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Re^5: Worst blog post ever on teaching programming

by adrianh (Chancellor)
on Apr 06, 2006 at 08:30 UTC ( #541596=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Re^4: Worst blog post ever on teaching programming
in thread Problematic post on teaching programming

So in practice, the concept of "P vs NP", and order notation are largely useless.

I've not found this to be so. For example I can remember one instance of a problem that, in a blinding flash of the obvious, could be mapped onto an NP problem - which immediately told us that we wanted to be doing something like simulated annealing to give us a reasonable answer in a reasonable time.

Use big O notation all of the time when I did work in the financial sector. Very handy in giving us clues on how things will scale up on very large data sets.

Personally, I found that while academic learning is interesting, it's rarely useful. It's nice that you can write your own compiler, but your job will involve producing graphs and reports, not writing compilers.

Depends on your job. I've been paid to write compilers several times during my career. The ones I did after my undergrad compiler course were a lot better than the ones I wrote before it ;-)

In any case, I've been left with a distaste for breathless undergrads, and people who think that "more complicated is better", or people who think "new is better": most of the time, the boring, obvious encoding is the most maintainable encoding, and when it's not, you can at least understand what was done, and slot in your clever little algorithm where it's needed.

s/undergrads/youngsters/ and I'll agree with you 100%. For me its a symptom of age and experience rather than an academic or industry background.

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[ambrus]: Corion: I mentioned that the unix event loop of Prima always wakes up at least once every 0.2 seconds. Have you found out whether the win32 event loop of Prima does that too?
[Corion]: ambrus: Hmm - I would assume that the onDestroy message is sent from the destructor and doesn't go through the messageloop, but maybe it is sent when a window gets destroyed but all components are still alive...
[ambrus]: Corion: partly deep source dive, partly just conservative coding even if it adds an overhead.
[Corion]: ambrus: Hmm - no, I haven't looked at wakeup intervals ... I wonder why it should want to wakeup periodically because it gets a lot of messages from the Windows message loop (on Windows obviously)
[ambrus]: (Alternately a deep source dive and then rewrite that event loop to make it better, and then as a bonus you get an idle method.)
[ambrus]: The 0.2 seconds wakeup is likely a workaround for some bug, but I can't guess what bug that is.
[ambrus]: It's been there since Prima 1.00 iirc
[Corion]: Hmmm... Weird. Maybe it needs that for doing its timers or something. Still weird.
[Corion]: But I guess I'll find out soonish, as my application seems to use Prima for more than just displaying the OpenGL output soonish ;))

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