Attending an on-line course on compilers

Posted on 2012/10/14

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I am currently attending an on-line class on compilers at Coursera, that I already mentioned in a previous blog post.

The course (prepared and lead by Professor Alex Aiken) is very interesting, and mixes formal theory with practical applications. At the end the students will be able to code a complete compiler, and they will be aware of the internals of many important modern compilers.

Since I was working in the industry for so many years, I forgot how much theory there is in academics. It puts my programming in perspective, and it’s really humbling to think that most of the coding that goes on daily, while good enough and working in practice, is so far away from something that could be proven right by math and logic.

What I did not expect was that the course is so intense, in terms of time that I need to invest in it every week. Since it has deadlines for assignments and exercises, I’m forced to keep the rapid pace of the lectures and at the end of the working day I find myself lacking the time to do anything else, for example updating my blog or progressing in any other personal project. The good thing is that by the end of December the course will end and I will have accomplished something, and I will be free to do any other activity, with another important tool in my baggage.

Posted in: Software