Part I: A Philosophical Introduction

  1. Beyond the Cuckoo Clock

    • Man is a tool-using creature

    • First tools were extensions of our physical abilities

    • Medieval clock was first extension of our mind

    • Cuckoo clocks are analog computers--take input (swings of pendulum) and turn them into data (time representation)

    • Computers are digital computers, and infinitiely flexible (unike analog computers)

  2. Is There an Aesthetic of Programming?

    • discussion of algorithms as aesthetics
  3. The Ethical Quotient

    • ethical challenges: qualities of magnification, precision, alienation, believability, malleability of information, impermeability, and autonomy of operation

    • magnification: computers magnify our thought processes significantly, but have no conscience or controls beyond what we put on them

    • precision: instructions to a computer must be precise

    • alientation: computer isolates programmers and operators from the people affected by their actions/code. "Instead of seein the program as a real instrument affecting the lives of real people, programmers sometimes see it as a game, a challenge to their ingenuity. The alienating quality of the computer permits us to overlook the human consequences of a programming decision or error." This happens to users on the Internet as well.

    • believability: we believe the computer because it presents us with too much information to be able to effectively doubt any of it

    • malleability: data can change without us knowing it

    • impermeability: we cannot observe the computer, only its side effects and results

    • autonomy of operation: the computer is capable of acting without our intervention or supervision

Part II: The Structure of the Computer

  1. Types of Computers
  2. The Parts of a Computer
  3. The Construction of Memory
  4. On a Clear Disk You Can Seek Forever
  5. A Brief Interruption
  6. Operating Systems

Part III: Fundamental Tools of Programming

  1. The Language of the Machine
  2. Forms of Data Definition
  3. Classes and Types of Statements
  4. The Functional Program
  5. A Short Commentary
  6. Algorithms and Objects

Part IV: The Programmer's Trade

  1. The Moth in the Machine
  2. The Real World Out There
  3. The Limitations of Design
  4. Programming as Abstraction and Reflection

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Last modified 06 April 2022