[Baypiggies] M.I.T. to drop Scheme in favor of Python

Shannon -jj Behrens jjinux at gmail.com
Sat May 30 01:07:36 CEST 2009

On Fri, May 29, 2009 at 11:53 AM, David Knupp <knupp at well.com> wrote:
> On Apr 6, 2009, at 9:31 AM, Aahz wrote:
>> (There's a joke that writing a web framework is the Python equivalent of
>> working through SICP.)
> I remember this quip being posted to the list several weeks ago. Well, it
> turns out that it was prescient. M.I.T. has apparently made the historic
> decision to teach their introductory 6.001 course using Python instead of
> Scheme! (My apologies if this has been mentioned before, and I somehow
> missed it.)
> Here are some relevant links:
> http://www.mitadmissions.org/topics/learning/coursework/the_end_of_an_era_1.shtml
> http://blog.snowtide.com/2009/03
> http://danweinreb.org/blog/why-did-mit-switch-from-scheme-to-python
> I wonder if this means that they'll be switching from SICP to Wesley's book?
> :-)

In one of the links above, Abelson said, "The engineer must learn to
perform scientific experiments to find out how the software and
hardware actually work, at least enough to accomplish the job at hand.
 Gerry pointed out that we may not like it this way (”because we’re
old fogies”), but that’s the way it is, and M.I.T. has to take that
into account."  He's right.

As much as I like SICP, it's not appropriate as an intro to
programming, and I'm thankful that I only encountered SICP after I was
already a decent programmer.  I personally think programming should be
introduced in a *fun* way, and robotics makes sense.  The old SICP
course is going to be taught at the upper division level, and I think
that's a good place for it.

My $0.02,

In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things
with great love. -- Mother Teresa

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