Texas A&M CS Program

One leader was the founder of C++

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#1 Zekorov  Icon User is offline

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Texas A&M CS Program

Posted 25 December 2010 - 04:29 PM

At Texas A&M, there's a guy that holds the College of Engineering Chair in Computer Science. He is also the creator of C++ programming language. But, he only teaches Graduate or Sr Undergraduate students. Would it still be a good idea to try to know this guy, even though i'll probably never formally be taught by him? I don't plan on getting my PhD in Computer Science at A&M. lol plans could change though...... o.O also, any tips on how to get to know someone in your college deparment that doesn't teach you? don't you have to set up some appointment or something with them? Furthermore, do degrees in CS generally cover more than one programming language? or do they focus on one? Thanks for all the tips and help here. :)

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#2 nooblet  Icon User is offline

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Re: Texas A&M CS Program

Posted 25 December 2010 - 09:40 PM

1] Languages that you go over depends entirely on the curriculum of each school. This varies. Most schools now cover majority of stuff in Java with some minor coverage in other languages but check accordingly. As I don't attend Texas A&M, I can't speak for what they cover. But ideally, it shouldn't matter. A good CS program will teach you the principles of programming among a few other things that should give you a good understand (hopefully) to be able to pick up any language and still have solid programming methodology. I would focus more on that and what type of programming you want to go into than the language that is specially being taught, for the sake of using a certain language for learning purposes. Some do help you learn things better but I'm sure if a school chose a specific language, they probably have good reason too.

2] Don't just get to know someone because they are the creator of X language. Get to know them if you have a real good reason or intent. In this case, I can think of only one (but I'm sure there are others). You could try to work with him outside of just class work even if you're not directly learning from him. Some professors love to spend time with students outside of class doing things to help them out. This is a long shot and may not be probably at all depending on his schedule and willingness, but trying is better than nothing. Worse case scenario, aim for a letter of recommendation. I'm not sure if getting a letter of recommendation from him specially holds more weight than in other areas but it couldn't hurt.

3] I hope you're picking your school for better reasons than I can see in your post.
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#3 Zekorov  Icon User is offline

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Re: Texas A&M CS Program

Posted 26 December 2010 - 11:26 AM

Answer to your 1: Thanks and that makes sense being as CS isn't all programming. :)

Answer to your 2: This response also makes sense, and my reasoning for getting to know him would be just to see if i could learn from him. There is also the fact that say i judged A&M's CS program to be really as good as i hope it to be and i want to go back for my PhD in CS, the guy i mentioned teaches the PhD students and will accept them based on personal qualities that he observes when actually being around and working with them face to face. So, my idea to get to know this guy was out of future cultivation and possibly a good learning experience.

Answer to your 3: Actually, i applied for A&M and wanted to go there well before i realized the creator of C++ was faculty there. i had applied to be a Computer Science major and A&M's CS department sent me a little "hello there" type message that just happened to mention that little fact about the C++ guy. I just thought it was interesting and wondered if it'd be worthwhile to try to know him and learn from him.
And furthermore, I am going to A&M for several reasons. Their CS program is not half bad, it's about 4 hours from where i live, i've been to the campus and surrounding area many times and know it better than other schools, i've had good personal contact with the school's admissions officer, i'm most likely getting lots of scholarships to pay for it, and many of my good friends are going there as well :D so there's just lot's of pluses for me to go to A&M. I also feel it will be less stressful than going to a school like Rice for my first years of college. And i'm also first generation in my family to even go to college, so really anywhere is good to me, as long as i keep it up and going, which i will by singular determination. :D

This post has been edited by Zekorov: 26 December 2010 - 11:27 AM

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#4 nooblet  Icon User is offline

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Re: Texas A&M CS Program

Posted 26 December 2010 - 09:56 PM

I don't think it would hurt to get to know the guy. I think he'd be a good advisor (not like academically but someone to converse with on a programming level). That said, best of luck
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#5 Zekorov  Icon User is offline

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Re: Texas A&M CS Program

Posted 27 December 2010 - 03:08 AM

View Postnooblet, on 26 December 2010 - 11:56 PM, said:

I don't think it would hurt to get to know the guy. I think he'd be a good advisor (not like academically but someone to converse with on a programming level). That said, best of luck


Thanks for the good luck and the advice. :)
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#6 elgose  Icon User is offline

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Re: Texas A&M CS Program

Posted 27 December 2010 - 03:33 PM

I wouldn't use the face that Stroustrup is there as a selling point - you may interact with him, but I'm willing to bet he is a very busy man constantly giving talks and lectures (outside of A&M), working on C++0x, has his classes to teach, and his university obligations to handle. I'd imagine his time with students is probably reserved more for graduate students? That being said all the Aggies I know are damn proud to be one. If you haven't considered it already, TAMU is only 2 hours away from UT in Austin. I always see UT ranked in the top 10 for CS schools in the US.
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#7 Zekorov  Icon User is offline

