Fundamentals of Computer Science II (CSC-152 2000S)

Responses to Questions and Comments from Introductory Survey

You may also want to look at my responses from last semester, my responses to questions from CSC105 and my responses to questions from CSC364.


How do you feel about snow?

I love it. I grew up in New England with a one-block street behind my house that always ended up serving as a sledding hill. I don't mind the cold that much, and I like playing in the snow (although I've certainly had less energy for it as I've gotten older and had kids).

Do you believe in G-d?

Yes, although I have trouble pinning down exactly what I mean by ``G-d''.

What do you watch on television?

Dharma and Greg. Football. The Simpsons (once in a while). Whatever my wife or children want to watch.

What makes you genuinely ecstatic?

My kids. A particularly successful job at teaching. Finishing a huge project.

What places have you considered home?

Newton, MA. Chicago, IL. Grinnell.

What is your favorite form of government?

Somewhere on the socialist side of democratic.

Do you believe that anything is possible?

Nope. I've seen formal proofs to the contrary.

Do you care about the environment?

You talked about ``dead trees'' in class. Do you care about the environment a lot?

I do care about the environment, and particularly worry about the amount of paper we generate and discard in this department. In the past, I found that students printed almost everything I put on the Web. These days, many of you are finding ways to use the online versions, which makes me happy.

Do you like Glenn Miller?

I enjoy Glenn Miller, but must admit that my tastes don't often run toward big-band music. You can get a sense of my tastes from the CDs I've listened to recently.

Do you like pistachio ice cream?

I am alergic to nuts and therefore avoid pistacio ice cream. Sorry.

What do you do on the weekend?

What kinds of fun things do you do in Grinnell on the weekends? Do you hang out with the other computer science profs?

I tend to do fun things with my kids on the weekend. In winter, that sometimes means sledding, although we also try to take the kidsd swimming every Sunday. Sometimes we leave town for Des Moines or Iowa City (or even Chicago). The CS faculty occasionally get together, but probably not much more than one or twice per semester. The Rebelskys are more likely to get together with other faculty with kids about the same age as our kids.


Why do you teach?

I like helping students learn, and I seem to do it relatively well. I also enjoy the challenges of teaching---finding new ways to explain material and to help students learn better.

Why do you teach computer science?

I like problem solving. Computer science emphasizes problem solving and also allows you to construct artifacts that help solve problems. Since I like computer science and I like to teach, I teach computer science.

Do you enjoy the chaos that is your office?

Not really. I actually prefer a neat and tidy office. Unfortunately, I'm usually so over-committed that I end up piling project on top of project on top of project. We'll see if I can do any better this semester.

Which language have you most enjoyed programming in?

While I enjoy programming, I find that many languages hinder my programming in different ways. For example, while I very much enjoy writing ``higher-order'' functions in Scheme, I find that I/O in Scheme is less pleasant than I'd like. At various times, I've made C, Haskell, Pascal, Hypertalk, Perl, and Java my primary language.

Are you always in the MathLAN?

I saw you a lot in the MathLAN last semester. Are you always there?

While I'd much prefer to be home with my family, my workload often requires that I be in the office late at night. When I'm here, I always make sure to check in the MathLAN (after all, it's right next door to my office) to see if my students have any problems.

What kind of programming do you do?

I am slightly curious as to the type of programming you do. What I mean is, when you came out of school, what kind of work were you looking to do? Games, utilities, etc.

I went to a school that had a similar perspective to Grinnell: You study what you find fun and interesting and don't think too much about what you'll do next. I was a math major as an undergraduate, and I guess I expected to go on to graduate school. I did, but as a CS grad student. After grad school, I planned to go into academia, so there wasn't a particular type of programming I wanted to do. I wanted to come up with good ideas (i.e., do research) and to teach. These days, most of my programming is for Web applications and utilities.

Education vs. research

You seem to be more interested in education than research. Is this true?

I'm interested in both education and research. I couldn't give up the research side of my career. At the same time, I couldn't give up teaching (although I'd certainly prefer not to teach three courses in one semester).

The Course

Will you bring us Krispy Kreme doughnuts?

Is there a Krispy Kreme closer to us than the ones in Des Moines? I will try to bring you treats once in a while. If time permits, I may even bake you cookies.

Will we be doing graphics?

Will we be doing graphic output? Will it be specific to Unix?

We will do simple graphics in Java. Java's graphics are platform independent, so what works in the MathLAN should also work on PCs and Macs.

Can I get a tutor?

Can I get a tutor for this class?

Certainly. You can try to identify one on your own, or chat with me about possible tutors. Last semester, Dima Krivin, Rachel Heck, and Andrew Kensler all tutored folks in the class, and all of them did a good job. Vivek should also do a great job, and I can think of many other folks who would, too.

I believe you follow the ``normal'' process to get a tutor: identify a person, talk to the folks in academic advising, fill out paperwork, confirm with me.


Monday, 17 January 2000

Tuesday, 25 January 2000

Wednesday, 26 January 2000

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