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Is Computer Science Dead?

That's the question a British lecturer is asking at the British Computing Society Web site. You can find Neil McBride's opinion piece here.

McBride calls out issues we've chewed over before -- including the decline in computer science enrollment at U.S. universities and efforts to bolster interest. But the piece comes back to a visceral theme: In an era of visual programming languages where 8-year-old kids can program robots with a drag-and-drop interface, is there really any room left for steely-eyed assembly coders?

McNeil has a point. But his descriptions of the halcyon day of programming also bring to mind a favorite quote, from political humorist P.J. O'Rourke in his book All the Trouble in the World:

"In general, life is better than it ever has been, and if you think that, in the past, there was some golden age of pleasure and plenty to which you would, if you were able, transport yourself, let me say one single word: 'dentistry.'"

What do you think? Should we be pining for the good old days of bare metal programming, where men were men and coders wrote in assembly language? Or can we expect .NET and managed code and a parade of other well-intentioned abstractions to carry us forward to a brighter day?

Let me hear your thoughts at [email protected].

Posted by Michael Desmond on 03/14/2007

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