University of Florida Eliminates Computer Science Department, Increases Athletic Budgets.

From: Rod-Lists 

=============================================================== From: Dan Lyke ------------------------------------------------------ Saw this article this morning, in a number of places, and thought that would could really make this story interesting is the background behind it. Clearly this is the UoF administrators playing brinksmanship with various state legislators, and probably with some alumni organizations too, and I'd love to have some background on that process. On the other hand, I am also totally willing to accept that the function of the modern university is as a farm system for the gladiatorial combat entertainment we call "sports".

=============================================================== From: Matt Eslinger ------------------------------------------------------ This is one of the very reasons that America is falling behind the rest of the world.... What sad priorities....

=============================================================== From: Eric Wolf ------------------------------------------------------ There's another possible story: 1. CompSci will be a focus at the new Florida Polytechnic University, so UoF's CompSci is diminished so as not to compete. This is the eternal battle fought by Engineering at UTC. UTK has

=============================================================== From: Sean Brewer ------------------------------------------------------ My alma mater dropped CS this year, but they're allowing current students to finish out the program. New students must declare a math major with a CS concentration. I wrote a letter of recommendation for tenure for one of my professors. I wouldn't have if I had known they were going to do that. I hope Math with CS concentration doesn't mean a couple of intro CS classes bootstrapped onto to a regular math degree. He's a super smart guy and deserves better than that if that's the case.

=============================================================== From: Eric Wolf ------------------------------------------------------ Sean, That's great news for the Math Department! My BS is in Math (UTC) in large part because the first two years of a math major and a comp sci major are almost identical. I did my first two years from 1988-1990 and the last two from 2002-2004. Comp Sci changed quite a bit in that time period but Math was largely the same. My "intro" class was in Pascal on the IBM 4381. 1988 was the first year UTC taught Pascal rather than PL/1. Thank heavens for small miracles. Now, of course, the department teaches Java first (but just specify "a higher level language" in the catalog). One of the reasons I didn't do my undergrad in comp sci was because what UTC taught (especially in 1988) was too far away from my interests. It's pretty easy to make the argument that the math I learned in 1988 is still applicable today whereas the comp sci is harder to make the case. One of the biggest challenges facing higher education is teaching something that's both relevant and meaningful over the long term. -Eric -=--=---=----=----=---=--=-=--=---=----=---=--=-=- Eric B. Wolf 720-334-7734

=============================================================== From: Ed King ------------------------------------------------------ I wonder if we ever crossed paths. I started UTC in '87 as EE/math, switched to CS/math around '89 iirc. Do you remember having any classes with a guy with black shoes and bright neon green shoelaces who always had hot women following him around (seriously) ? I found a copy of one of my Engineering drafting textbooks at McKays a week ago, it was only $3. I paid, like, $80 for that damn book back in '87. Isn't the information in the book still as relevant as it was in '87?

=============================================================== From: Eric Wolf ------------------------------------------------------ Ed, We possibly crossed paths. I wasn't at UTC in Fall 89 - I was off at Old Dominion University in Virginia while writing Intel 8051 assembler code in the evenings. Then I was back for Spring 1990 but dropped out that Summer to do software full time. I worked with Karl Flethcher maintaining PCs for Engineering for a spell. I don't think I took any CS in 1990. That semester I did take Fundamentals of Mathematics, Calc III (evenings with Rozema), Scientific Writing, Latin III, and I think one University Honors class - Philosophy of Science, I think? Textbooks are an entirely different kind of fubar. Always sell back your textbooks because you can buy them for pennies when the new revision comes out. My textbook for Latin III (Wheelock) was copyright 1937 (same edition). Cost $6.95 new. I frequently borrowed math textbooks from professors. -Eric -=--=---=----=----=---=--=-=--=---=----=---=--=-=- Eric B. Wolf 720-334-7734

=============================================================== From: Ed King ------------------------------------------------------ sorry for making this thread more and more off topic but when I went searching for a picture of Rozema (I remember that name) I found this cool little website

=============================================================== From: Chad Smith ------------------------------------------------------ This thread made me google "Computer Science Degree" - (no quotes) - and the 2nd and 3rd link made me laugh. 1. Want a job? Get a *computer science degree*

=============================================================== From: John Hunt ------------------------------------------------------ On the politics front one thing to keep in mind is that grants drive R1 universities, NOT teaching. As was noted to me by a wise old computer engineering professor a few years ago - we should eliminated about 1/2 of all CS programs in the US. Why? Look at the grant funding available to CS, divide by the amount per year to support an R1 faculty member and you have the number of professors. Divide by a typical department size and you have the number of programs supportable. You need to understand students and jobs are irrelevant.

