Peter Amey wrote:
It is a sort-of smiley. On one hand, I find the whole thing amusing. On the other hand, I find it patently absurd that someone would suggest that curriculum in 2004 would comprise Ada, Pascal, and PL/I, all of which are (for industrial purposes) dead languages.I do hope that is a sort of smiley at the end of your message. Please.Makes sense to me. what is the point of teaching dead languages like Ada, Pascal, and PL/I? Teach C, Assembler, and Java/C# (for the mainstream), and some lisp variant (Scheme, ML, Haskell) and Prolog variant for variety. But Ada, Pascal, and PL/I are suitable only for a "history of programming languages" course :)What is wrong with this picture ?
I see both of you willing to mandate the teaching of C and yet not
mandate the teaching of any of Ada, Pascal, PL/I etc.
On one hand, university should be about learning concepts rather than languages, because the concepts endure while the languages go in and out of fashion. Evidence: 20 years ago, when I was in college, "Ada, Pascal, and PL/I" only included one dead language :) On the other hand, the students do need to get a job when they graduate, and we do them a disservice to not at least teach concepts using a language currently in use in industry.
There is also room for a lot of breadth in a college program. I was only overtly instructed in languages a few times, the rest were "read the book then do this assignment." But in that approach, I learned COBOL, Pascal, PL/M, 68000 assembler, C, C++, FORTRAN, VAX assembler, Prolog, LISP, and Maple. Its not like this list needs to be short.
-- Crispin Cowan, Ph.D. http://immunix.com/~crispin/ CTO, Immunix http://immunix.com