[plt-scheme] Computers considered harmful

From: namekuseijin (namekuseijin at gmail.com)
Date: Wed May 6 16:41:05 EDT 2009

On Wed, May 6, 2009 at 5:27 PM, Prabhakar Ragde <plragde at uwaterloo.ca> wrote:
> I teach models such as HtDP describes because I think they are very
> important. Many students don't get it. Their sole model is "run it and see
> if it works". The problem with that, as I repeatedly explain to them, is
> what if it doesn't? They need some independent way of explaining the
> discrepancy between what they thought they were doing and what they actually
> did. The primacy of the computer encourages them to neglect mental models.

Yes.  CompSci was all the rage back when it was still a branch of
mathematics and it was backed by serious theory by folks behind white
suits and heavy glasses.  Sadly, Fortran, Cobol, Lisp and Algol made
it possible for n00bs to use a computer to simply automate stuff or
number crunch away some fields in a report.  From a mathematical model
full of axioms it turned into an home apparatus just like a toaster:
if it doesn't give you nice bread in short time, it's not worth
spending time with it.

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