[Beowulf] Re: A start in Parallel Programming?
dsimas at imageworks.com
Wed Mar 14 11:55:37 PDT 2007
On Wed, Mar 14, 2007 at 11:29:51AM -0700, David Mathog wrote:
> Conversely, the CS departments like to teach with idealized didactic
> computing languages. What that language is changes from era to
> era, but they are in any case notable for rarely being used to
> accomplish anything significant outside of academia. While these
> languages may be ideal for conveying key CS concepts to the
> students, they in no way represent the sorts of code the
> students will be encountering in the real world. That code, like
> the mechanic's practice cars, are imperfect, and most of what
> they will be doing when they encounter such code is dealing
> precisely with the problems associated with those imperfections.
You may need computer programming to do Computer Science, like
you need English/French/Chinese/Farsi/whatever to do History.
But History isn't English, et al, and Computer Science isn't
computer programming. What programming language you use for
Computer Science is quite arbitrary. Or, maybe, a matter of
taste - de gustibus non est disputandum.
> 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.
> 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".
> David Mathog
> mathog at caltech.edu
> Manager, Sequence Analysis Facility, Biology Division, Caltech
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