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Education Programming United Kingdom

Raspberry Pi's Eben Upton: "Programming Will Make You a Better Doctor" 79

cylonlover writes "After a handful of days of furtive suggestion, spring made its presence felt in London today, where the second Technology Frontiers conference got underway. The Economist-organized event sees leading technologists and cultural figures take to the podium in front of some 250 ideas-thirsty business persons. Among them was Raspberry Pi Foundation founder Eben Upton, who extolled the benefits of learning to program for all professions. He went into some detail as to the inception of the Raspberry Pi and the need for more computer programmers."
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Raspberry Pi's Eben Upton: "Programming Will Make You a Better Doctor"

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  • Dammit Jim (Score:5, Funny)

    by Spy Handler ( 822350 ) on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @09:29PM (#43100203) Homepage Journal

    I'm a doctor, not a programmer!

    Raspberry Guy: "Programming will make you a better doctor."

    You green blooded, inhuman...

    • Also Google can make anyone a doctor. I can find YouTube videos on how to perform neurosurgery. All we need is a detailed 3D printer to get a model onto which we can practice and done!

  • by Hentes ( 2461350 ) on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @09:32PM (#43100223)

    -Doctor, my kid is sick!

    -Have you tried turning him off and on again?

    • -Have you tried turning him off and on again?

      There is no on/off switch, so you have to unplug the cellphone charger you're using as his power supply.

      Come to think of it, I think many kids would improve considerably if you unplugged their cellphone charger and forgot to plug it back in.

      • Things to try:
        Reinstall Windows XP
        Update to SP3
        Upgrade to Windows 8
        Install a touchscreen [may be prohibited in some states]
        Try making him a hackintosh
        Linux! [after making sure there are drivers for all his hardware]

      • by DrXym ( 126579 )
        The lack of a shutdown is can be quite annoying too. I use my Pi with Raspbmc and you're supposed to select "Power off" from the XBMC menu but it just halts the kernel and the box stays on. So you have to physically pull the plug out when the board is halted.

        I'm looking for a hard on / off switches dongle for USB but it would be nice to have a soft power button that could figure out the Pi was in a shut down state and cut the power after some period of inactivity. Maybe the USB charge cable does data too

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @10:02PM (#43100431) Journal

      -Doctor, my kid is sick!

      -Have you tried turning him off and on again?

      That's not a programmer, that's an MDSE-certified health professional...

    • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

      Just like mechanical devices, the easiest way to fix a biomechanical device is to give it a good slap on the back.

  • And in other news... (Score:5, Informative)

    by fireman sam ( 662213 ) on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @09:38PM (#43100255) Homepage Journal

    Solving problems (programming) can help improve problem solving skills.

    • by weilawei ( 897823 ) on Wednesday March 06, 2013 @09:59PM (#43100401) Homepage
      This. I haven't read TFA, but I'll venture a guess that's what Eben was getting at. Critical thinking is useful in virtually all fields of human endeavour. Programming just happens to be a form of applied problem solving that isn't inherently domain specific.
      • Could also be "knowledge or skills that are not particularly common in your field is often a commodity."

        In my field (cell biology), you could say the same thing about calculus, statistics, programming, or people skills. Most cell biologists have good lab bench skills and an ability to think about cell biology and come up with good ideas. The ones that have a good handle on cell biology, lab techniques, AND calculus, or statistics, or programming, or people skills are much more rare, and often more val
    • Solving problems (programming) can help improve problem solving skills.

      Plus, would you trust a transplant surgeon who doesn't understand modularity, re-use, and object-oriented design?

      • Plus, would you trust a transplant surgeon who doesn't understand modularity, re-use, and object-oriented design?

        As long as he can handle his drink enough to keep the scalpel from shaking, I don't give a toss about whether he knows Visual Basic.

    • Indeed. Programming is one of those exercises, like cryptic crosswords or playing chess, which simply gets you to think logically, with a little creativity thrown in. Doesn't matter what you do, keeping your brain active with logical problems is known to boost your ability in multiple different fields.
      • I don't program for any tangible practical purpose, but what you said has been very true (for me, at least).

