MIT researchers are evaluating the neurological effects of coding. (While MIT News editors are calling back to a simpler time – the late 90s, where theatrical anti-drug campaign ads ran roughshod over the airways.)
One pursuit that’s received little attention is computer programming — both the chore of writing code and the equally confounding task of trying to understand a piece of already-written code. “Given the importance that computer programs have assumed in our everyday lives,” says Shashank Srikant, a PhD student in MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), “that’s surely worth looking into. So many people are dealing with code these days — reading, writing, designing, debugging — but no one really knows what’s going on in their heads when that happens.” Fortunately, he has made some “headway” in that direction in a paper — written with MIT colleagues Benjamin Lipkin (the paper’s other lead author, along with Srikant), Anna Ivanova, Evelina Fedorenko, and Una-May O’Reilly — that was presented earlier this month at the Neural Information Processing Systems Conference held in New Orleans.
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