[Beowulf] Re: A start in Parallel Programming?

Jim Lux James.P.Lux at jpl.nasa.gov
Wed Mar 14 13:06:01 PDT 2007

At 11:29 AM 3/14/2007, David Mathog wrote:
>  "Robert G. Brown" <rgb at phy.duke.edu> wrote
>I'm kind of glad the folks who teach CS this way don't teach foreign
>language too - they'd make the students learn a fair amount of Latin
>before letting them enroll in a Spanish class!  Sure Spanish is based
>on Latin, but "Ubi latrina est?" isn't the fastest way to find a
>bathroom in Madrid.  Well, maybe if you ask in a church.

Would not Ubi est latrina be equally valid in Latin? (the part of 
speech being determined by declension or conjugation, with little 
dependence on word order, but then, IANALS)
But, merely the word latrina along with suitable dancing up and down 
and indications of urgency would probably convey sufficient 
information to the Spanish speaker to allow them to give you a 
sufficient answer, no?

>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.
>So the undergrad here who just wants to learn to program in order
>to get some work done in engineering, physics, etc. would either
>slog through a quarter of CS 1 and then enroll in CS 11
>for a few quarters, or would maybe try to talk their way into CS 11
>without having to take CS 1.  CS 1 is "strongly recommended" for
>those taking CS 11, which is catalog speak for, "it is possible
>to weasel out of the prerequisite".

And, if one already knows how to program, my cynical advice to the 
undergraduate already struggling with other difficult classes would 
be to take the CS1 for the easy grade, and keep your mouth shut about 
the defects in the language they have selected to teach in.  My rude 
comments about the unsuitability of MIXAL in comparison to PDP-11 ASM 
were NOT well received when I was in a similar situation.

James Lux, P.E.
Spacecraft Radio Frequency Subsystems Group
Flight Communications Systems Section
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Mail Stop 161-213
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena CA 91109
tel: (818)354-2075
fax: (818)393-6875 

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