MIT Technology Review: A new neural network could help computers code themselves. “Automated code generation has been a hot research topic for a number of years. Microsoft is building basic code generation into its widely used software development tools, Facebook has made a system called Aroma that autocompletes small programs, and DeepMind has developed a neural network that can come up with more efficient versions of simple algorithms than those devised by humans. Even OpenAI’s GPT-3 language model can churn out simple pieces of code, such as web page layouts, from natural-language prompts. [Justin] Gottschlich and his colleagues call this machine programming.”
CNET: Want to learn to code? We found 5 online coding courses for beginners. “My husband is a tech guy through and through — tinkering in code to build simple apps and websites just for fun. I’m not. I knew my way around MySpace HTML back in the day (enough to change my background at least) and could navigate WordPress for my college newspaper, but those skills are quite rusty now. Learning to code is a valuable skill for almost anyone working in our digital world. And though unemployment levels are high due to the coronavirus pandemic, tech companies like Apple and Amazon are still hiring. Picking up some coding skills could help you get a foot in the door.”
Tip o’ the nib to Esther S. for this one from ProgrammableWeb: ProgrammableWeb Launches Covid-19/Coronavirus Developer Resource Center. “ProgrammableWeb has launched a special resource center to help developers find the top COVID-19 related APIs and other appdev resources. The content in this resource center is curated by the ProgrammableWeb staff and is designed to provide developers with the most up to date information and tools to help them build solutions related to the coronavirus pandemic. These could be tracking solutions, reporting solutions or any type of innovation that these resources might inspire.”
Phys .org: Not a ‘math person’? You may be better at learning to code than you think . “New research from the University of Washington finds that a natural aptitude for learning languages is a stronger predictor of learning to program than basic math knowledge, or numeracy. That’s because writing code also involves learning a second language, an ability to learn that language’s vocabulary and grammar, and how they work together to communicate ideas and intentions. Other cognitive functions tied to both areas, such as problem solving and the use of working memory, also play key roles.”
ZDNet: Google reveals new Python programming language course: Scholarships for 2,500. “There are six courses in the Google IT Automation with Python Professional Certificate, including an introductory ‘crash course on Python’, learning how to use Python to manipulate files and processes on a computer’s operating system, a course in using Git and GitHub, troubleshooting techniques, learning how to automate and manage fleets of computers in the cloud, and automating real-world tasks with Python.” The article notes that the course is not free.
Make Tech Easier: Web Code Playground Tools You Should Try. “If you’re at all into web coding, you’ve probably used at least one code playground in your time. These aren’t your usual code editors, but places where you can test your code without worrying about the backend server setup. Codepen and JSFiddle are the two most popular, but, perhaps unsurprisingly (given that the target audience for web code playgrounds is people who have the skills to build code playgrounds themselves), there are many alternatives.”
Google Blog: Google’s Hash Code competition is back. “Hash Code was created back in 2014 by a few engineers in the Google France office. These engineers were coding competition enthusiasts and wondered if it would be possible to create a new kind of coding competition, one that looked more like the type of work they did each day.”
Arizona State University: New Partnership to Provide Statewide Online Coding Curriculum. “The Arkansas Department of Education, Arkansas State University, and the Arkansas Public School Resource Center announced a partnership program to provide a statewide online coding curriculum starting with the fall 2020 semester.”
Fossbytes: Learn To Code For Free With 8 Best Free Coding Websites In 2020. “You can not only land a job as a fresher with the help of programming skills but also boost your existing career with the technical know-how of coding. But several beginners struggle to find the right place, to begin with. This is why I have compiled this list of best coding websites where you can learn coding for free. These free programming sites aren’t ranked in any particular order. Learners are advised to try these websites and choose according to their requirements.” Nice annotation. I like the bullet points at the end of each listing.
The Conversation: Why all children must learn code. “Coding language develops the software that can effectively deal with problems and challenges – for instance, because of coding, people who couldn’t get a bank account can now keep, send and borrow money using mobile phones. It’s an important skill to have as countries develop. In the past four decades, several studies have assessed the effect of learning code on primary school children – usually between the ages of six and 13. In each case, the findings show that it is beneficial to children, irrespective of their career path later on in life.”
Mozilla Blog: New Bytecode Alliance Brings the Security, Ubiquity, and Interoperability of the Web to the World of Pervasive Computing. “The Bytecode Alliance is a newly-formed open source community dedicated to creating new software foundations, building on standards such as WebAssembly and WebAssembly System Interface (WASI). Mozilla, Fastly, Intel, and Red Hat are founding members.”
Computer Business Review: GitHub Adds 10 Million New Users, Reveals 10 Most Popular Languages. “Over the past year, developers collaborated in a staggering 370 primary languages on GitHub. Among the top 10 programming languages, C#, Python and Shell climbed the list this year, while Ruby and Java fell in popularity. That’s according to the code repository’s annual Octoverse report, which also reveals a colossal 532 percent increase in the use of Google’s Dart language, as interest surges in the company’s Flutter SDK – built using Dart.”
Make Tech Easier: Useful YouTube Channels that Teach You How to Code. “Learning to code can be complicated. If you’ve found that to be true, but you still would like to learn the skill, you may benefit from project-based video tutorials. These project-based tutorials offer the chance to create actual programs and apps by “coding along” with the maker of the video.”