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  •        
    13 Aug 2016

    What Year is This?!
    So this was my Saturday night....
    A bottle of Crystal Pepsi with Metallica's Ride the Lightning and
Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures vinyl records sitting on the hood of a
DeLorean Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures on a record player

    [/musings] [permanent link]


       
    Eponymous
    Eponymous
       



    About
    My Infrequently Updated Blog. The web-based journal of M. Forde, computer nerd, endurance athlete, and DeLorean owner


    contact

    Subscribe
    Subscribe to a syndicated feed of my weblog, brought to you by the wonders of RSS.

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  •        

       
    Eponymous
    Eponymous
       



    About
    My Infrequently Updated Blog. The web-based journal of M. Forde, computer nerd, endurance athlete, and DeLorean owner


    contact

    Subscribe
    Subscribe to a syndicated feed of my weblog, brought to you by the wonders of RSS.

    Flavors
    There's more than one way to view this weblog; try these flavors on for size.

  • index
  • circa 1993
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  •        

       
    Eponymous
    Eponymous
       



    About
    My Infrequently Updated Blog. The web-based journal of M. Forde, computer nerd, endurance athlete, and DeLorean owner


    contact

    Subscribe
    Subscribe to a syndicated feed of my weblog, brought to you by the wonders of RSS.

    Flavors
    There's more than one way to view this weblog; try these flavors on for size.

  • index
  • circa 1993
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  • running
  • DeLorean
  • code
  • unix
  • album
  • TBM
  • Archives

  • 2022
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  • olix0r.net
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  • Giraffes
  • Eat. Run. Sleep.

  •        
    10 Dec 2013

    Thoughts on National Computer Science Education Week
    This week is apparently National Computer Science Education Week. Code.org is organizing the "hour of code" to promote teaching of Computer Science and Programming in schools. They're also organizing petitions to make CS courses count as credits in Mathematics or Science for High School graduation requirements.

    In High School, my CS courses were by far my favorites, Programming in Pascal, AP Comp Sci in Pascal, Programming in C++, and AP Comp Sci in C++ ( the language for the exam switched my junior year). I learned a lot about structured code, elegant, efficient code. I learned enough about Data Structures and Algorithms that I didn't have to study for my college CS classes until Computational Structures (Discrete Math II with Scheme, essentially) in my third semester. I had an amazing Computer Science teacher who also taught me Calculus and the proper order of precedence in life: God, Family, Math. I wouldn't be where I am today without that educational opportunity I had in High School. I want others to have that opportunity too.

    However, this is where I differ with the opinion of the Code.org folks. I do not believe that CS classes should count toward the Math or Science requirements. In this state, CS counts toward the "practical or performing art" requirements, I'm assuming under the "practical" label. I think this is a better place for it at the High School level.

    Computer Science is not a hard Science. It's not Physics. It's not Biology. It's not Chemistry. There's a saying that if the subject has science in its name, it's not really a science. That is true with Computer Science. It's not studying the how and why of atoms, of molecules, of living systems, of anything really. It's not science.

    Computer Science is really applied mathematics. I am very fortunate that the college program I went through was very strong in mathematics: Calc I and II, Linear (Matrix) Algebra, Discrete Math, Discrete Math II in the guise of Computational Structures, Probability and Statistics, Theory of Computation, Algorithmic Analysis... the list goes on. All of these mathematical foundations were then applied to a machine, to make the machine carry out a task in an efficient manner. It's those mathematical foundations that are the true core of Computer Science.

    While mathematics is the core of Computer Science and Computer Science is essentially applied mathematics, I do not believe it should count toward the Math requirements. The CS classes would likely detract from other mathematics courses such as Geometry, Trigonometry, and Calculus. These courses are far too important to an education to be replaced by a Computer Science course. Many, maybe even most, High School Computer Science courses focus more on "programming" than the fundamental mathematical theories. They will pick the language du jour and teach you the syntax and semantics. They'll teach about basic data structures like arrays, and linked lists. The AP exam currently focuses not on implementing lists, trees, stacks, queues, and sorting and searching algorithms, but on arrays and lists using Java library calls. This is not math. This is learning Java syntax.

    [/code] [permanent link]