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


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

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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