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Unity Anybody still interested in a SICP/Scheme study group?

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This topic, which is now retired, is interesting I was still wondering if those people and others were interested in doing a study group of sorts in the near future. edit: UPDATE well actually it's not much of an update but anyone who is interested in mentoring and (as in &&) have some ideas about the way the study group/workshop please post. if you're interested in learning in joining the study group, please post and say so [smile] [Edited by - Alpha_ProgDes on October 19, 2006 1:53:33 PM]

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I'd love learning Lisp.
How would a study group work? Is there a single resource we can all learn from?

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I'm not quite sure. I saw this thread (check link in OP) and wondered if those people or anyone else would still be interested in such a thing.



sidenote: it seems like we're having learning about X workshop threads (which turn in forums) every couple of months. how interesting :)

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I certainly would. I tried Scheme and SICP over the summer, but was never able to get very far. I guess something just didn't 'click', becaus I could never do anything more complicated than calculating fibonacci numbers. I'm thinking that a study group would help me.

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I certainly would be interested. I've read a chunk from the book, actually, and I do know enough Scheme. But I got distracted by a couple of busy weeks at work.

Perhaps a forum/newsgroup (e.g. google group) would work best?

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I've done nearly every problem in the book. Up until a few days ago (I have recently begun a sabbatical from IRC) I hung around in #scheme on freenode, providing free help and guidance to people struggling with problems. It's a great community, I recommend stopping by sometime if you are confused or would like further insight re: Scheme/SICP. Just make sure that you don't ask a question without making some effort to figure things out, and be polite.

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Well I'm no teacher. I just want to learn like everyone else. I wonder if we can get something going on this site before we go elsewhere. Also I'm wondering what does everyone think about the learning format. Should we agree to go a chapter a week or just asking free for all questions?

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Quote:
Original post by Alpha_ProgDes
Well I'm no teacher. I just want to learn like everyone else. I wonder if we can get something going on this site before we go elsewhere. Also I'm wondering what does everyone think about the learning format. Should we agree to go a chapter a week or just asking free for all questions?

Getting a forum or something on GameDev would be nice if there were enough mentors--it might be possible. I'll contact Richard later tonight and see if something can be done.

As for the learning format, I prefer that we have a Chapter-by-Chapter coverage of the book, and allowing questions in parallel. Something like the current C++ workshop (though I admit I've not checked it closely). From what I recall, one chapter per-week is probably going to be too steep for some (e.g. me. The text is dense, and the exercises usually take some time, and I don't have that much free time)

In the meantime, Alpha_ProgDes, I suggest that you take the lead in this venture if you have the time. You can add me at google talk or MSN as: mhaggag@<google's beta mail service>.

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I'd be happy to help mentor if you decided to create a workshop similar to the C++ one. But what kind of level of help do you see people requiring? Most of the people trying to work through SICP are already competent programmers, whereas the C++ workshop is generally starting from first principles. So maybe the same level of help isn't required. Or am I just forgetting how mystifying Scheme is at first when you've only programmed in C++ before? Maybe you want to get some of the newbies interested and help them learn a more beginner-friendly language than C++?

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Well from personal experience, I know that discussing and pointing out the differences in between programming in C++ and Scheme is very necessary. I know that concept went right over my head until the AP pointed it out to me. Once that's established I think the learning curve won't be too steep. I'll wait for Muhammad to give word on the forum front. Until then anyone who is interested in learning or mentoring should chime in.

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A chapter a week wouldn't be very feasible. The book has only 5 chapters, and the really most important parts of the book are the problems. Reading SICP is about as much help as reading any other technical book -- it's only going to help those who have already covered the material. The problems are the most important.

With that being said, I'm sure you could cover a meaningful subset in 12 weeks. Most courses that cover the book seem to do something along those lines; just focus on working a bunch of problems from chapters 1-3, and giving brief coverage of 4 and 5, with a small project from each.

As for the choice of Scheme environment, MIT/GNU Scheme has all the stuff you need (including code from the book). Scheme48 also has SICP code implemented on it. Of course, to be effective with these implementations you need to know emacs (although I think there are vim hacks for Scheme coding as well). For those of you who lack the courage to try learning a new language *and* a new editor, DrScheme is probably the easiest environment. I'm not sure how much of SICP has been implemented on it (the only reason I bring this up is that some of the projects are very inconvenient if you have to write all of the infrastructure yourself, this just depends on how long you want to spend on the book). But it basically gives you a big text box to type things into, and a button to click run. Who can be afraid of that?

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Quote:
Original post by Rebooted
I'd be happy to help mentor if you decided to create a workshop similar to the C++ one. But what kind of level of help do you see people requiring? Most of the people trying to work through SICP are already competent programmers, whereas the C++ workshop is generally starting from first principles. So maybe the same level of help isn't required. Or am I just forgetting how mystifying Scheme is at first when you've only programmed in C++ before? Maybe you want to get some of the newbies interested and help them learn a more beginner-friendly language than C++?

I agree that the same level of help won't be required with already-competent programmers, but I was hoping to get some beginners (to programming in general) interested. IMO, SICP is a good chance to get these people to learn programming right, and focus on what's important without any language cruft in the way.

As for Scheme, I actually found it much easier to learn than C or C++. Of course, I've learnt C/++ like 8 years ago, so I can't exactly remember the experience. However, one can start basic coding in Scheme after a 10 minute introduction or something. I certainly didn't learn C in 10 minutes [smile]

Finally, what do you think would be a good level/form of help to the already-competent programmers? I'd be interested in your take, since I know you're rather well-versed on the subject (been following your posts, mostly in ApochPIQ's new language thread)

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I think it would help if someone can lay out some feasable schedule for study, then we could work through the book at the same pace and discuss whatever comes up from reading and doing the problems. 12 weeks for first three chapters sounds ok to me, although I wouldn't mind extending this period to cover 4 and 5.

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Quote:
Original post by Muhammad Haggag
Finally, what do you think would be a good level/form of help to the already-competent programmers?
Programmers will find it easier to pick things up and work through exercises themselves than beginners. They are more likely to be confused by differences in the underlying style of programming which conflict with their previous experience. I think we just need to give guidance as we go along on fundamental concepts that do or do not carry over from C++.

Then generally, section-by-section coverage with questions in parallel should work very well. I totally agree that this would also be an excellent way to to introduce people to programming.

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I contacted Richard, and he has no objections. We need to get a mentor lineup first, though. Also, I'll be contacting Fruny and/or kSquared to discuss how we can get some beginners (i.e. from "For Beginners") to join in.

So, basically: If you know someone who'd be interested in mentoring, point him to this thread. If you know someone who'd like to learn, ditto.

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I'm no Scheme expert, but having recently studied it (our university use SICP&Scheme to teach introduction to programming :) I might be able to help. I've also written some smaller Scheme-like interpreters and have a pretty good grasp on the concepts ;)

However, as The Reindeer Effect I think it would be good to set the level before one commits oneself to do alot of work ;)

-Marten

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What exactly does mentoring entail? I'm interested, but I'm not going to commit until I hear what I am getting myself into ;)

Always pays to be careful [smile]

Responsibilities: Initially, setting up a reasonable schedule. Dropping by the forum to check people in need of help and helping them. Providing useful insights into the subject matter if possible.

No hard real-time requirements. We just need people to oversee the process and help the students. Moderation will be carried by a separate moderator/staffer, so mentors don't have to worry about that.

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