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Professor celebrates 80th birthday with free book

For his 80th birthday, Professor Emeritus Tim Teitelbaum shares his cookbook-style approach to computer programming in a free book.

Professor Emeritus Tim Teitelbaum began teaching CS100: Introduction to Programming in 1975. During his 50 years on the Cornell faculty and after teaching 9,000 students in this class, he honed his approach. Professor Teitelbaum’s new book, Principled Programming, is a distillation of  his insights on this subject—and it is available to anyone to download for free or order a paperback version from Amazon at cost.

The professor, who celebrates his 80th birthday on April 12, says his goals are to give back and maximize impact. In the preface to the book, he explains that most programming books use a language-based approach that takes a deep dive into a specific programming language. In contrast, his book uses a methodology-based approach, or one that helps the reader to code in any programming language.

“Principled Programming is a comparatively short, coherent, and digestible book that invites cover-to-cover reading,” the professor says. “Much of programming can be reduced to a set of rules you can follow in cookbook fashion… You, the programmer, just follow the rules, and out will pop a program. And not just any program, but a reasonably good program, at that.”

The professor adds that his former students might find it amusing to click on the book link and “relive their youth.”