[opensource] RESOLVE

Shaun Rowland rowland at cse.ohio-state.edu
Mon Feb 9 12:49:39 EST 2009

On Feb 9, 2009, at 10:10 AM, Tyler Sampson wrote:

> Again, don't focus on the German/English thing. I wasn't trying to  
> get into a debate about Indo-European languages :)

We didn't really. It's an analogy war :-)

> My argument also didn't have anything to do with ECE/CSE majors. It  
> focused entirely on the content of the series, for all students. Let  
> me restate my point (new line for emphasis):

No, but that does seem to be part of the thrust for change.

> The Resolve sequence works fine to introduce programming concepts,  
> but if it is possible to do the same thing using a "real"  
> programming language, why not do it?
> I still have yet to see a compelling argument explaining this. I'm  
> not arguing that the entire method should be changed, or that  
> switching from the current sequence to one taught in Java would be  
> an easy transition. What I'm arguing is simply what I stated above.

My goal is not to keep it using C++ or to move it to Java. The
arguments so far for changing are weak, and they don't even
offer insights into the cost/benefit analysis of if the change
is worth enough to disrupt what is already accomplishing the goal.
I'm sure everyone has an opinion on how worthy these goals are
too. On this I am certain some of us would clearly disagree,
especially those who are implementing the solution.

> Also, while I agree with Aaron that the formal math specs are a  
> little overkill, I don't agree that design by contract should be  
> done away with. In fact, it's a very useful concept and a great way  
> to think about programming. The problem is that, as Aaron pointed  
> out, very, very few places would ever think about going into that  
> amount of mathematical rigor when designing software. It takes way  
> too much time in real-world situations. I have read the research  
> papers posted about how a company did use Resolve's formal math  
> contracts and thereafter had very few problems with bugs. That's all  
> well and great, but the problem is that simply nobody does that.  
> Until that practice is more widely accepted, it is pointless to  
> force students to do that. Well, not pointless. It might be a good  
> exercise to make students do this for a quarter (221) to get them  
> thinking in these terms, but to force it for 3 quarters is a little  
> harsh.

It is pointless to enforce these important ideas because industry
is too stupid to put them into use? I thought we were at a
university? Software development practices in industry should
not be dictating teaching that comes from research - a university
education. Man, why do I have to take GECs when I come here?
Oh, wait, I should have went somewhere to get a different type
of degree where I would concentrate on my focus areas technical
aspects and my industries "best practices" only.

This argument will be used against that type of argument right
away. You need more...

> Finally, I do agree with Wyatt that on day 1, the 221 instructor  
> should present an explanation of why Resolve is taught. Does this  
> happen? If it did when I was in there I don't remember.

I don't know if they do. I don't think that's a bad idea, but I am
not sure you can convince those who have nothing to base the
discussion on.
Shaun Rowland
rowland at cse.ohio-state.edu

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