A comparison of C, Matlab and Python as teaching languages in engineering

Fangohr, Hans (2004) A comparison of C, Matlab and Python as teaching languages in engineering. In, Bubak, Martin, van Albada, Geert Dick, Sloot, Peter M.A. and Dongarra, Jack J. (eds.) Computational Science - ICCS 2004: 4th International Conference. ICCS 2004: 4th International Conference , Springer, 1210-1217. (Lecture Notes in Computer Science 3039). (doi:10.1007/b98005).


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Original Publication URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/b98005


We describe and compare the programming languages C, MATLAB and Python as teaching languages for engineering students. We distinguish between two distinct phases in the process of converting a given problem into a computer program that can provide a solution: (i) finding an algorithmic solution and (ii) implementing this in a particular programming language. It is argued that it is most important for the understanding of the students to perform the first step whereas the actual implementation in a programming language is of secondary importance for the learning of problem-solving techniques. We therefore suggest to chose a well-structured teaching language that provides a clear and intuitive syntax and allows students to quickly express their algorithms. In our experience in engineering computing we find that MATLAB is much better suited than C for this task but the best choice in terms of clarity and functionality of the language is provided by Python.

Item Type: Book Section
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1007/b98005
Additional Information: ISSN of series: 0302-9743
ISBNs: 3540221298 (hardback)
Related URLs:
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General)
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA76 Computer software
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Engineering Sciences
University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Engineering Sciences > Computational Engineering and Design
ePrint ID: 22811
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
Date Deposited: 30 Mar 2006
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 11:42
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/22811

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