teaching machines

The Programming Gene

My wife and I read to each other. We ran into this the other day in Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe:

So I went to work, and here I must needs observe, that as reason is the substance and original of the mathematics, so by stating and squaring everything by reason, and by making the most rational judgement of things, every man may be in time master of every mechanic art. I had never handled a tool in my life, and yet in time by labor, application, and contrivance, I found at last that I wanted nothing but I could have made it, especially if I had had tools.

According to Defoe, the ingredients needed to make a computer scientist are reason, time, and willingness. I agree.

When I put my cursor into my code, the question I ask myself is, “What is true here?” Then I ask, “What do I want to be true after this line of code?” Then I type in the transformation, a process which has definitely gotten easier over time. These little transformations compound into big transformations, and the reward of a finished product is enough to keep me coming back.

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