Is Programming Art or Science? | Brian Kernighan and Lex Fridman | Summary and Q&A

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July 19, 2020
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Is Programming Art or Science? | Brian Kernighan and Lex Fridman

TL;DR

Programming is a combination of art and science, requiring creativity and rigor to create good programs that meet user needs.

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Questions & Answers

Q: Is programming more of an art or a science?

Programming is a combination of both. The art aspect involves understanding user needs and figuring out what the program should be. The science aspect involves using the right algorithms and data structures for efficiency and scalability.

Q: How does engineering come into play in programming?

Engineering in programming involves considering constraints such as time, future maintenance, and the needs of future programmers. Engineers need to find the most appropriate solutions given these constraints.

Q: What is the process of writing a program like?

The process is often informal and incremental. Small programs are more common, especially for experiments or data analysis. It involves tinkering with code and evolving iteratively rather than detailed planning.

Q: What kind of programs does the speaker typically write?

The speaker writes relatively small programs, often for experiments or data analysis. They may use existing tools or write scripts for exploring and analyzing data. Larger programs are less common.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Programming is a combination of art and science, where the art is the process of figuring out what the program should be and understanding user needs, while the science is the technical aspects of writing efficient algorithms and using appropriate data structures.

  • Programming is also an engineering field, where engineers need to consider constraints such as time, maintenance, and future usage.

  • The process of writing a program is often informal and incremental, with small programs being more common for experiments or data analysis.

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