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ESC: Changes to W1004, the SGO, and GSSC Funding Clarified

python: the way of the future

Sean Zimmermann reports from last night’s ESC meeting.

  • A intro programming course, ENGI E1006, will be added next fall. The class will replace COMS W1004 as the fundamental intro programming course for 11 of the 16 engineering departments, starting next fall. Unlike W1004, the class will be taught in the python programming language instead of Java. There will also be a new data structures class in python that will replace COMS W3134 as a follow-up to the intro programming class.
  • The council debated potential changes to the SGO, including increasing the size of the computer lab and loading the machines with more editing software.
  • VP Finance Frank Yin confirmed representatives from GSSC told ESC, CCSC, and SGA that they were unable to co-sponsor further events due to lack of funds. Yin said that their exact words were that they were “tapped out.” GSSC has told Bwog that they are not out of money, but that ESC had “graciously offered to increase their in-ratio co-sponsorship to cover the remaining requests for the year in co-sponsorships.” Yin explained that ESC did not offer to cover the missing funds, but rather the JCCC (CCSC, SGA, and ESC) agreed to fill the void left by GSSC so that no events would be adversely affected.
Creeping surprise via Wikimedia Commons

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  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Ugh, why couldn’t they have changed W1004 this year? I’ve heard that Python, over Java, is becoming increasingly more important in the real-world. Is this true?

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous Real World? this isn’t the matrix. And if this were, then you should learn MATLAB instead. #nerd_humor

    2. Jacob says:

      @Jacob The purpose of 1004 (or 1006) is not to give you real-world programming experience—it’s to teach you about the fundamentals of computer science so you can pick up real-world experience as you need it. Many universities teach (or used to teach) this intro class in a totally impractical (and sometimes even an in-house) programming language for pedagogical reasons.

      The switch to python is good because it’s a better teaching language, not because it would have helped you get a job.

      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous Ok thanks, that makes sense.

      2. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous real talk from our very own Churchill scholar.

      3. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous Plus, speaking as someone who is taking 1007 now coming from having known a lot of Python and only a little Java, it’s really easy to learn Java if you already know Python.

        1. Anonymous says:

          @Anonymous That could be said about a lot of programming languages though. The first one is always the hardest, only gets easier (kinda) from there.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous It should be MATLAB to be honest.

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous MATLAB wasn’t chosen because new students are now giving MATLAB training in the new gateway course.

  • The Cloaked Matrix says:

    @The Cloaked Matrix The bwog again has a misleading image. An article about programming has an actual animal, which has nothing to do with programming, you coconut! Go back to programming your TI-83 with a foon and a pick-axe. Remember, spéc sucks: they don’t even know what a laptop is if it hit them in the face, like their ignorance does on a daily basis. spé

    1. Thank you says:

      @Thank you for teaching me a new word

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous is a great choice. As people have said, it began as a teaching language, but that just means that the designers made it make sense. You’ll come to learn that properly designed is *much* better than designed with hacks to be easy.

    I’ve done all my research using Python for about eight years now. Anyone whom I’ve introduced Python to pretty soon begins to use it to replace whatever they used before. If you are doing high-level stuff, Python is the choice. If you are doing numerical stuff, numpy/scipy have everything you need. I’m happy to take further questions in response to this, if anyone wants.

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous Although I agree that Python is an excellent language (I use it as my primary language of choice for all projects), I’m a tad skeptical about this shift. Though Java is not the greatest teaching language, it forces you to learn object-oriented programming. After W1004, I was able to pick up python very quickly. Given that python doesn’t really force OOP on you, I think it might be harder to go in the opposite direction.

      1. Agree says:

        @Agree Python is a great introductory programming language, but my fear is that it will teach too much of “the One and Only Python Way” as opposed to more general computer programming skills that a student will learn through Java. I also argue it’s much easier to go from a compiled language to a scripting language than vice-versa.

      2. Anonymous says:


        it forces you to learn object-oriented programming

        This isn’t necessarily a good thing, you know. It confuses many beginners.

        1. Anonymous says:

          @Anonymous Calculus confuses a lot of beginners too. So does chemistry, Mowsh’s intro biology, physics, English, and don’t get me started about those foreign languages.

    2. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous cm is that you?

  • Literally says:


  • ... says:

    @... java is probably about the worst possible language you could ever teach introductory programming in. there is just so… much… esoteric bullshit that gets in the way and java does not encourage clear thinking whatsoever. (what good can be said about a language in which there are more frameworks than programs .. it’s a fucking disease of the mind)

    python is nice because it’s cleaner and there’s less crap. you write the script, it runs. they can focus on the hows of programming and not the hows of dealing with eclipse bullshit, javac/java bullshit and java’s many ugly ass warts. “introduction to computer science” should be “introduction to computer science”, not “introduction to fucking around with eclipse.”

    i mean, seriously…

    public class HelloWorld {

    public static void main(String[] args) {
    System.out.println(“This is an utterly fucking ridiculous load of shit that is going to get in the way of anyone learning anything. How long would it take to completely explain classes, methods, arrays, arguments, access levels, return types, static methods, packages, the system.out object as stdout, string literals and their escape sequences to someone who doesn’t know anything about any of these things? Far too long, so just wave hands and have kids turn in shit they don’t even understand instead!\n”);



    print “Look, ma! Reason! Clear thinking! Sense!”

    1. ... says:

      @... heh.

    2. it's still no ruby says:

      @it's still no ruby #!/usr/bin/Ruby
      # count to ten
      10.times {|i| p i}

      # count to ten

      for i in range(10):
      print i

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous keep the nerd conversation coming, Im lovin it

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