[Beowulf] Re: A start in Parallel Programming?

David Mathog mathog at caltech.edu
Wed Mar 14 15:17:49 EDT 2007


> To follow the example of the automotive mechanic: Universities think they
> are producing Mechanical Engineers, not automobile mechanics. 

Train the Mechanical Engineering students entirely in theory, turn
them loose at Ford, and unless somebody who really does work
on cars steps in to prevent it they end up designing a car whose
oil filter can only be changed after removing the battery. 
Theory and abstract concepts are clearly important but it seems to
me that these should not be so completely divorced from real
world considerations as they often are when taught in the
Universities.

Also for those folks who need to learn something practical in
subject A to help them with their primary work in subject B finding
only a highly theoretical presentation of A is of dubious value.  For
instance, a lot of scientists and engineers in many disciplines often
need to wire together circuits and write programs, and not in theory,
but in practice.  Their needs may be a lot closer to
the electrician and programmer than either the EE or CS departments
would care to address, but if they don't teach to this need who will? 
Should the Physics, Chemical Engineering, or Biology departments be
teaching separate "practical circuit design" and "introduction to
programming" courses?

Regards,

David Mathog
mathog at caltech.edu
Manager, Sequence Analysis Facility, Biology Division, Caltech
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