How to Think Like a Computer Scientist

I got an email from Scientific American Programming as a Way of Thinking written by Allen Downey. He is saying all the right things, and I downloaded his book Think Python.

It starts off like this:

The goal of this book is to teach you to think like a computer scientist. This way of thinking combines some of the best features of mathematics, engineering, and natural science. Like mathematicians, computer scientists use formal languages to denote ideas (specifically computations). Like engineers, they design things, assembling components into systems and evaluating tradeoffs among alternatives. Like scientists, they observe the behavior of complex systems, form hypotheses, and test predictions.

The single most important skill for a computer scientist is problem solving. Problem solving means the ability to formulate problems, think creatively about solutions, and express a solution clearly and accurately. As it turns out, the process of learning to program is an excellent opportunity to practice problem-solving skills. That’s why this chapter is called “The Way of the Program”.

There is only one problem with this – people are no longer interested in Science, and instead, are against it!

And this includes Computer Science. I worked in the Computer industry for twenty years – and I watched as company after company turned out defective software – and put itself out of business! Good programming cannot happen in a society determined to destroy itself.

But I downloaded the Anaconda software, joined the Anaconda Cloud. And started reading the book.

What interests me, more than anything – is the many social problems we are faced with. How can software be used to solve these people problems? The answer was in my inbox – Fintech is the application of Software to Finance.

If we want to get our Economy under control – and that’s a big “If” – Software can help us do this.


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