Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Math stuff

So, this morning I did my first exam, Math. I thought I did pretty bad, but after deliberation with my classmates, I found out they did almost equally bad. We collectively decided we all sucked, and that the test was hard.
Looking back at some of the exercises done, I realize now that I would hardly even understand what the paper was trying to tell me if I saw this five years ago. A good example is this problem:

What is the following limit?

Impressive, right? Well, not for the mathematicians among us, but imagine looking at this with just (the dutch equivalent of) a high school education. I have just that, and to me this looks pretty daunting. I managed to arrive at an answer on the test, luckily. However, upon arriving home I wrote a little python script to actually calculate the limit (well, something close to it).
n = 200
upper = sum((-4)**i for i in range(0, n+1))
lower = (-4)**n

print float(upper) / lower
Simple enough. The answer came out to 0.8, or 4/5. That's not exactly what I had on the test (zero), but I was close enough. I remember there was a 5 in the divisor at some point. I guess we can't get everything right. Here's hoping I get points for originality.

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