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The Grill: Fred Brooks

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The Mythical Man-Month author Fred Brooks

"I see disaster happening in many, many schools," says Fred Brooks, project manager for the IBM System/360 and author of "The Mythical Man-Month."

Credit: University of North Carolina at Chapell Hill

Fred Brooks, who was project manager for the IBM System/360 and the lead designer of its operating system, says that software developers should plan on continuously iterating on their design. He says the central argument of his new book, "The Design of Design: Essays From a Computer Scientist," is that programmers would be wise to study issues beyond software. Brooks notes that "there are these invariants across mediums in which one designs. Let's try to identify these invariants and learn from the older design businesses."

Brooks contends that the growing complexity of design has necessitated a shift toward team design, and he says the design of something new should begin with the selection of a chief designer who is granted authority over the design's parameters.

Brooks laments the current state of U.S. computer science education, and cites a lack of preparation in elementary and especially middle school, where the cultivation of a foundation in mathematics is essential. He traces the dearth of educators to a lack of appropriate recognition and pay levels relative to other professions.

From Computerworld
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