CS200: Computer Science, Spring 2004
Notes: Wednesday 14 January 2004
- 15 January: Registration Survey - submit before Thursday at 5pm
- 16 January: Pledge - read return a signed pledge on Friday
- 16 January: Read GEB, p. 3-41.
- Before PS1: Read SICP, p. 1-21 (if possible, read this before Friday's class, so you can take advantage of the lab hours after class Friday).
- 21 January: Problem Set 1
Notes and QuestionsWhat is Computer Science?
Why is Computer Science not a real science?
Why is Computer Science not really engineering?
Moore's Law: Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel, observed in 1965 that transistor density approximately doubles every 18 months. In rough terms, this means that the amount of computing power you can get for a fixed price doubles every 18 months. (Its not a "law", its an observation, but so far it seems to hold remarkably well.)
If it takes 60 seconds to compute a photomosaic for Problem Set 1 today on a typical PC, estimate how long it will take CS200 students in 2007 to compute the same photomosaic? How long will it take in 2010?
Which of the traditional seven liberal arts (grammar, rhetoric, logic, arithmetic, geometry, music and astronomy) are covered by Computer Science?
Are there any non-recursive natural languages? What would happen to a society that spoke one?
- Some Funny Things Happened on the Way to the Moon, Richard H. Battin, 1989.
- One Giant Leap: The Apollo Guidance Computer, Dag Spicer, from Dr. Dobb's Journal. (Includes computer specs.)
- Moore's Law
- Ada Byron
The MIT Instrumentation Lab had been designing software for the Apollo onboard guidance system even before the word software was invented. I still remember the first time I told my wife that I was in charge of "Apollo Software". She exhorted me: "Please don't tell any of our friends!"
Some Funny Things Happened on the Way to the Moon, Richard H. Battin, 1989.
I do not know when I have been so tantalized by anything, and should be ashamed to say how much time I have spent upont it, in vain. These Functional Equations are complete Will-o-the-Wisps to me. The moment I fancy I have really at last got hold of something tangible and substantial, it all receded further and further and vanishes again into thin air...
Ada Byron, letter to Augustus De Morgan, 27 November 1841. (From Ada, the Enchantress of Numbers: A Selection from the Letters of Lord Byron's Daughter and Her Description of the First Computer , by Betty A. Toole, 1998.)
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