miércoles, 7 de mayo de 2008

Programming as a Threory Building

Debido al curso que estoy dando en la UCA, volví a reeler el paper de Peter Naur que se llama "Programming as a Theory Building".

Es interesante que cuando uno relee lecturas, le impresionan partes distintas a las lecturas anteriores. Eso me pasó esta vez, donde lo que más me impresionó fue esta parte donde habla del "status" del programador: (si quieren leer todo el artículo, vayan a http://www.zafar.se/bkz/Articles/NaurProgrammingTheory)

"More generally, much current discussion of programming seems to assume that programming is similar to industrial production, the programmer being regarded as a component of that production, a component that has to be controlled by rules of procedure and which can be replaced easily. Another related view is that human beings perform best if they act like machines, by following rules, with a consequent stress on formal modes of expression, which make it possible to formulate certain arguments in terms of rules of formal manipulation. Such views agree well with the notion, seemingly common among persons working with computers, that the human mind works like a computer. At the level of industrial management these views support treating programmers as workers of fairly low responsibility, and only brief education.

On the Theory Building View the primary result of the programming activity is the theory held by the programmers. Since this theory by its very nature is part of the mental possession of each programmer, it follows that the notion of the programmer as an easily replaceable component in the program production activity has to be abandoned. Instead the programmer must be regarded as a responsible developer and manager of the activity in which the computer is a part. In order to fill this position he or she must be given a permanent position, of a status similar to that of other professionals, such as engineers and lawyers, whose active contributions as employers of enterprises rest on their intellectual proficiency.

The raising of the status of programmers suggested by the Theory Building View will have to be supported by a corresponding reorientation of the programmer education. While skills such as the mastery of notations, data representations, and data processes, remain important, the primary emphasis would have to turn in the direction of furthering the understanding and talent for theory formation. To what extent this can be taught at all must remain an open question. The most hopeful approach would be to have the student work on concrete problems under guidance, in an active and constructive environment."

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