RE: [-empyre-] ~~NMR

> I think there are numerous approaches to New Media,
> and one based on CS, even on an intro level,
> would leave a lot of students behind or uninterested

Conversely(?), students of computer science with artistic aspirations are
starved within computer science. At least that was the case back in the
early nineties; hopefully it is changing. I only managed three years of a
computer science/math program. In the fourth year, I had to take a very poor
course in databases; the most exciting material was about explicit sets and
empty relationships. It was annoying to be the only one laughing, so I quit.
Daddy databases mommy databases baby databases. The exciting course was the
one about 'Language and the Theory of Computation' in third year. It was
taught by a comp sci daddy database kind of a guy, though. Later, I met the
fellow (actually the Mike Fellows) who usually teaches that course when he
came to a poetry reading series I hosted. I told him that I really enjoyed
the course and had written during
the course as a kind of response to the exciting material. He read that poem
to his class. We became friends and collaborated on some puzzles, one of
which is CoLoRaTiOn at . I went to his wedding
in San Diego; the wedding was on the beach and at the end of the ceremony
the bride and groom went boogy boarding. Mike is teaching now in Australia
and has established a new approach to complexity analysis called
'parameterized complexity theory'. When he was here in Canada, every month
or so a bunch of us (mainly Mike and his grad students) would do an evening
with kids in a gymnasium. We'd make materials like big tarps on which were
drawn diagrams that defined games/puzzles, based on the mathematics of
computer science, that kids could play on in groups to understand things
like sorting algorithms in parallel computing environments and compare those
in their complexity with non-parallel sorting algorithms. He is a great
populizer of the math of computer science. The kids went through the roof
with excitement about it, often (as did the parents) and it gave many of
them their first sense of the fun and relevance of mathematics. And computer
science. Education should light a fire.

So all the fun stuff (and perhaps much of the real learning) in computer
science typically happens, if at all, more or less outside the departmental
torpor that defines the culture of math and computer science where big
widget industry chuffs along. As I've mentioned in a post or two, the
culture of math and computer science is, too often, unnecessarily
intellectually torturous, strongly affiliated with the quotidian forces of
dullness, mechanization, the military industrial entertainment sector, and
generally sucketh. Art and science need to be closer together to save the
world from the forces of dullness, the forces of heavily machined banality.
That should be part of the agenda of any New Media department.


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