores on test, I find it hard to incorporate them in my programing projects. In comparison, American college students are not only good at solving math problems, but also good at applying mathematical models in other subjects. In fact, the different educational systems between China and US determines such a gap between me and local students. On the one hand, Chinese schools focus on teaching students as many mathematical theories as possible. On the other hand, American students are encouraged to choose a specific branch of math that is related mostly to their fields of study and apply it to practice in the fields. It’s true that Chinese students have a wider range of mathematical knowledge. However, under US educational system, math becomes more customized and applicable for students pursuing different goals in different areas.

In order to take math into application, I start to implement math models and arithmetic into my programs. In one of my projects, I program my own version of the game “2048” which applies different kinds of mathematical models. On the one hand, I use logical relationship “and”, “or” and “xor” to determine whether the program goes into an error condition as well as whether two small numbers will add up to a larger number. On the other hand, the approach I use to convert the each number in a block to actual score takes consideration of power relationship in math. Although it’s just a simple program, it still shows the function and importance of math as a powerful tool in computer softwares. As a Mathematics- Computer Science major student, I get plenty of opportunities during my undergraduate years to reveal the positive role of math through my programs. By continuing to learn new math knowledge in graduate school, I will make progress in writing high-level code by strengthening the connection between math and computer science.

To pursue a M.A. in Applied Mathematics, I understand it is not only about how to enlarge my database of mathematical knowledge but also about how well I can apply them and help me go further in a certain field. I will take fully use of the opportunities during graduate school and continue exploring the potential of math in programing and software development. Please accept me to UCSD graduate school.