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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Key Insights

  • đŸĨ° Programming is a combination of art, science, and engineering, requiring a balance of creativity, technical skills, and consideration of constraints.
  • 🎨 The art of programming involves understanding user needs and determining the best program design.
  • đŸ”Ŧ The science of programming involves using efficient algorithms and appropriate data structures.
  • ⌛ Engineering in programming involves considering constraints such as time, maintenance, and future usage.
  • 🛩ī¸ The process of writing a program is often informal and incremental, with small programs being more common for experiments and data analysis.
  • đŸŒĨī¸ Different programming tasks may require different programming languages, with Python being suitable for larger programs.
  • đŸ’ŗ Programming can involve using existing tools or writing scripts for specific analysis tasks.

Transcript

so you said you're not a very good programmer you're the world's most modest human being okay but you'll continue saying that I understand how this works but you do radiate a sort of love for programming so let me ask do you think programming is more an art or science is it creativity or kind of rigor I think it's some of each it's some combination... Read More

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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