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The Art, Science, and Engineering of Programming

  • Programs are liminal artefacts.
  • Programming languages, in contrast to natural ones, are invented or designed. They are, thus, artefacts. They entail the use of notation as symbols. As we will see, a programming language is actually a set of symbol structures and, being independent of physical computers, are abstract in exactly the same sense that algorithms are abstract. We thus have the curious situation that while programs written in such languages are liminal, the languages of programming themselves are abstract.

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Computational Artefacts

  • The modern computer is a hierarchically organized system of computational artefacts.
  • Hierarchical organization is a means of managing the complexity of an entity.
  • Computational artefacts are made things; they process symbol structures signifying information,...

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Algorithmic Thinking

  • Algorithms are abstract artefacts.
  • They are procedural knowledge.
  • In order for a procedure to qualify as an algorithm as computer scientists understand this concept, it must possess the following attributes (as first enunciated by Donald Knuth):
  • Finitenes...

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56 reads

Computational Thinking

  • Most sciences in the modern era—say, after the Second World War—are so technical, indeed esoteric, that their deeper comprehension remains largely limited to the specialists, the community of those sciences’ practitioners. Think, for example, of the modern physics of fundamental particles. A...

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31 reads

The Discipline of Computer Architecture

  • The physical computer is the fundamental material computational artefact of interest to computer scientists.
  • The view of the physical computer as an abstract, symbol processing computational artefact constitutes the computer’s architecture.
  • A given architect...

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The Stuff of Computing

  • In its most fundamental essence, the stuff of computing is symbol structures (systems of symbols, that is, entities that ‘stand for’, represent, or denote other entities like data, information or knowledge).
  • Computing is symbol processing
  • Any automaton cap...

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239 reads

Heuristic Computing

  • Many problems are not conducive to algorithmic solutions.
  • Even if one understands the problem well enough, and possesses knowledge about the problem domain, and can construct an algorithm to solve the problem, the amount of computational resources (time or space) needed to execute th...

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34 reads

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Computational Artefacts

  • The modern computer is a hierarchically organized system of computational artefacts.
  • Hierarchical organization is a means of managing the complexity of an entity.
  • Computational artefacts are made things; they process symbol structures signifying information,...

The Stuff of Computing

  • In its most fundamental essence, the stuff of computing is symbol structures (systems of symbols, that is, entities that ‘stand for’, represent, or denote other entities like data, information or knowledge).
  • Computing is symbol processing
  • Any automaton cap...

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