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Wired: MIT Everyware

Aug 27, 2003, 22:00 (5 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by David Diamond)

[ Thanks to Jason Greenwood for this link. ]

"Lam Vi Quoc negotiates his scooter through Ho Chi Minh City's relentless stream of pedal traffic and hangs a right down a crowded alley. He climbs the steep wooden stairs of the tiny house he shares with nine family members, passing by his mother, who is stooped on the floor of the second level preparing lunch. He ascends another set of even steeper steps to the third level and settles on a stool at a small desk, pushing aside the rolled-up mat he sleeps on with one of his brothers. To the smell of a chicken roasting on a grill in the alley and the clang of the next-door neighbor's metalworking operation, Lam turns on his Pentium 4 PC, and soon the screen displays Lecture 2 of Laboratory in Software Engineering, a course taught each semester on the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 'Here,' he says, pointing at the screen. 'This is where I got the idea to use decoupling as a way of integrating two programs.'

"In a huge brick house that Evan Hoff shares with three other guys in Nashville, the 20-year-old brings up the MIT Web site and connects to the same material Lam is studying halfway around the world. 'This is the lecture on data abstraction,' Hoff explains. 'I went over this in community college, but that class only took it so far. This teaches you about the three different specification conditions, the things you put in documentation to let future programmers know how to use it. In community college we covered only two of them...'"

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