On Fri, 6 Feb 2004, Niall O Broin wrote:
> Date: Fri, 6 Feb 2004 00:31:59 +0000
> From: Niall O Broin <niall at linux.ie>
> To: ilug at linux.ie> Subject: [ILUG] Computer science education
>> I just read this http://tardis.linux.ie/2030/developers.slashdot.org and I was
> shocked at the idea of CS students NOT learning assembly language. Now it has
> to be said that it was last century (I won't be more specific) when I was in
> college and my first programming was hand assembled 6800 but then I'm an
> engineer - not a nancy computer scientist. But nancy or not, computer
> scientists learnt assembly languages for various processor, and wrote
>> Don't they do that any more ? Does a computer science course now consist
> solely of Microsoft training modules ?
>> Say it isn't so . . .
It aint so, although I would appreciate you giving any arrogant
postgraduates or lazy lecturers you know a hard time for saying Linux is
great but failing to use OpenOffice.org for their tedious PowerPoint
slides (or just give out to them for using PowerPoint in the first place
instead of LaTeX or genuine teaching skills or ...)
I "learnt" just enough Motorola 68k assembler to get me throught that
semester, it was tedious and largely useless but techinically I still
learnt it (barely). Others are forced to learn it for longer than just
Most Chemistry students end up learning vastly more Fortran than computer
scientists know about any Assembly language (and they have very little
choice in the matter).
Having transferred to a different course I'm learning RISC assembly for a
MIPS chip and finding it substantially easier than 68k but it probably
helps that we have good notes and a freely available emulator (although
unfortunatley it isn't Open Source (book publishing company holds
copyright) and as such is a pain in the arse to run on Linux).
I dispute the supposition that you need to learn Mathematics, Assembly
Language, or even compiled languages (as opposed to just scripted ones
like Perl or Python) to be a computer scientist. Of course knowing these
things will make you a better computer scientist but I ask you to try and
restrain your intellectual snobbery just because you had no choice but to
use punchcards :P and do everything through binary and walk miles throught
the snow with no shoes and bring a lump of coal to heat the classroom.
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