[prog] Who were your best CompSci teachers?

Robert J. Hansen rjh at sixdemonbag.org
Tue Apr 8 11:21:28 EST 2003

> something).  I have also met many people that *think* they are competent in 
> these areas because they have been programming for a long time, but in 
> reality they know nothing about basic algorithms or making things efficient 

Last year I was helping my old CS prof out with his classes, in an
unofficial capacity: due to a retirement in the department, he found
himself swamped with work and unable to put in the hours in the CS lab
which he'd formerly done.  I was between contracting jobs and
volunteered to sit in instead.  I got the benefit of the university's
fat pipe, and the students got the benefit of a CS professional around
to answer questions, help out with code, etc.

One junior (3rd-year Uni student, for non-Americans) asked me for
pointers on how to sort a large array.  I told him to look in Knuth's
"Sorting and Searching" to learn about good sorts, and then check the
Java API to see if a good sort existed.  If so, use it; if not, write a
sort; and if he had trouble understanding Knuth, he should come back and
talk to me.

Two hours later he asked me to look over his code.  He'd hand-hacked his
own bubblesort instead of using Java's built-in mergesort.  He couldn't
figure out why it was taking so long to sort a million-element array...

So yeah.  I echo what Andrea said.  :)

Robert J. Hansen <rjh at sixdemonbag.org>

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