The School of Engineering and Applied Science is moving to require a different computer science class for its technical Core Curriculum, starting with the class of 2016.
Under the new system, a course focusing on algorithmic thinking and the programming language Python will replace the current required class, which focuses on Java, said Logan Donovan, SEAS ’13 and Engineering Student Council vice president of policy, at the ESC meeting on Monday night.
Donovan, after meeting with computer science professor Adam Cannon, said that faculty in 11 out of the 16 SEAS majors have officially agreed to the change and that Cannon is awaiting word of the other five.
“I’m really in favor of this. This will be a good quantitative, problem-solving course and will give students more quantitative, applicable skills to higher-level courses,” Donovan said.
Donovan said that she first heard about transitioning to a Python-based programming course last spring. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Georgia Institute of Technology have already established Python-based courses.
Tim Qin, SEAS ’13, University senator and ESC president-elect, said that he is also in favor of the change to the SEAS curriculum.
“Based on what I’ve heard last year and this year, it would seem that Python’s relevant to today and developing new technology,” Qin said. Pointing out that Python is easier to learn than Java and more peer schools are using Python, he said, “It seems reasonable for us to push towards that.”
Aspects of the programming language MATLAB covered in the current course would be incorporated more into the curriculum for Gateway, the required first-year engineering class.