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Re: Texas A&M CS Program

Posted 27 December 2010 - 03:59 PM

thanks elgose and yeah i have considered UT. But when i looked at it i just don't like how indirect their CS program is set up. i mean, as a major, it's in their school of natural sciences. i was like.... whaa??? and they don't have a straight CS major. it's like CS/Mathematics, or some other combo..... i liked how simple A&M has their CS program set up and the fact that it's in their engineering department. It just makes me feel a little bit more secure about it if you can understand what i mean by that, not to mention economic factors i don't really care for concerning UT (it's a commuter school, and is more of the city life, busy and loud). And yeah, don't worry i wouldn't go to A&M just because one of the faculty there is a creator of a programming language. And yeah, he does mainly talk to seniors/graduate students but i figured it'd still be a good investment to at least try to know him. But yeah, i may not even get to meet him until later in my college career. It is still a good thought to try early on though, at least for the sake of potentially learning from him or his students.
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#8 Guest_valor*


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Re: Texas A&M CS Program

Posted 30 December 2010 - 08:05 AM

Go to UT. Better CS program. They offer a BS in computer science. I dunno why you think they don't have a CS department? They have one of the top 10 in the country. As well as access to many of the giant high tech companies and start ups. They don't call it silicon hills for nothing!
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#9 nooblet  Icon User is offline

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Re: Texas A&M CS Program

Posted 30 December 2010 - 09:30 AM

LOL Silicon Hills, Alley, Forest, etc etc... They're all just nicknames. And that's not representative of the school. Note, I'm not trying to say UT isn't good. I don't have an opinion in this matter. Just stating that "Silicon Hills" is a poor argument in this case.
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#10 elgose  Icon User is offline

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Re: Texas A&M CS Program

Posted 31 December 2010 - 09:12 AM

Ultimately, you gotta do what you think's best for you. Just remember there's a possibility you never take a class from Stroustrup, so focus more on the quality of all the other professors. You're lucky that you're close to two highly rated universities - you're not gonna lose out either way as long as you make the most of it.

As far as UT's CS program being within the school of natural sciences - it's not unusual for CS to be grouped with either engineering or with math/physics (which are natural sciences). After all, it is computer science - so don't let that throw you off.
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#11 elgose  Icon User is offline

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Re: Texas A&M CS Program

Posted 31 December 2010 - 09:18 AM

View Postnooblet, on 30 December 2010 - 08:30 AM, said:

LOL Silicon Hills, Alley, Forest, etc etc... They're all just nicknames. And that's not representative of the school. Note, I'm not trying to say UT isn't good. I don't have an opinion in this matter. Just stating that "Silicon Hills" is a poor argument in this case.

Agreed, too buzz wordy.

It might as well be "Ice Cream Mountain". Sure, I like ice cream, but what does that mean?

On a side note - A&M is in College Station, and around college station is... nothing. If you're thinking about an internship in school (you should do this!), it might be slim pickings and a lot of competition.
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#12 Guest_valor*


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Re: Texas A&M CS Program

Posted 31 December 2010 - 11:58 AM

I'm just saying that if you're serious about the industry go to the best school possible. I am from a small Texas town and know a few computer science students/grads who I kept in touch with from CS class in high school. All the guys who went to UT interned at Microsoft/IBM/Texas Instruments/Google during the summer, the guys who went to Texas A&M did nothing, except I know of one guy who did an internship with Conoco Phillips in Houston. Now I know its not the same for everyone, but the smarter students seemed to graviate towards UT. Trust me on this, UT will be a good choice and you'll have a lot of resources. Not to say A&M isn't a good school, cuz it is. Just think twice please. Austin offers a lot more in terms of education and social life. It's not just a commuter school, in fact most of the student population lives on campus or within walking distance, it isn't a "commuter school".

Just do a quick google search for UT CS and look at their site and arrange a visit.

Taken from wikipedia:

Austin is considered to be a major center for high tech.[78] Thousands of graduates each year from the engineering and computer science programs at The University of Texas at Austin provide a steady source of employees that help to fuel Austin's technology and defense industry sectors. The metro Austin area has much lower housing costs than Silicon Valley, but much higher housing costs than many parts of rural Texas. As a result of the high concentration of high-tech companies in the region, Austin was strongly affected by the dot-com boom in the late 1990s and subsequent bust.[78] Austin's largest employers include the Austin Independent School District, the City of Austin, Dell, the U.S. Federal Government, Freescale Semiconductor (spun off from Motorola in 2004), IBM, St. David's Healthcare Partnership, Seton Family of Hospitals, the State of Texas, Texas State University–San Marcos, and The University of Texas.[78] Other high-tech companies with operations in Austin include 3M, Apple Inc., Hewlett-Packard, Google, AMD, Applied Materials, Cirrus Logic, Cisco Systems, eBay/PayPal, Bioware, Blizzard Entertainment, Hoover's, Intel Corporation, National Instruments, Samsung Group, Silicon Laboratories, Sun Microsystems and United Devices. In 2010, Facebook accepted a grant to build a downtown office that could bring as many as 200 jobs to the city.[79] The proliferation of technology companies has led to the region's nickname, "the Silicon Hills", and spurred development that greatly expanded the city. The concentration of high-tech companies has led the former American Airlines flight between Austin and San Jose, California to be dubbed the "nerd bird." [80]

