in reply to Re: Problem Domains and Multiple Disciplines
in thread Problem Domains and Multiple Disciplines

Hmmmm... I like what you say in general, but I have to complain about your treatment of women in your anecdote. I'm not sure if you realize the condescending treatment of "George's girlfriend".
  1. She is only known by her relationship to George. She could have been referred to as a team member with a name, say Anna. You might as well have called her "the missus", or "the little lady."
  2. She "knew enough" to code and debug the programs. Like once you have written the algorithm the code practically writes itself. Only if you are a brilliant programmer, perhaps. There are lots of issues after the design stage - what language to implement the algorithm it, getting it to actually work, etc.
  3. Why did you have to explain her credentials at all? You didn't mention that George was a senior Math major and that is why he was a brilliant algorithmist.
I'm pretty sure you didn't mean any harm, of course, but I thought I should point this out nevertheless.
  • Comment on Re: Problem Domains and Multiple Disciplines

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re^2: Problem Domains and Multiple Disciplines
by dragonchild (Archbishop) on Aug 31, 2004 at 18:56 UTC
    The comment meant to say that she was a freshman who knew the mechanics of using a computer to enter and manipulate code, but did not have the experience to solve complicated problems and develop new algorithms on the fly. The story as I heard it had a girl in the typist's role, so that is how I retold it. It would have been just as meaningful if I replaced "George's girlfriend" with "George's freshman typist". It most definitely would have been less insulting, and I'll retell it as such, in the future. The reason for describing her credentials was to cast her in the role of the "codeslinger" and to cast 'George' in the role of the "algorithm master", as per the OP.

    A similar story happened with me as the main character. My last semester at college also had the ACM contest occurring within it. This year, we only had four students interested in "wasting" a Saturday afternoon on programming tasks. There was me, the resolute (dissolute?) super-senior and three other students, who had less combined semesters in college than I did by myself. (I was on my 9th in 5-and-a-half years, if you're wondering.) So, we divided the teams up as so - I was team A and they were team B. Out of some 54 teams in our division, I came in 9th, solving 5 problems and having a solution for the 6th. I would've solved six and come in 4th had I realized that int on Windows was 2 bytes long, not the four I was used to from Unix. Tracking that down lost me 30 minutes and about 70 points. The other team solved 2 problems and had solutions for 2 more.

    The only difference between me and the members of team B was exposure to over a hundred algorithms and techniques they had never seen. That's the same difference that 'George' had over his teammates, including his girlfriend / typist. (She later went on to be a valued member of subsequent ACM contest teams from my school, graduated with a 3.7 GPA in computer science, and was a close friend of mine.)

    We are the carpenters and bricklayers of the Information Age.

    Then there are Damian modules.... *sigh* ... that's not about being less-lazy -- that's about being on some really good drugs -- you know, there is no spoon. - flyingmoose

    I shouldn't have to say this, but any code, unless otherwise stated, is untested

Re^2: Problem Domains and Multiple Disciplines
by Anonymous Monk on Aug 31, 2004 at 19:22 UTC
    Since the contest some things have changed... Most importantly George has had a series of transgender procedures and his girlfriend (GF) was the recipient of the removed appendage(s). Because of this gender swap she (GF->BF) now takes the lead in all intellectual contests while George (Georgia) does the grunt work of coding.