Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs

The cover of Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs by Abelson and Sussman
The first full university course I taught was Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs. This was an introductory course in Computer Science. Back in those days, it was still considered a good idea that the students should have a good grounding in all the major programming paradigms rather than merely learning to program in Java, so a Lisp-based course which covered functional, imperative, object-oriented and logic programming, interpreted and compiled programs, was just the thing.

Furthermore, the lectures were done on video by Hal Abelson and Gerry Sussman, so I did not actually have to lecture myself. I was there to answer questions, go through the exercises and in general help out. This was something I enjoyed and I made the most of it. Not only had I read the book and seen the film, but the preceding summer I had entirely unexpectedly actually met Abelson and Sussman during a visit to MIT and gotten their autographs. I had also bought the T-shirt. I wore this the first lecture, certain it would make an impression on the students, and all during the rest of the course I tried to match my clothing to the subject of the day.

Now, one of my students from those days mailed me to tell me that the video lectures have been put online. So download them, watch them and see what a really good introductory CS course can be like.

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mayur said...
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