535 reputation
29
bio website lebigot.pip.verisignlabs.com
location Beijing, China
age 40
visits member for 3 years, 9 months
seen Apr 24 at 7:01

Physicist. Open-source programmer. Science & IT consultant. Music composer.

Have been loving science since 1980.

Started programming in 1983. Worked with a dozen languages (imperative [Python, C++, IDL,…], functional [Caml], stack-based [Postscript, HP RPL], constraint-based [Prolog], flow-based [LabView], and assembly [Motorola 68000, HP Saturn]).

Have been working with Unix since 1994.

Started programming in Python in 2006, and still loving it! Have been teaching Python to researchers, engineers and graduate students since 2009.


Feb
19
awarded  Caucus
Sep
28
awarded  Yearling
Sep
26
comment Why Java as a First Language?
@ViliamBúr: The "short", 5- (or 3-) linee example that you refer to is a very good example of how Java is indeed way more verbose than Python's print "Hello". (My comment was not about liking Java or not.)
Nov
21
comment Is it essential to learn algorithms to be a real programmer?
+1 for such a "modern" comment. Learning and teaching algorithms should be reserved to people who really need to implement them.
Nov
21
comment Is it essential to learn algorithms to be a real programmer?
I agree with the importance of knowing about algorithm complexity ("big O notation"). However, I strongly disagree with the "absolutely" answer to the "is it essential to learn algorithms to be a real programmer"; in fact, learning Python well is much more useful than knowing how to sort a list (since Python sorts lists for you) or how Python handles dictionaries (which Python programmer ever needed to implement a hashing mechanism?), etc. Historically, people have learned algorithms because they're language did not provide them out of the box; the modern era is different.
Nov
14
comment Objective-C As A First OOP Language?
+1: I like this pragmatic approach that also recommends following one's itches.
Nov
14
comment Objective-C As A First OOP Language?
+1. I would personally recommend learning OOP with Python, because objects are easier to create in Python than in C++, and because Python uses the structures that the original poster mentioned (lists, hash tables/dictionaries, etc.).
Nov
9
comment Drag-n-drop programming - would it fly?
I would strongly disagree, here: the complexity of many real-life programs is way too high for being fully represented graphically. All the people whom I know who (1) known how to program and (2) have used LabView for a larger project have discovered that the graphical representation is inherently too heavy for working productively on larger projects. Sure, LabView is very convenient when your program fits on a single screen; but when your program starts to grow beyond the limits of a single screen, LabView is hard to use efficiently (no simple text search, rearranging blocks is painful,…).
Nov
2
answered Will Python developers find it easier to learn C (and vice versa)?
Oct
24
comment Is Perl still a useful, viable language?
@ThorbjørnRavnAndersen: Yep, that's why doing the same thing in Python through the -c option would be longer. :)
Oct
24
comment Is Perl still a useful, viable language?
@ThorbjørnRavnAndersen: Agreed, for one liners: Python's oneliners (-c option) are indeed longer. :)
Oct
24
comment Is Perl still a useful, viable language?
While Perl is very good at handling text through its regular expressions, there is no need to go through it if you know Python or Ruby (or maybe PHP), I would say, since they are also very good with regular expressions. Python is a little more verbose, though, but it is also certainly cleaner.
Oct
23
comment Learning Python from Beginner to Advanced level
@ldigas: OK, I'll trust you on this. :)
Oct
23
comment Learning Python from Beginner to Advanced level
@TomSquires: I would argue that using Python is more productive than using R, for mathematical/statistical calculations: (1) the rpy package gives access to R functions; (2) Python is arguably more general, expressive and easy to use.
Oct
23
comment Learning Python from Beginner to Advanced level
@Idigas: While MATLAB is good at mathematical calculations, Python does offer similar capabilities (through the NumPy, SciPy and Matplotlib packages), and is definitely better at more general computing tasks (like extracting information from web pages, from text files, manipulating complex data structures, graphical user interfaces, etc.). So, it does make sense to go beyond MATLAB if one is interested in a little more than pure mathematical calculations.
Sep
29
awarded  Yearling
Jul
30
comment Can you actually produce high quality code if you are sleep deprived?
+1 for adding the idea that uninterrupted time can be quality time (but only in reasonable doses).
Jul
30
comment Can you actually produce high quality code if you are sleep deprived?
@Justin: +1, but not all really good programmers use a compiler (they may use, say, Python). :)
Mar
19
comment Why isn't Lisp more widespread?
@dbyrne: What do you mean by "expressive languages"? languages that do "lots" of things in only a few instructions, like APL?
Mar
17
comment Why Java as a First Language?
thank you for pointing this out. Glad to see that we're on the same wavelength. :)