Sunday, January 08, 2006

What is Computer Science?

A little over a week ago, Joel Spolsky posted an essay, The Perils of Java Schools. For the most part, I think he hits his marks well with this one, especially when he says, "But what about the CS mission of CS departments? They're not vocational schools!" (Suresh at Geomblog posted similar thoughts last month.)

I'm noting this mostly because it's a question I find interesting. Maybe it's a topic to which I need to devote some of my own words. Maybe it's a topic that will simply be a recurring theme for linkage around here.

The original impetus behind this post, however, was Joel's collection of links in the following paragraph:

"The other hard course for many young CS students was the course where you learned functional programming, including recursive programming. MIT set the bar very high for these courses, creating a required course (6.001) and a textbook (Abelson & Sussman's Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs) which were used at dozens or even hundreds of top CS schools as the de facto introduction to computer science. (You can, and should, watch an older version of the lectures online.)"

I didn't know the Abelson and Sussman lectures were available online. In the words of Bill and Ted, "Excellent!" Also, if you follow the links Structure and Interpretation... is available online as well.


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