[xquery-talk] XML/XQuery academic conferences ?

G. Ken Holman gkholman at CraneSoftwrights.com
Thu Oct 13 12:15:17 PDT 2011

At 2011-10-13 11:42 -0700, Ken North wrote:
> >> In the '50's, computer science did not exist officially at the
> >>science-intensive institution of MIT
>Although the ACM was founded in 1947, the first student chapter wasn't formed
>until 1960.
>I once took an assembly language programming class that was taught by someone
>who'd been programming computers in the 1950s.
>His descriptions of that era sounded as though programmers were members of a
>small select group or club. He knew a 'member' in El Paso, a few in 
>Boston and
>D.C. and so on. It sounded like there were so few that he knew most people in
>the US who were programming.
>How many computers were there?
>The IBM 1401, introduced in 1958, was IBM's most popular mid-sized 
>computer. IBM
>sold 13,000 over the next eight years.

A 1401 was the first computer I programmed on ... in FORTRAN 4 
(WATFIV) ... I still remember the day:  June 30, 1971.  I can't 
believe that was over 40 years ago.

I don't have a PhD, and for my undergraduate degree I didn't do very 
well in any of the classes related to grammars and parsing and such 
because I was more interested in real-time programming and 
programming languages.

But I did learn "how to learn computer science (and other topics)" 
and I did learn "how to apply what you learn in computer science (and 
other topics)" and I've had a successful career in XML because of 
having those skills to get me started.  I graduated before SGML was 
finalized and didn't hear about SGML until 10 years after it was standardized.

I still don't how to write XML processors or XSLT processors 
"properly" from scratch, but I know how to apply them and get results 
for my customers.  I like to think some of my accomplishments for my 
customers and for my standards volunteer work in the XML arena would 
have earned me a PhD somewhere for original thinking of how to use 
these technologies, though I'll never know and I wouldn't want that 
bubble burst so please don't tell me I'm wrong to think that.

I think demonstrated "ability to learn" is more important than a 
shopping list of "computer languages I've read in the 
past".  Academia isn't the only place where one learns how to learn, 
but I'm probably disposed to think a graduate has had more guidance 
in doing so.

I can't expect a graduate (or non-graduate) to know an XML vocabulary 
I've just published publicly as part of a standard, but I can expect 
them, whatever their background, to figure out what it does and how 
to work with it.

. . . . . . . . . . . . Ken

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