On 30/08/2013, at 11:29 PM, Gergely Buday wrote:
> First of all, conceptual thinking, as learned in philosophy, and
> literary composition, as learned in a creative writing class. Even
> poetry is helpful if someone tries to write poems using standard latin
> rhyme forms.

There's a reason why a first-year English paper is one of our
compulsory papers.
> But back to the skills that even a child can perform, cooking
> following a recipe is an ancient form of an algorithm.

A very strange one.  Key steps (like washing your equipment) are
missed out completely.  Key parameters (like temperature or duration)
are often left out.  Some tasks may be done in parallel and others
must be sequential and it is left to the reader to figure out which.  

> Also, a
> colleague of mine once asked the students whether they ever did any
> sport seriously, as they gave up on the first difficulty.

Your colleague was being over-specific.  I like to think I'm a good
programmer, but I have never taken any kind of sport seriously.
> What other activities, bodily or intellectual can you think of on
> these lines? And, is there literature on this?

Music.  You'll find a lot of people who never wasted any time on
sport because that would have interfered with music practice.
One of my colleagues here (now CTO at an international company)
was previously a concert pianist.  Another was a violinist in the
regional orchestra.  Another is also a violinist who has helped
out for decades in a youth orchestra.  A new young colleague is
a pianist.  One of our labs has a piano for the students to use.

Musicians have to master at least one system of notation that
is not an encoding of a natural language.  It even includes
repetition, something recipes commonly do not.

Of course music is _both_ bodily _and_ intellectual (as for that
matter are most sports).

I can't help wondering whether electronics, of the now old-
fashioned kind where each component is visible and can be
handled, may also have been a preparation for some people.
Not only is there a non-linguistic system of notation, but
there is this element of first designing a machine on paper.
And the practice has a whole bunch of schemas that can be
instantiated, possibly varying the parameters, which if not
the analogue of procedures are at least an analogue of macros.
> - Gergely

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