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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 Bubak, Martin, van Albada, Geert Dick, Sloot, Peter M.A. and Dongarra, Jack J. (eds.) In Computational Science - ICCS 2004: 4th International Conference. Springer. 8 pp, pp. 1210-1217. (doi:10.1007/b98005).

Record type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


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.

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Published date: 2004
Additional Information: ISSN of series: 0302-9743
Venue - Dates: ICCS 2004: 4th International Conference, 2004-06-06 - 2004-06-09
Organisations: Engineering Sciences


Local EPrints ID: 22811
ISBN: 3540221298
PURE UUID: 44e8bd57-3ee6-4283-b767-aa1198e71169

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Date deposited: 30 Mar 2006
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 16:20

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Author: Hans Fangohr
Editor: Martin Bubak
Editor: Geert Dick van Albada
Editor: Peter M.A. Sloot
Editor: Jack J. Dongarra

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