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Python

Submission + - The FEniCS Project reaches 1.0

wahgnube writes: "Mathematical modelling geeks rejoice! After 10 years of hard work, the FEniCS Project team is pleased to announce the release of FEniCS 1.0. FEniCS is an integrated problem solving environment for solving differential equations which often arise in mathematical modelling. Its goal is to allow researchers to easily pose their problems in a straightforward manner, so that they may focus on higher-level modelling questions and not be hindered by specific implementation issues. FEniCS is available for a multitude of platforms, with prebuilt binaries for Debian/Ubuntu, Mac OS X and Windows and is supported by extensive documentation. Download it today and check it out!"
Programming

The Best First Language For a Young Programmer 634

snydeq writes "Fatal Exception's Neil McAllister questions whether Scheme, a dialect of Lisp taught as part of many first-year CS curricula and considered by some to be the 'latin of programming,' is really the best first language for a young programmer. As he sees it, the essentially write-only Scheme requires you to bore down into the source code just to figure out what a Scheme program is trying to do — excellent for teaching programming but 'lousy for a 15-year-old trying to figure out how to make a computer do stuff on his own.' And though the 'hacker ethic' may in fact be harming today's developers, McAllister still suggests we encourage the young to 'develop the innate curiosity and love of programming that lies at the heart of any really brilliant programmer' by simply encouraging them to fool around with whatever produces the most gratifying results. After all, as Jeff Atwood puts it, 'what we do is craftmanship, not engineering,' and inventing effective software solutions takes insight, inspiration, deduction, and often a sprinkling of luck. 'If that means coding in Visual Basic, so be it. Scheme can come later.'"

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