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Vietnamese maths app a hit across the globe

Update: June, 20/2017 - 09:00
Nguyễn Văn Cảnh, developer of the math solving application Math Solver for smartphones. — Photo tuoitre.vn
Viet Nam News

HCM CITY — A math problem-solving application created by a Vietnamese engineer has been downloaded by thousands of smartphone users recently.

Uploaded to the Play Store and Apple Store distribution platforms about four months ago, Math Solver has been downloaded nearly 100,000 times by students in Việt Nam, India, Russia, the US, Europe and several Southeast Asian countries.

Its creator, Phạm Khắc Cảnh, specialised in maths when he studied at Trần Đại Nghĩa Gifted High School in the southern province of Bình Thuận. He chose to major in information technology at the HCM City Polytechnic University, and went on to earn a Master’s degree in the field at the HCM City University of Natural Sciences.   

Cảnh started developing his own math solving application in 2015. From the first two languages of Vietnamese and English, Russian, Thai, Korean and Chinese options have been added to Math Solver. Two others – Japanese and Cambodian – are on the way.  

Math Solver is capable of solving different types of maths – from general to advanced levels – such as drawing graphs, solving equations and inequalities, calculating integral calculus, derivatives, limits, differential equations and extreme functions. Users select the type of problems they want to solve and input the questions and the application will provide them with detailed answers in seconds, depending on the questions’ levels of difficulty.  

The application is said to be fast and accurate. La Thanh Tùng, a maths lecturer at the Sài Gòn University, said the application provides “pretty accurate” answers to different maths questions at university level.

Not only providing answers, the application also gives users detailed explanations of the problems in steps, which can be used as references for pupils, students and teachers, said Nguyễn Tăng Vũ, a maths teacher at the High School for the Gifted under the HCM City National University.

Phạm Thanh Phong, head of the maths department at the HCM City University of Economics and Finance, said it provided accurate answers to 95 per cent of maths questions at university level, 90 per cent of questions in the branch of economic maths, and 70 per cent in engineering maths.

“Engineering maths problems tend to be more in-depth,” he said. “The application can’t solve rare and extremely complex questions.”

Some 10,000 questions in various types have been added to the application over the last two years with support from university maths lecturers and high school maths teachers, who provided Cảnh with banks of questions and consultancy in mathematical solutions and theorems.

An algorithm has been added to the application, which will record all questions it has solved and apply it to solve the next, more difficult ones faster.

“I am still improving the application’s features based on users’ comments,” Cảnh said.

“Different from foreign math applications, Math Solver is aimed at solving common maths problems,” he added. “It focuses on general maths forms, targeting pupils, students and providing detailed solutions to problems so they can take them as references for their studies.”

“I’m developing more features so that the application will be able to solve geometry problems and calculate matrixes.”

What makes Math Solver stand out is that it is free of charge and works without an internet connection, Cảnh said. Also, it is able to calculate limits of trigonometric functions – a function that most foreign maths applications are unable to perform, he added.

Apart from dealing with maths, the application also helps students learn chemistry, although it can only provide them with chemical formulas and knowledge testing questionnaires.

Cảnh’s wife, Nguyễn Thị Ý Nhi – a chemistry graduate from the HCM City Polytechnic University – is in charge of developing the chemistry feature. Since Cảnh started programming the application, Nhi contacted several chemistry teachers and students who excel in the subject to ask chemistry questions and advice on chemistry. — VNS

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