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kids say the darndest things

TA’ing 20.181 is often a joy.  case in point, lecture today.

drew endy: software engineers trying to outrace hardware engineers and moore’s law are like john henry trying to beat that tunneling machine.

student: who’s john henry?

drew endy: [slightly at a loss for words] … oh, you know, there was this mountain and there was this machine trying to dig through it … and one man was trying to stand up to them.

student: [with growing understanding] oh yeah, that was the matrix!

fittingly, even the class ended on a confused note:

drew:  “i shouldn’t have told you about those nuclear weapons lab simulations.”
[mind you, this is a biological engineering class.]

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5 Responses to “kids (and drew) say the darndest things”

  1. on 30 Nov 2006 at 12:07 am Alex

    What does it mean for software engineers to try to outrace hardware engineers and Moore’s Law [or why would they try to do so] ? Moore’s law is a software engineer’s best friend: it allows us to write ever-more complex software with the assurance that, at some point in the future, it’ll actually run at a decent speed :-)

  2. on 30 Nov 2006 at 12:07 am Alex

    But, also: damn, ‘The Matrix’ ?? What do they teach you kids nowadays ;-) ?

  3. on 30 Nov 2006 at 12:31 am Lawrence David

    it was a bit of a confusing point.

    drew was arguing that if something needs to be sped up by 2X, a software engineer who takes > 18 months to do so will likely be out of a job in about 18 months.

    of course, being a programmer, i’d argue that anyone who can reduce running times on the software side is only doing good …

    and heh, i’d like to think the kid knew who john henry was and simply did a good job of thinking laterally :)

  4. on 30 Nov 2006 at 11:59 pm Lala

    hey lawrence… no i didn’t take those shots of brian viloria! he’s actually a professional boxer that i saw on hbo two weeks ago. what should’ve been a victory for him ended up in an unfair draw. i searched for him on the internet, found him on myspace, and emailed him how ray and i felt about this. to my suprise, he actually emailed back – and we ended up emailing back and forth 3-4 times afterwards. cool guy!

    and yes, kids do say the darndest things. although your “kids” wouldn’t really qualify as kids.

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