March Programming Madness - The Snubs

March Programming Madness - The Snubs

With the first few games of the NCAA tourney coming up fast, I wanted to address some of the hard feelings from the creation of the tournament field. If you missed the selection round, you can review the picks and the seedings here. Note that despite the rabble rousing that the seedings caused, the committee does not address seeding issues. Occasionally teams will be bumped up or down a seed or two in order to accommodate regional sites and avoid regular season rematches. I mean, who wants to see LabVIEW take on PHP in a specialized-application snoozefest AGAIN?

Now, to address the snubs, let’s try to take a look at each program that was left out. Firstly, we all need to keep in mind that programs like SQL, aren’t full participants in the field of application development. I won’t argue that they make a splash in the database bowl games every year (and usually are pretty strong in volleyball and soccer), but they simply don’t have a horse in the race of standalone apps. If SQL ever finds a way to craft applications in native code we can talk, but even something like SQL reporting services isn’t going to make the field of 16.

Secondly, for the few actual competitors who did get left out, remember that this is the 2012 tournament. Although the self-modifying code found in early versions of COBOL sounds intriguingly like the key to artificial intelligence, I believe I can simply defer to Edsger Dijkstra on this one. I am sure that COBOL helped keep programming languages moving forward at the time, but shoe-horning in new features over the years and trying to patch over gaping holes isn’t going to cut it against the other great competitors out there.

In similar fashion, Pascal simply falls flat when it comes to the features that we expect from today’s languages, and this was true even back in 1981. Pascal has continued to grow over the years, but this is almost worse, as the language now suffers from severe lack of compatibility between versions and compilers. Again, I think Pascal pointed out new concepts in the evolution of computer science, but definitely suffered growing pains and shows the scars of the 80’s.

I think the best description for the snubs this year would be “You can’t polish a turd” (despite what the Mythbusters think). When your languages have major criticism sections on Wikipedia, you know that you are probably in trouble, and there were just too many newer, shinier teams to highlight. Unfortunately only 1 team from the olde-timey league could make it in this year and Punch Cards made a run in the league’s tournament to snag the auto-bid. I'm sure none of this will reduce controversy, but hopefully it will quiet at least a bit of discontent.

Return to Part 1 - The Bracket

Continue to Round 1


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March Programming Madness - Let the Nerdament Begin

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