More Thoughts on Education

This is a follow-up post to one I wrote yesterday about education and new chip technologies. Well, the whole post wasn't about that. But part of it was.

On the flight home, after I wrote the post, I sat next to a rather brilliant Georgia Tech EE and chatted a bit about this issue with him. He's a lot more recent from school than I am and has spent a lot more time on campuses then I have in general.

His observation was very different from what I've heard. He talked about huge grants from private industry and government, research centers set up by private industry at universities and all of the micro-technology research and development that goes on at these places. So maybe the outlook isn't grim at all - at least in many schools.

My guess is that there's a bit of a "have" and "have-not" scenario going on here. If young folk can get to the good schools, the money and the technology is there. If not, then it's a case, like I mentioned, of being Punch-cardprepared for a job that doesn't exist anymore. So, maybe we should be proud of parts of our educational system and yet still looking for places to help with the "have-not" schools.

When I started school to learn how to program, we were still using - yes, it's true - punch cards. We'd write up our COBAL, RPG II and FORTRAN programs in punch cards and feed the deck of cards into an ancient boat-anchor of a card reader to be sent across the state to run at a University computer (An Amdahl 370). In short, we were being prepared for jobs twenty years in the past. It was like time-travel. We did eventually get a little Prime mini computer and a bunch of Apple IIs, but the card reader stayed on as well so I certainly understand this issue.

Duane Benson
Herman Hollerith says "what?"

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