why did MIT drop scheme for python in intro to computing?

J. Clifford Dyer jcd at sdf.lonestar.org
Tue Oct 9 14:54:31 CEST 2007

On Tue, Oct 09, 2007 at 06:28:00AM -0500, Harold Ancell wrote regarding Re: why did MIT drop scheme for python in intro to computing?:
> On Tue, 09 Oct 2007 03:28:53 -0000, gnuist006 at hotmail.com wrote:
> >On Oct 8, 1:23 pm, b... at cs.berkeley.edu (Brian Harvey) wrote:
> >> "Kjetil S. Matheussen" <k.s.matheus... at notam02.no> writes:
> >> >I don't think your speculations makes very much sence.
> >> Amen.
> >> And, in any case, there's no need to speculate.
> >> MIT has published, on their web site, pages and
> >> pages of rationale for the new curriculum.
> >> The most important point, imho, is that the
> >> programming language was the /least/ important
> >> aspect of the decision.  The most important
> >> aspect was the move to an application-based
> >> (rather than topic-based) organization of the
> >> curriculum.  The details flow out of that big
> >> shift of focus.
> >[ much snipped. ]
> >Does scheme have a gui library?
> >I really dont follow the logic.
> I really REALLY hope that not a single GUI is
> constructed in 6.01-2; adding that to the load
> would be stark raving mad (look and you'll agree).
> As Brian points out, languages are a means to the
> end of teaching stuff, and I wouldn't be surprised
> if not a single GUI is constructed in the entire
> required/restricted elective curriculum.  That's
> just not to the point of an EECS education that
> has to be squeezed into 4/5 years (most students
> take the combined MEng path, where the MS degree
> is terminal and leads straight to industry).
> If any library was a consideration in choosing
> Python, it was the robots one for 6.01.  Note also
> that Hal helped design and teach 6.01, and fully
> supports the new curriculum.
> As a total LISP/Scheme fanatic who finds parts of
> Python's syntax to be too hard for his brain (not
> the indentation, that's weird but useful and cool,
> much like S-expressions in LISP), I looked hard at
> the beginning of 6.01 where they're only teaching
> For that purpose, Python is not "awful" (remember,
> I believe LISP is the One True Way of Computing).
> For that initial bit of SICP material, I do not
> believe the students will be handicapped.
> Beyond that initial bit of material, I have no
> informed opinions.
> 				- Harold
> -- 
> http://mail.python.org/mailman/listinfo/python-list

I, for one, (coming from the Python side) would be thrilled to see a rigorous SICP-like book published using Python as its basis.  But maybe with the new change of focus to application based, that won't be forthcoming.  We'll see.


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