Q&A #963

Teachers' Lounge Discussion: Chicago Math program

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From: Matt

To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 2006110911:55:21
Subject: Re: Re: Everyday Math

Chris, I have two questions for you: What type of engineer are you and what do your coworkers think of your abilities? I have experience working in real-time safety-critical software applications with alumni of the Chicago Math program. There are some computations that can't be done on a calculator because of the precision needed. We do many decimal to hexadecimal to binary conversions and calculations. I feel that many engineers from states which use Chicago Math are not able to do those calculations without difficulty. Those engineers usually end up in the documentation department. I also wonder if the glut of Chicago Math engineers has caused any of the errors recently found in commercially available calculator and compiler programs. Is it possible that the engineers who were programming and testing the software weren't able to do those calculations either? In our high-tech society, unless God embeds an infallible, infinitely powered calculator with an almost infinite display capability into our arms, we will need to do calculations with paper and pencil. I would rather not have Chicago Math engineers working on the software that evaluates my MRI or CTs, times the medication in my IVs, flies my airplanes, drops bombs on other countries, evaluates satellite images, drives my car, times my subway train, designs high-rise buildings or bridges, or even sends probes to mars. Too much depends on computer programming to trust these applications to engineers who learned that the only calculations you need are the estimations you use to double check the validity of your calculator generated answers.

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