        Now... I did my undergrad in Computer Engineering, so I got my fair share of programming, but certainly not to any level where I would be comfortable doing it for a living, but to 'exercise my brain', I took the MITx Intro to programming class mostly as way to remind myself of some of the principles of programming, and I actually felt it helped me quite a bit. It was like doing crossword puzzles to k

    • Physics should be mandatory for a doctor... My son probably would have preferred a joint Physics/Medicine degree, rather than studying Medicine at undergrad, but the workload is really heavy for a medic student as it is.
    • I'm still waiting to see the connection between programming and the RPi? Sure you can do it that way, but you equally do it on your existing Win/Mac/Linux box too. In fact if you want pure problem solving then let's all just do some maths, no computer required.
  • Twoddle... I am a doctor, and a programmer. Doctoring involves lots of repetitive tasks, the problem being that individuals are... individual and you have to tweak the process slightly every time. This involves intelligence, and means that many medical tasks that should on the face of it be easy to automate, aren't.

    There are lots of doctor-led initiatives out there. For example, when I refer patients to a famous cardiology center I have to fill in an online form and specifying lots of details such as how lo

    • You've brushed right up against the reason for Eben's speech. Domain knowledge. As a doctor, you have domain knowledge of medicine. Eben is proposing that lots of programming problems should be solved by the domain expert, not a third party programming expert who is wholly ignorant of the domain.

      Now of course, a GOOD programmer would acquire enough of that knowledge to write a heart patient referral program that wouldn't get in your way or force you to generate bullshit data. Unfortunately, there's a se

      • Well, for starters, it will take you something like ten years of programming all the time to be able to do that sort of thing. The programming you will do will be difficult and tedious. And to do a good job of it, you'll also have to be a fully trained physician with enough experience to know how programmatically obvious solutions will fail in real life situations, so now you'll need at least ten more years of training and experience, probably more. And you're going to need a lot of you. Very few people c
      • There's the rub. If you start with programmers who have little domain knowledge, you get awful software. If you start with domain experts who have little programming knowledge, you get HL7.
  • by OhANameWhatName ( 2688401 ) on Thursday March 07, 2013 @12:36AM (#43101421)
    .. everything starts to look like a nail.
  • by kilodelta ( 843627 ) on Thursday March 07, 2013 @01:55AM (#43101811) Homepage
    A few years ago I got to do program reviews in local high school in Rhode Island. In one class they were learning the Microsoft Office suite.

    All fine and good, but on that particular day they were working in Excel. The teacher had them doing a payroll spreadsheet. Ok, that works. But then the teacher mentioned the cheat sheet to get the tax amounts.

    Based on that I asked the teacher if there was any intention to teach these kids Visual BASIC for Applications (VBA). The teachers answer was that you needed advanced math to be able to program a computer. I wrote this on my report and said that it would actually benefit the kids understanding of mathematics if they knew how to program in MS Office apps. I also said that the act of programming would actually enhance their mathematics skills. Let's face it, for most programming the math you need is to know the basic four functions, maybe modulo, E notation, and exponents. Pretty basic stuff.

    So start getting these RasPi boards out there - start getting kids interested in programming on them. You might be surprised what you get out the other end of a project like this.
    • by Threni ( 635302 )

      Thanks, but I'd rather get a laptop (on eBay if need be) that f*** about with silly little boards, external keyboards, wifi etc etc.

      • Yeah - I know. But the RasPi is intended for people who cannot afford the full up laptop or desktop. It fills a void.
        • by Threni ( 635302 )

          Yeah, no laptop, but a monitor, keyboard, mouse, wifi connection plus a usb wifi, plus some power for all this, oh and a case, and an sd card, and a hub to connect all the usb peripherals, and postage from one of those clueless companies supplying it (who in the beginning weren't sure if they were selling it, or if they were selling to businesses only (odd, as no businesses are going to touch it) etc).

          I liked the idea, back in the day, but if you want a target device to program, get a cheap Android phone. I

          • by RobinH ( 124750 )
            Yeah, but nobody was buying cheap Android phones to do that, but they are buying RPi's to do it. So either there's something different about the device (unlikely) or there's something different about the way it's being presented. It's simply better marketing. That doesn't mean there wasn't a need for better marketing. Sometimes you need to present it as a completely different product to get people to accept it (think Windows 7 vs. Vista).

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