Archive for May, 2010

Is C++ the worst 1st programming language for maths majors?

7 May, 2010

In our department we have a 1-semester course called “Introduction to scientific programming”, that is taught to the 1st year undergrads. It is C++-based. I am arguing for years that it is a real waste, and only good for getting people dazed and confused, and that instead something like Python should be used.

The choice of Python is basically due to it being interpreted, (largely) untyped, and higher level than C/C++.
(And last but not least, free, unlike Maple, Matlab, and Mathematica, which might be marginally more useful to a maths major).

Here is a ranking of programming languages in industry. Inevitably biased in some ways, I suppose it still demonstrates that claimed “superiority” of C++ is nowhere to be seen…