Mats Daniels Interview: Selected Quotes

This page includes a number of quotes from the Mats Daniels interview. The interview overview page provides access to some background information, the audio from the interview, and a transcript of the interview.


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A choice to keep more options open

[Interviewer asks: So you were deciding forestry or math and science or ...?] Yeah, at least I remember putting both those things on the table, thinking seriously about them. And it seemed like engineering would be keeping more options open. So I think I ... most of the time I'm making choices by trying not to narrow down my options and trying to do things that I feel comfortable with.

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Programming language differences and paying attention

[T]he first programming class, my memories from that -- they started out with BASIC and since I had done this project two years earlier, BASIC seemed like it was a piece of cake. I don't need to spend that much time on this. And I do remember when they actually switched to FORTRAN half-way through. And I sort of thought, "Well, one language is the same as another." And suddenly I was realizing that's not quite the same and there are differences and maybe I should start to pay a little bit more attention to what is going on. So it wasn't ... it wasn't an eye-opener class. There was a bit more struggle than needed because of my not really paying attention for things then.

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Learning how to pass a math test

And the time wasn't really enough, at least I thought, to really learn math. So instead I learned how to pass a math test. And you could ... the thing was you got ... sitting at lectures, taking notes, doing whatever homework they assigned you. And then, towards the end, when you got to the exam period, I got a number of old exams and you went through them and found some patterns and what they were actually asking for and how to solve some of them. And that typically would be enough to pass the test. I mean, of course, I learned something but it wasn't ...

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Predictability vs. learning

[I]f you have an education where things are getting predictable, lots of students are going to learn how to deal with the predictability of the examination rather than on the content of what you're learning.

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Talking about competencies

[I]n my thesis, I'm talking about competencies. I think we need to broaden up, open up the eyes of our engineers, that there are ... you have to think about where to use your engineering skills, or your computing skills. You have to be able to communicate. You have to understand the society in order to be heard.

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Keep the eyes open

[K]eep the eyes open. I mean, I think there are so many opportunities out there and trying to learn from what others do. I mean, they ... it's probably nothing you can take right away -- you can't use it the way they are using it -- but there are reasons for why things are done. And trying to understand them is probably a very useful way for you to grow in where you are, in your place.

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Finding connections, reading more

I think here [at the ITiCSE conference], listening to presentations, meeting people. There is almost always something relevant, that feels like, "Yeah, I want to know more about this." Or, "I want to talk about what I've seen that's relevant to what they say." And it's ... I think it's also about reading. I mean ... well, at least if one after a while doesn't really feel an urge to read more or want to ... then maybe one should rethink what one does.


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Putting technology in context

And there is a lot of need for putting technology in context. And ... yeah, to know more about how this works -- it's a field that needs a lot more working. And I think it's something that quite a few other people who come to conferences like this are already good at. And especially if they dare to step outside of the natural science way of doing research. Because, there are other ways and they are also ... I mean, they might not end up with a definite number as an answer, but there are methods that are useful, even though they aren't based on science, natural science.