=============================================================== From: Dan Lyke ------------------------------------------------------ An additional note to this: How many of the really good programmers that you work with have degrees in comuter science? There is "computer science", but the market for those people is rapidly shrinking: How many theorists do you really need when most programming these days is business analysis and plugging together some Java or .NET modules? The issues that might be really useful for programming are probably best taught as side effects of other disciplines, either a business and communications, or psych or sociology track, or an engineering (mechanical, electrical, whatever) track. Fold real CS into math, for the few who are actual CS geeks, let the business analysts be business analysts and the sysadmins come from the same places they've always come: The physics PhDs. Dan

=============================================================== From: Eric Wolf ------------------------------------------------------ A government contractor who's title is "Chief Architect" said to me the other day: "IT is a blue-collar job." Granted, it's a very good-paying blue collar job. Most IT work is not science or engineering. Another problem with R1 schools is that many departments insist that faculty only teach theory. A friend at a top Montreal university was putting a course on new technologies in web mapping. That's not the real name - I can't remember what BS she came up with... But she was chastised by her tenure committee for encourage students to build stuff rather than focus on what made the technology significant in a theoretical sense. My graduate adviser is a classic example of this old-school thinking. She teaches cartography and GIS in a top-ranked R1 Geography Department. She is in a unique position because EVERY undergrad Geography Major takes all of her classes because it directly translates to jobs at graduation. Despite this fact, she insists on focusing more on theory and less on application. This focus is because of two fairly important factors (which are not as much of a factor to Computer Science). 1. The GIS market is dominated by a single vendor. For 99.99% of the jobs available, GIS == ESRI. What the students really want is to know what buttons to push in ArcGIS. Which is also exactly what the employers want too! 2. Geography is highly self-critical. During World War II, the OSI (precursor to the CIA) relied heavily on geography to guide the war effort. Post-WWII through about 1970, academic Geography was dominated by statistical methods (the Quantitative Revolution). Geography, as a discipline, began find flaws in purely quantitative approaches, especially in human geography. Perhaps, most damning, was the realization that Geography has always been a tool of war and imperialism. A large faction of academic Geographers earned their PhDs describing how over-reliance on quantitative methods resulted in unnecessary deaths and flawed political programs (like backing the Shah of Iran, Manuel Noriega, arming Saddam Hussein and the Taliban). These PhDs now make up significant portions of the tenure committees in Geography departments. GIS is seen as an outgrowth of the (evil) Quantitative Revolution. Teaching "button pushing in ArcGIS" is seen as an activity not worthy of tenure in a top Geography department. The answer may be to boost programs at community colleges. But I know for a fact that isn't going very well. CSTCC recently posted a job for an instructor to teach networking. A former CHUGALUG list member was the only applicant. Why aren't more people applying for these jobs? -Eric -=--=---=----=----=---=--=-=--=---=----=---=--=-=- Eric B. Wolf 720-334-7734

=============================================================== From: Stephen Haywood ------------------------------------------------------ thought about getting into education but I can't afford it. -- Stephen Haywood Information Security Consultant CISSP, GPEN, OSCP T: @averagesecguy W:

=============================================================== From: Eric Wolf ------------------------------------------------------ Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach. -Eric -=--=---=----=----=---=--=-=--=---=----=---=--=-=- Eric B. Wolf 720-334-7734

=============================================================== From: Sean Brewer ------------------------------------------------------ I'm in web development. My biggest pet peeve is when people attempt to parse HTML with regular expressions. The folks who (usually) know better are the guys with formal backgrounds. Every time someone does this, an angel loses its wings and Noam Chomsky punches someone in the face, at least in my mind.

