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#1 theata   User is offline

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How to improve general knowledge about computing

Posted 25 October 2014 - 06:43 AM

Hey everyone!

Iím so embarrassed to be asking this but Iíd really appreciate your help. Iíve been working in the area of computer science for about a year now. And while Iím doing okay with different programming languages I often realize that I have a huge deficit when it comes to general knowledge. Iím constantly confronted with words I donít know, methods Iíve never heard of, too much to write it all down and look it up later. It often feels like everyone attended a Ďbasic stuff you need to know about computingí-lecture and I didnít. Iím talking about stuff like openmpi, GPU programming, parallel computing, different compilers, computing on clusters, the general jargon people use that all amounts to me often having no idea what everyone else is talking about. And I literally have no idea where to start and of course I have a job to do so not really the time to read a hundred books about different topics hoping they will help somehow.

So does anyone maybe know one big book that gives a great overview? Or a website? Or anything else that could help?

Thea

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Replies To: How to improve general knowledge about computing

#2 andrewsw   User is offline

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Re: How to improve general knowledge about computing

Posted 25 October 2014 - 08:52 AM

These days of course, you have the whole of the internet at your fingertips!
Wikipedia is a good place to start, and centralize, your journey.

I don't have any other sites to recommend, maybe someone else will.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer

I wouldn't be embarrassed. There is so much jargon, and so many acronyms! I would try and fathom which are the larger titles and acronyms, and try to concentrate my initial studies on these. But I ain't a CS guy, so this is just speculation. Good luck.

This post has been edited by andrewsw: 25 October 2014 - 08:56 AM

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#3 macosxnerd101   User is offline

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Re: How to improve general knowledge about computing

Posted 25 October 2014 - 01:44 PM

Moved to Student Campus.
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#4 theata   User is offline

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Re: How to improve general knowledge about computing

Posted 26 October 2014 - 11:58 AM

That's basically what I've been doing so far. I was just hoping there'd be a more efficient way instead of getting lost in a few hundred wikipedia articles. Thank you anway!!

View Postandrewsw, on 25 October 2014 - 08:52 AM, said:

These days of course, you have the whole of the internet at your fingertips!
Wikipedia is a good place to start, and centralize, your journey.

I don't have any other sites to recommend, maybe someone else will.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer

I wouldn't be embarrassed. There is so much jargon, and so many acronyms! I would try and fathom which are the larger titles and acronyms, and try to concentrate my initial studies on these. But I ain't a CS guy, so this is just speculation. Good luck.

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#5 jjl   User is offline

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Re: How to improve general knowledge about computing

Posted 27 October 2014 - 11:33 PM

You should of payed attention in school ... assuming you have a computer science degree.

This post has been edited by jjl: 27 October 2014 - 11:34 PM

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#6 jon.kiparsky   User is offline

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Re: How to improve general knowledge about computing

Posted 28 October 2014 - 12:45 PM

The best way I've found to tame this beast is to keep a notebook with you - every time you come across a term you don't know, write it down. Don't try to define it there, just give the term or acronym or whatever. When you get a free minute, pick the ones that seem the most critical and look them up and try to understand them as well as you can. In the course of looking up the terms, you'll find that you're exposed to new terms that you don't know. If they seem important to you, add them to the end of the list and look them up when you get to them. This is important: don't just follow links or open reference tabs "for later" - if you do that, you're down a rabbit hole and you get nothing of any use. Instead, get as much as you can, or as much as you think you need, about a particular item before you move on to the next one. If you do this right, you'll find that the number of things you've got to look up grows faster than you can look them up. This is a good thing - it means you're expanding your horizons.
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#7 theata   User is offline

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Re: How to improve general knowledge about computing

Posted 29 October 2014 - 12:27 PM

Yes, the sheer avalanche of information you come across once you start looking up one tiny thing is always my main problem. But the notebook is a brilliant idea, thank you so much, I'm gonna do that!


View Postjon.kiparsky, on 28 October 2014 - 12:45 PM, said:

The best way I've found to tame this beast is to keep a notebook with you - every time you come across a term you don't know, write it down. Don't try to define it there, just give the term or acronym or whatever. When you get a free minute, pick the ones that seem the most critical and look them up and try to understand them as well as you can. In the course of looking up the terms, you'll find that you're exposed to new terms that you don't know. If they seem important to you, add them to the end of the list and look them up when you get to them. This is important: don't just follow links or open reference tabs "for later" - if you do that, you're down a rabbit hole and you get nothing of any use. Instead, get as much as you can, or as much as you think you need, about a particular item before you move on to the next one. If you do this right, you'll find that the number of things you've got to look up grows faster than you can look them up. This is a good thing - it means you're expanding your horizons.


I don't, but anyway that wasn't a very nice nor helpful comment and thus not really relevant. I'm looking for ways to improve myself and not for someone to belittle me for exactly those faults that I'm trying to overcome. In other words: It really doesn't hurt to keep rude comments to yourself now and again ;)/>

View Postjjl, on 27 October 2014 - 11:33 PM, said:

You should of payed attention in school ... assuming you have a computer science degree.

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#8 macosxnerd101   User is offline

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Re: How to improve general knowledge about computing

Posted 29 October 2014 - 01:02 PM

View Postjjl, on 28 October 2014 - 02:33 AM, said:

You should of payed attention in school ... assuming you have a computer science degree.

Because nobody has ever gone through a class, not used it in years, and forgotten the material. ;)
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#9 andrewsw   User is offline

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Re: How to improve general knowledge about computing

Posted 29 October 2014 - 02:31 PM

I suppose if you want to get creative you could consider mind-mapping software, although you can do something similar with Visio, or even PowerPoint, I suppose. Or a noting system like Evernote or OneNote.

One advantage is that, as your map (or maps, or notes) develops, you might realise that something is in the wrong zone, or in the wrong order, and you can re-structure easily.

A risk to be aware of is that you might spend too much time learning to use the tool ;) (or find the tool itself more interesting than your subjects).

Anyway, these aren't for everyone, but I thought I'd mention them. Good luck!
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#10 theata   User is offline

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Re: How to improve general knowledge about computing

Posted 31 October 2014 - 02:35 AM

Oh this is great! Even if I won't end up using it for this specific problem, I'll sure use it for something else soon enough! Thank you :)

View Postandrewsw, on 29 October 2014 - 02:31 PM, said:

I suppose if you want to get creative you could consider mind-mapping software, although you can do something similar with Visio, or even PowerPoint, I suppose. Or a noting system like Evernote or OneNote.

One advantage is that, as your map (or maps, or notes) develops, you might realise that something is in the wrong zone, or in the wrong order, and you can re-structure easily.

A risk to be aware of is that you might spend too much time learning to use the tool ;)/> (or find the tool itself more interesting than your subjects).

Anyway, these aren't for everyone, but I thought I'd mention them. Good luck!

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