Austin is also emerging as a hub for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. About 85 companies from this industry are based in Austin.[78] The city was ranked by the Milken Institute as the #12 biotech and life science center in the United States.[81]

It is also home to national advertising agencies including Omnicom-owned GSD&M Idea City and LatinWorks as well as many other regionally respected agencies.[citation needed] Whole Foods Market is a grocery store that specializes in organic, local, and natural foods and other goods. It was founded and is based in Austin.[82]

In addition to global companies, Austin features a strong network of independent, locally owned firms and organizations. The success of these businesses reflects the high level of commitment by the citizens of Austin to preserving the unique spirit of the city.
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#13 Zekorov  Icon User is offline

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Re: Texas A&M CS Program

Posted 02 January 2011 - 11:26 AM

Well thanks guest dude, and elgose, for the considerations. But, even if UT was better to go to, I can't apply again until next year anyways. UT's deadline for admissions is over and was over a whole month ago. I'm pretty much going to A&M and i'm totally cool that there's nothing there. i know there's nothing there in fact cause i've been there quite a bit. :P If i really want an internship though, i don't see why A&M students wouldn't try to get something with Microsoft/IBM/Google/etc.... and i see no real problem other than simply not trying for it to actually get an internship somewhere good. And believe me, "smarter" students don't gravitate towards UT over A&M.... it's all about personal preference. the top 3 students at my school are all gearing towards A&M as far as i know. there's a few kids i know going to UT, and that's cool with me too. and they're also top 20 percent of the class. Actually, i'm number 6 of my graduating class and i like A&M. it's quiet, and there's nothing around it. It's a one hundred percent college coordinated place, its CS department is very good, and it's simple and direct in my eyes which i like too. If i can't get an internship due to distance problems for bigger companies as the ones listed above, i can always try getting some kind of work online with those companies, as well as making my own freelance things like my own CS teacher does now. he's made like 4k dollars off of an indie game on Xbox live he sold. it's really not that much but it's a nice little sum of side money. :P But after thinking about it, can you even get online internships with Google/IBM/whoever??? or do you have to go to their place of industry and work as an intern there? if so, there would definitely be a distance problem coming from A&M and i'd have to find alternate ways of doing things.

View Postelgose, on 31 December 2010 - 11:12 AM, said:

Ultimately, you gotta do what you think's best for you. Just remember there's a possibility you never take a class from Stroustrup, so focus more on the quality of all the other professors. You're lucky that you're close to two highly rated universities - you're not gonna lose out either way as long as you make the most of it.

As far as UT's CS program being within the school of natural sciences - it's not unusual for CS to be grouped with either engineering or with math/physics (which are natural sciences). After all, it is computer science - so don't let that throw you off.


Well, thanks and that does make sense now. It just seems a little confusing because of the way it is set up. They probably just focus more on the Science aspect of CS than A&M does, giving it a more mathematical base, which would also explain the double CS/mathematics major. :P
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#14 elgose  Icon User is offline

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Re: Texas A&M CS Program

Posted 02 January 2011 - 03:10 PM

Good luck!

I would disagree with guest_valor that most "smart students" levitate toward UT. Both A&M and UT are very good schools. Also keep in mind it's not the school that's going to make you great - you can goto a lil' rinky dink university and still come out on top (that being said, I know many of the guru's on this site don't have a degree - it's all up to you). Just be sure to do your best and kick some CS ass!

I'm unsure about the internship thing - I'd be willing to bet most places want interns or co-ops on-site.
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#15 nooblet  Icon User is offline

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Re: Texas A&M CS Program

Posted 02 January 2011 - 04:30 PM

View Postvalor, on 31 December 2010 - 10:58 AM, said:

I'm just saying that if you're serious about the industry go to the best school possible.


UT is not the best school possible. And given the choices between the two, it's debatable in a semantics argument kind of way which is better.

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I am from a small Texas town and know a few computer science students/grads who I kept in touch with from CS class in high school. All the guys who went to UT interned at Microsoft/IBM/Texas Instruments/Google during the summer, the guys who went to Texas A&M did nothing, except I know of one guy who did an internship with Conoco Phillips in Houston.


Who you know is not representative of all who went there and at the end of the day, it depends on the individuals, not the school they attend. I know plenty of people who went to a bunch of smaller, not as famous, schools, that interned at those same companies (Microsoft, Google) or ended up working there. That doesn't reflect on the school necessarily. Even if in this case there are some key advantages one school may have over the other, the arguments you present often pertains more to the individuals rather than the school they attended.

Austin is a better city in my opinion but small town colleges are cool too.

And to respond to Zekorov's comment, never heard of an "online" internship. But in-person internship, possible.

This post has been edited by nooblet: 02 January 2011 - 04:33 PM

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