=============================================================== From: Ed King ------------------------------------------------------ degrees in comuter science? is that the science of getting from point A to point B? ;-)

=============================================================== From: Dave Brockman ------------------------------------------------------ -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE----- Hash: SHA1 Sounds like you answered your own question.... Regards, dtb -----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE----- Version: GnuPG v2.0.17 (MingW32) Comment: Using GnuPG with Mozilla - iEYEARECAAYFAk+W6CYACgkQABP1RO+tr2Tb2gCghY7oc/e4LGHoZU26P9mUsU5k 9N4An218Ajl+4NayVEutQo7kL1lBoqeb =6pvJ -----END PGP SIGNATURE-----

=============================================================== From: Tim Youngblood ------------------------------------------------------ Let's face it. Most of the excellent programmers you've known were self taught and then just 'do'. I know folks who began working for IBM at 15 and never looked back. I know a handful of folks who are some of the top researchers in the world (bio and medicine) and have worked their way up and gained respect through the system without formal degrees (a number of them at Cold Spring Harbor come to mind). If these self starters happen to live in the right place, they are able to pursue M.S. degrees in Math or related scientific fields based on an anonymous B.S./B.A. degree and a portfolio of real code in real projects. Entry into M.S. programs is usually a much more subjective process depending on what you have done as much as GPA and test scores. Don't get me wrong, you need the numbers, but transitioning across tracks is more possible at that level. Working in cellular physiology and medicine was a great way to learn to program as without the dozens of problems to solve at every turn I would have been less of a programmer than I became (which is still mediocre at best!). This background was completely acceptable to a number of M.S. programs I contacted during one 'fork in the road' phase of my life a century ago. Given the extreme demand for STEM related jobs, I don't think this flexibility is going to go away. It is supply and demand driven.

=============================================================== From: Ed King ------------------------------------------------------ degree or not, if a programmer ain't got "the fire" (enthusiasm) then they're just breathing someone else's air and probably got into CS thinking it was a path to easy money but yes, I've worked with some folks who had little or no formal CS training and they impressed me more than, say, pompous assholes who brag about having umpteen years experience but it takes them 2 months to rewrite a simple php page, lol no animals were harmed during the production of this email

=============================================================== From: Mike Harrison ------------------------------------------------------ So in many cases, the adage: "Those who can not DO, teach. " is true.

=============================================================== From: Andy Duncan ------------------------------------------------------ Did you happen to read:

=============================================================== From: Sean Brewer ------------------------------------------------------ The response in the second list on the first item made me cringe: "That=92s probably true for systems programmers. It=92s not really true for the remaining 99% of software engineers, the vast majority of which will never do pointer arithmetic and shouldn=92t really have to" So. stupid.

=============================================================== From: Dan Lyke ------------------------------------------------------ Someone passed that around on Twitter and: yeah, what he said. I would also add that "software engineering" is really nothing of the sort. It's a discipline closer to psychology and sociology (kind of the way you can tell that something isn't a science if it includes that word in its name), and so far as I can tell it involves wild speculation, followed by real-world trials that prove yet again that Fred Brooks got it right decades ago. And then office politics intervene and some company that's too cheap to even buy cubes decides to rationalize that decision with another software methodology, sells consulting to another service, and the next thing you know productivity's shot to hell and "pair programming" or "agile" or some similar bullshit is all the rage for another few months. Sigh. Dan

=============================================================== From: Aaron welch ------------------------------------------------------ Pair programming with the right pair really works. The guys I am referencing have worked together for the last 5+ years though. -AW

=============================================================== From: Andy Duncan ------------------------------------------------------ Yep.

=============================================================== From: Jason Brown ------------------------------------------------------ Pair programming is now spooning. Try not imagine the list members "working together" --Jason

=============================================================== From: Adam Jimerson ------------------------------------------------------ What will the Mercurial fan-boys come up with next...

=============================================================== From: Chad Smith ------------------------------------------------------ So if you work with someone to branch off a side project.... is that Sporking? *- Chad W. Smith** *