Academics slam Java

Levi Pearson levi at cold.org
Fri Jan 11 14:07:32 MST 2008


On Jan 11, 2008 1:34 PM, Jonathan Duncan <jonathan at bluesunhosting.com> wrote:

> Thank goodness for open source communities and mentalities where we
> encourage each other to continue our own educations, whether formally
> or informally.  If formal education kills off software engineering I
> think that it will live on in this grassroots/underground fashion and
> continue to thrive.

There are some open source communities that are better at encouraging
low-level education than others, but there's a real scarcity of open
source communities interested in developing tools based on formal
methods that aren't completely composed of members of research labs.
That's an area where it really helps to get a formal education, and
it's also an area that a lot of self-taught people and even
recently-educated people think is a waste of time.

If you look at the history of CS, you'll see that early on, people
like Knuth and Dijkstra worked very hard to formally verify things.
Later on, however, as the complexity of software systems grew, formal
methods fell into disfavor because they didn't scale very well.  Many
people wrote them off completely.  I've heard quite a few college
professors badmouthing formal methods.  But there are still some
people working on them, and there are tools being developed that
significantly reduce the difficulties involved.  Most of the work goes
on in research labs, universities, and in the government/military
embedded software community, since that's where reliability is most
crucial and where there's money to pay for it.

        --Levi



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