[Edu-sig] CTL: Computer Thinking Language
kirby.urner at gmail.com
Wed Mar 4 22:47:33 CET 2009
> OK, let's stick with 'return' unless someone comes up with a better word or symbol. At least it is a common keyword in all the languages that students are likely to move up to. Nothing to unlearn.
Or "down to" -- most languages tend to be lower level than Python.
A common next destination would be C++ using Zelle's book (posted news
from the publisher recently), or Java.
Or maybe next stop is Mathematica or MathCad, who knows.
Depends if this is a CS sequence or a more open-ended course for many
I think smart design puts a multiple-majors-friendly course up front,
and does *not* use just one language, though it may center around one.
At Princeton, our intro to programming included FORTRAN, PL/1, SNOBOL,
APL, Assembler and a few others, all in the same course. Today, it
might be Python, J, Scheme and... [fill in the blank].
> You are right. There is a "traditional order" of operations.
Not in the J language. Too many operators to decide "precedence
rules" so it's strictly right to left evaluation.
"Depends on the notation" is the message to drum home.
Don't get trapped in that wrong-headed view that any one notation is
With Iverson, I classify math notations into two: machine-runnable
and not machine-runnable.
Since Mathematica, a lot more is now runnable, including using
somewhat traditional notation, although this wasn't precise enough
(too sloppy) and needed some fixing.
The not-machine-executable stuff is probably more suitable for
declared math majors, whereas those just getting their feet wet or
planning a different career, would be better served by executable
stuff. Calculators don't hack it.
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