The rumours of my death have been greatly exaggerated

March 13, 2007

Just in case anybody noticed I’ve been missing for the last fortnight, buried under an avalanche of coding at work and I haven’t been able to find the time to scratch myself let alone be caustically smug and superior about anything. Things have evened out a little now so I’ll try and the get back to posting a bit more regularly.

In the interim, have a look at this, um, “article” on the Death of Computer Science.

I found it an odd piece of writing. It seems to find evidence supporting a number of contradictory points, and then just stops – leaving me wondering just what the point the writer was trying to make was.

Oh well, at least if Computer Science dies I won’t have so much work to do.


4 Responses to “The rumours of my death have been greatly exaggerated”

  1. TLDR (Too Long, Didn’t Read), but you’d have to guess that what they’re observing is an inevitable correction in interest in computer science after the I Wanna Be A Web Programmer craziness of the late 90s, early 00s.

  2. Dave Says:

    I agree that was probably the point, but I would argue it wasn’t made clearly. And while the implied lack of distinction between a Computer Science trained graduate and a Dot Com Monkey makes me grind my teeth, what really gets me fired up are the vast oversimplifications.
    For instance in the article:

    Dr McBride says the arrival of high-level tools means vastly complex applications for business, science and leisure can be created without the coding, logic or discrete mathematics skills taught at universities.

    Gah! What does that even mean?

    Firstly, you need coding, logic and discrete mathematics skills taught at universities to write and maintain these “high level tools” in the first place.

    Secondly, what do you mean by complex? Speaking as someone who works on a very complex real time system, there’s more than a bit of difference between a database frontended with some Java HTML interface and an actual complex system like a realtime telecoms system or a specific scientific application.

    And thirdly, who evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of different “high level tools” when looking for a solution? And how do you optimise a “high level tool” for speed or space in a particular application?

    So much complexity wrapped in to a simple and inaccurate statement, and it is outside the experience of even the average technically aware reader to do anything other than take it at face value.

  3. You picked a choice quote there—if I recall correctly, that’s precisely where I stopped reading because I couldn’t stand it any more. I’d love to get my hands on one of these “high-level tools”.

  4. Dave Says:

    According to the Age:

    Neil McBride is a principal lecturer in the School of Computing, DeMontfort University

    Hmm, seems dangerously close to marketdroid speak for a Comp Sci lecturer. I mean abstraction is one thing, but if you read his article it sounds as though he is predicting a complete abrogation of responsibility for underlying complexity. Madness.

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