On Saturday 30 October 2004 03:46 am, Lloyd Zusman wrote:
| In addition to being completely in agreement with Mr. Jenkins, I want to
| add that in my Introduction to Computer Programming course in 1969, we
| were taught about fixed-point and floating-point arithmetic.  We were
| required to master these and other numerical concepts before we were
| taught any computer language, and we were expected to know the strengths
| and weaknesses of the various numerical techniques that are available in
| computers.
|
| In other words, the understanding of fixed-point and floating-point
| numbers is so basic and fundamental to programming that I believe that
| these topics should be mastered before anyone learns to write even one
| line of code.
|
| Sadly, it seems that many texts and professors nowadays do not teach
| these important concepts, at least not in introductory courses.
|
| I believe that a fuller understanding of the strengths and limitations
| of various numerical methods, including floating-point arithmetic, would
| have greatly lowered the probability that the "Ha ha! ..."  statement
| above would ever have been written.  This also applies to a number of
| other assertions that have been made in this thread.

Everyone, obviously, has their own particular perspective on the world. You 
have yours, and it has been colored by your experiences, including your 
Introduction to Computer Programming course in 1969. That's good. But mine is 
quite different. And I think people should respect differences. You plainly 
infer that I am uneducated and hence, if I were, would not have a) made such 
joke and b) made other assertions. Such things are relative. I could say for 
instance that the foundations of geometry are fundamental to modern 
mathematics and hence likewise to programming, and that you have no right to 
write a single line of code until you've worked every proof of all 13 books 
of Euclid's Elements (as I have). I'm sure many others could fill in the 
blanks here with their own experiences. But that's not fair --to any of us.

I'm not claiming to be a mathematical expert. I have a fair grasp of many 
concepts including floating-point arithmetic --but it's certainly not 
perfect. I simply _believe_ that it can be done. That's my opinion, I may be 
wrong, but I may also be right. You can have your opinion as well. But please 
do not belittle my _attempt_. At least I'm trying a better world. An 
introductory Computer Programming course in 1969 is certainly not the last 
word on such matters.

T.