Long lost lament of knowledge not needed ...

Looking at a former exam paper from the early eighties, covering my fave subject of computer science. Some posting about it on twitter are taking a default position of lamenting all that is lost, such as the skill of working out floating point numbers from the binary.

In some part I agree, there is clear evidence of dumbing down, this is a CSE paper and the C level skill is missing from many higher qualifications today. But, let's stop and think for a moment, professionally how many of us actually apply some of these abstract skills.

From an understanding perspective it is useful, but most programmers seldom need to know the detailed mathematical principle behind each of the numerical primitives they use. Yes, they need to know what it is, but seldom such detail.

The complex skills now lie in many other areas, but in some intellectual attempt to return to the womb of our learning long gone. We do lament the loss of topics that may not be so critical as we would like to think.


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