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
> SICP.
> 
> 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.

Cheers,
Cliff





More information about the Python-list mailing list