[plt-scheme] A Couple of Questions on DrScheme/Mzscheme

From: Mike Lin (mikelin at MIT.EDU)
Date: Sat Sep 28 13:51:48 EDT 2002

> Don't get me wrong .. SICP is a wonderful book and it can be
> the basis of a wonderful course, but SICP cannot possibly be
> the basis of a good introductory course if programming and
> program design are the goal. MIT students become decent programmers
> despite this course, not because it. Places with similar students
> have the same experience -- and admit it if they have the courage
> to analyze what's going on.

I think that MIT's 6.001 is most valuable to those students who already have
fairly comprehensive intuition about program design, as it introduces them
to a broad set of many topics in computer science: algorithmic complexity,
streams, functional programming, operational interpreters, register
machines, compilation, and even a little theory (halting problem, Y
combinator); to a student who didn't have to struggle with the basics, there
are only a handful of CS courses (s)he can go on to take as an MIT
undergraduate without some familiarity with the material thanks to 6.001.

Having recently taken the course and tutored others in it, however, I'll
definitely agree that the course materials assume too much, even of the MIT
student, for someone who hasn't had significant experience in program
design. That said, it is a large subset of those taking 6.001 who have had
significant experience in program design, and who have the most to gain from

-- Mike --

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