March 24, 2006

Recent reading

  • The Applied Mathematics and Computer Science Schism by Kowalik, J. in Computer v39i3. So, do computer scientists know enough math? You'd think so, but Janusz Kowalik begs to differ, and makes some very good points. His idea is that the basis of computing is applied math and that the most important scientific, commercial and other appplications for computing on the horizon are highly mathematically. So, it would make a lot of sense if CS programs give their graduates a very strong background in mathematical techniques. A bit rough and cynical too, Kowalik doesn't mince words, when talking about the average North American Joe:
    Yes, contemporary America has great inventors, scientists, and entrepreneurs, but the average Joe is increasingly illiterate and numerically challenged. Joe likes to have fun, and he leaves the hard thinking to the young immigrants who win spelling bees, play chess, and use the Internet to find proofs of the 2,000-year-old Pythagorean theorem.

  • Portrayals of engineers in "science times" by Clark, F.; Illman, D.L. in IEEE Technology and Society Magazine v25i1. One of the factors influencing declining enrollments in engineering and other scitech fields is the generally non-existent-to-negative portrayal of engineers and engineering in the popular media. This article describes a study of the New York Times's Science Times feature to guage the popular perception of engineers and engineering. Not surprising, it's pretty bad, mostly just that engineers (and in particular, women engineers) are invisible.

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