[plt-scheme] Re: More pedagogic stuff

From: David Einstein (deinst at gmail.com)
Date: Wed Aug 13 13:27:11 EDT 2008

On Wed, Aug 13, 2008 at 1:03 PM, Marco Morazan <morazanm at gmail.com> wrote:

> On Wed, Aug 13, 2008 at 12:38 PM, David Einstein <deinst at gmail.com> wrote:
> > I do not think that programming per se is or needs to be a particularly
> > difficult endeavor.  With a scant few exceptions, we are not engineers or
> > scientists,
> But programming IS a difficult endeavor. It requires careful study and
> a disciplined approach to development. Furthermore, livelihoods and,
> sometimes, lives depend on the correct functioning of software.

The same is true of the guy that does my brakes.

One of the things that I see is that the probability that a programming
effort fails is inversely proportional to its complexity.  Piecing together
genomes from millions of DNA fragments succeeds, while an accounting system
for LA schools fails miserably.  Yes there are exciting and interesting
things in CS that are complicated and interesting that rise to the level of
engineering or science, but most of  what we do only takes an understanding
of the problem, and an understanding of the tools at hand.

> I
> would say that we are most certainly engineers AND scientists. Just
> like engineers and scientists, we must be reasonably sure that the
> fruits of our labor are sound, efficient, and get the job done. After
> all, no one wants a bridge that collapses, is made of gold, needs
> maintenance every week, or does not reach the other side of the river
> it is suppossed to cross. Likewise, no one wants software that
> crashes, that unnecessarily consumes too much memory or time, that
> needs to constantly be updated, or does not fully solve the problem it
> is intended to solve.

> Does not a textbook, like HtDP, clearly bring home the point that
> there is a disciplined and methodical approach to programming? To me
> that says science and engineering.
> Marco
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