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[Axiom-developer] Excellent literate program example

From: daly
Subject: [Axiom-developer] Excellent literate program example
Date: Fri, 20 Jan 2012 10:38:44 -0500

There is a book called 
"Implementing Elliptic Curve Cryptography" by Mike Rosing
which is my new favorite literate program.

To really see the difference literate programming can make
you can download Rosing's program and you can read the book.
The program is standard C and contains lines like

   #define NUMBITS 158

Do you know why NUMBITS is 158? I doubt that you can 
reverse-engineer the answer from his code. But the book
makes the answer obvious.

Further, elliptic curve cryptography depends on things
like modular polynomial arithmetic which might be rather
hard for your average C programmer to reverse-engineer.
The book explains the theory.

I am trying to set up a study at some university that would
use Rosing's book and programs. I want to give one group a
copy of the book and the other group just the C programs.
Then I want to evaluate the comprehension of the two groups.

It is my conjecture that the book group would have a deeper
understanding of the program than the C group. I believe the
study will show this but until the study is done it is just
my opinion.

If anyone is at a university and knows of a professor who
might find such a study worthwhile, please let me know.
It is studies like this that make history in computer 
science, just like the studies of programmer productivity.
A properly done study would be a landmark paper.


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