Re: Mathematica and Lisp

*To*: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net*Subject*: [mg129490] Re: Mathematica and Lisp*From*: W Craig Carter <ccarter at MIT.EDU>*Date*: Fri, 18 Jan 2013 00:49:52 -0500 (EST)*Delivered-to*: l-mathgroup@mail-archive0.wolfram.com*Delivered-to*: l-mathgroup@wolfram.com*Delivered-to*: mathgroup-newout@smc.vnet.net*Delivered-to*: mathgroup-newsend@smc.vnet.net*References*: <kcqkv4$lq5$1@smc.vnet.net> <kct7fj$sgo$1@smc.vnet.net> <kd03ej$6dl$1@smc.vnet.net> <20130115043105.21DD56958@smc.vnet.net> <kd5huk$jk6$1@smc.vnet.net> <20130117041453.5995F6855@smc.vnet.net>

On Jan 17, 13, at 12:14 PM, Richard Fateman wrote: > On 1/15/2013 10:39 PM, Murray Eisenberg wrote: >> On Jan 14, 2013, at 11:31 PM, David Bailey <dave at removedbailey.co.uk.math.umass.edu> wrote: >> >> >> >> It all depends on just what you want somebody to accomplish when learning his/her first programming language. > > There are several issues here. > For a starter, 4-year colleges generally do not offer credit for "a > course to teach you to program in language X" in a department of > computer science. > There may be such courses in physics, statistics, etc departments, > but this should be classified as a utility course, akin to "how to use > the microwave oven in the lunchroom". Was this analogy meant to be pejorative? I teach such a course and receive current and a posteriori feedback on the benefits of learning to rapidly construct a model, compute it, and visualize it. Equally important, the students learn math and a means to acquire more math on their own---and quickly. I teach fundamental concepts of my discipline by using novice programming, numerical analysis, symbolic algebra: voila, canonical discipline knowledge and transferable skills in one course. The "microwave usage" analogy diminishes the importance of an indispensable tool to an applied scientist or engineer. I have physical science colleagues who consider programing and linear algebra to be superfluous because they use spreadsheet tools. I consider their myopic view marginally more perverse than (paraphrasing) `classifying computer language tools as microwave ovens for those who don't build microwaves or understand their operating principles'.

**References**:**Re: Mathematica and Lisp***From:*David Bailey <dave@removedbailey.co.uk>

**Re: Mathematica and Lisp***From:*Richard Fateman <fateman@cs.berkeley.edu>