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Guido van Rossum: Computer Programming for Everybody

Sep 09, 1999, 16:52 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Guido Van Rossum)

"This is the revised text of a funding proposal that we sent to DARPA in August 1999. In March, we heard that at least an earlier version of the proposal was accepted by DARPA; the work will begin late 1999 and last two years. The funding is enough for 1.5 full-time equivalents. We're keeping our fingers crossed for the full proposal..."

"The two major research goals are the development of a prototype of a new programming curriculum and matching prototype software comprising a highly user-friendly programming environment. We envision that the typical target audience will consist of high school and (non-CS major) undergraduate college students, although younger students and adults will also be considered. Course and software will normally be used together, so they should be tightly tuned to each other; each will also be usable on its own..."

"We plan to start by basing both components on Python, a popular free interpreted object-oriented language [Python] [Lutz] [Watters]. Originally developed at CWI in Amsterdam, Python is currently being developed and maintained by CNRI. Python is extremely suitable for teaching purposes, without being a "toy" language: it is very popular with computer professionals as a rapid application development language. Python combines elements from several major programming paradigms (procedural, functional and object-oriented) with an elegant syntax that is easy on the eyes and easy to learn and use. While we believe that Python is a good starting point, undoubtedly we will learn that improvements are possible. As part of our research, we will evaluate the effectiveness of Python for education and use by beginners, and design improvements or alternatives."

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