Category Archives: Computer Science

What Can Paragons of Literature Teach Us about Writing Better Computer Programs?

Playwright and raconteur George Bernard Shaw is reported to have said, “The greatest problem with communication is the illusion that it has been accomplished.” This is true both for writing a text or giving a speech. Why? Largely because while grappling with mechanics of writing, we all too often lose sight of another important insight into effective communication enunciated by novelist and essayist Robert Louis Stevenson: “Don’t write merely to be understood. Write so that you cannot possibly be misunderstood.” Continue reading What Can Paragons of Literature Teach Us about Writing Better Computer Programs?

Why We Don’t Know Know-How

A recent, popular Internet video of Destin Sandlin  riding a bike with reverse steering led me to reflect on our tendency to equate knowledge with things that computers do. If we could formulate a “science of learning,” we would be able to design algorithms that help people learn faster and much more reliably. As Destin struggles to understand why he cannot ride the bike, he reveals how our common sense is blind to embodied knowledge. Continue reading Why We Don’t Know Know-How

A Popular Myth in Computer Science Education

Informatics educators expend more energy tackling education issues than educators in almost every other field. I believe much of this effort is unnecessary and could be eliminated if informatics educators could agree on a base set of computing principles. Continue reading A Popular Myth in Computer Science Education

Algorithm-less Information Processes?

The opening article of the symposium on computation suggested that some information processes may not have a controlling algorithm. A reader said that would be a profound claim. As author of the opening statement, here’s my take on it. Continue reading Algorithm-less Information Processes?