[Beowulf] Re: A start in Parallel Programming?

Glen Beane glen.beane at jax.org
Wed Mar 14 11:56:34 PDT 2007

> Let's see, what language is CS is using here these days? It has
> been a while since I looked: 
> CS 1 (Introduction to Computation, first quarter) uses Scheme.
> CS 2 (Introduction to Programming Methods, 2nd quarter) seems
>   to be mostly Java.
> CS 3 (Introduction to Software Engineering, 3rd quarter) uses who
>   knows what, since the course info is locked up in a "moodle"
>   I do not have access to.
> CS 11 (Computer Language Shop, any quarter for up to 3
>  quarters total) is for programming practice in any of
>  several languages, including C, C++, Java, Python, and others
>  but not (any type of) Fortran.

When I was an undergrad, my CS department used C++ for the introductory classes, LISP for AI (duh!), had a required x86 assembly class, used C in Operating Systems, and had a required 1 credit class in Fortran. We also took a course that taught programming language concepts (procedural, functional, object oriented) which had several LISP assignments and assignments to be done in the language of our choice provided we had never used the language prior to taking the class. One goal of this course is to teach the students how to learn new languages, and I think it was successful.  With good language and compiler/interpreter documentation it should take a day to learn a language. One of the major problems for me when switching languages is learning about libraries that are available so I don't have to reinvent the wheel. All the other CS courses allowed assignments in a number of languages, students usually chose C++ or Java, but I turned in several assignments in my parallel pro
gramming course in FORTRAN 77 since it was the professors favorite language (a Physicist that is a professor in a CS department teaching Fortran, Computer Modeling, and Parallel Programming, and doing research in glacial modeling).

Now the department has added an introductory course in Scheme (introduction to solving problems using computers), which is the first programming based class the CS students take, then they are exposed to C++/Java

When you learn to program a specific language rather than learning programming concepts, you'll face a problem learning new languages later on.   I've seen C code that looked very FORTRAN like, Java that looked very C-like (all the code in the main method) ...

Glen L. Beane
Software Engineer II
The Jackson Laboratory
Phone (207) 288-6153

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