Monday, December 29, 2014

Favorite comments of '14, cont: ChemProf, Anonymous and FedUpMom

On Processing information vs. Cutting and Pasting, II:  

ChemProf said...
My husband is a programmer, and he keeps saying that age discrimination keeps kicking in about five years older than him (he's now in his early 40's). But it keeps moving along with him, because the young folks aren't as computer literate as Gen Ex -- too much high level stuff, not enough time in the guts of the machine.

Anonymous said...
High school kids all think they know so much about "technology." If I ask one if they know what a DOS prompt is, I get blank stares. When my own son decided to teach me HTML, we were five minutes into it when I exclaimed, "Oh my gosh, it's nothing but Wordstar!" "Wordstar?" said my son, "What's that?"
FedUpMom said...

I wonder if some of the problem with young programmers is related to fuzzy math and its contempt for algorithms. Programs, of course, are all about algorithms, and clear algorithm design is essential.

What I see in the efforts of some young programmers who have worked on GrammarTrainer is almost a guess-and-check approach; that is, they just keep throwing code at it until the program sort of seems to work. The result is a program totally cluttered up with, for instance, five different variables all holding the same basic information; three different chunks of code for inputting data files, only one of which (the most ridiculous one, reading data from the internet) is used; and large hunks of what I call "zombie code", that is, code that is never actually referenced by the program.

I wonder if our crummy math teaching is resulting in young people who don't understand logic and algorithms.

From a programmer's point of view, the demands of the program are actually quite simple (read some input, get responses from the user, respond to the responses), and the program design should be simple and clear too.

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