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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic
A young programmer learns that people are necessary to a good life, that he can't be satisfied on his own.

Submitted: October 27, 2011

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Submitted: October 27, 2011





C:\\Users\\paul.stewart>cd /d C:\\programming\\rref\\

“Paul! Are you ready yet?,” exclaimed his mother, waiting by the door.

C:\\programming\\rref>g++ rref.cpp

“Just a minute mom!”

G++, a cpp compiler for Windows!

Compiling rref.cpp…

C:\\programming\\rref\\rref.cpp: In function ‘int rref(Matrix&)’:

C:\\programming\\rref\\rref.cpp:36:34: error: MatrixM is not defined



MatrixM is not defined?  I thought I declared it as a global variable initially—

“PAUL, we are going to be late to the picnic if you don’t get down here right now!”

Oh, yea! I declared is as a local variable in the main function, so it wouldn’t be present in rref’s scope!  There, now it should compile -- “I’ll be there in a second mom!”

C:\\programming\\rref>g++ rref.cpp

G++, a cpp compiler for Windows!

Compiling rref.cpp…

Come on, come on!

Completed with 0 errors and 0 warnings

Yes! It worked!


“Coming mom!”

This sort of event is quite common for Paul Stewart.  Clearly, Paul is not the average teenager.  He does not like to socialize or ‘hang with friends.’  He says such activities are unproductive and a waste of his time.  During his senior year in high school, Paul spends every waking moment that he is not in school behind the computer screen.

While behind the computer screen, Paul does not waste his time: he has become an extremely talented programmer.  Within the past few months, he entered one of his programs in a programming competition that offered a grand prize of full tuition for four years to any college in the United States.  He recently became aware that he has been selected as a finalist for the competition.  According to the competition website, he will find out in a month if he won.

But in the meantime, Paul goes through his daily routine: wake up, eat, program, school, program, eat, program some more, and sleep.  So, his only social interaction is at school.  Grudgingly, Paul goes to school, and comes home.  He is constantly irritated by people because they “just don’t understand.”  One day, several people in his English class invited Paul to sit at their lunch table because they noticed that he sat by himself every day for lunch.

“Hey Paul! Why don’t you sit with us today?” asked Jake.

He nodded and joined the group.

“So, how are you doing Paul?” continued Jake.

“Umm, pretty good.

Another member of the lunch table, Morgan, joined the conversation, “What have you been doing lately?”

“Well, umm, I finished my Reduced-Row-Eschelon-Form program yesterday.  It can solve any augmented matrix, for any acceptable dimension.”

“That sounds cool, so what does it do?” replied Morgan.

“I just told you! It can solve any augmented matrix, for pretty much any number of variables!”


Realizing that his answer was not adequate, “It helps solve math equations.”

“Ohh! Ok.”

Lunch went on after that, Jake began talking about his soccer game from the night before to his friend Michael.  Morgan gave an elaborate description about her upcoming choir concert.  Paul just sat, discontented from the lack of interest in computer programming in the others.  He worked weeks on this program.  He even had to talk with the math teacher about how to solve such equations!  He thought to himself, People are just really, really boring.  About the time of Paul’s revelation, a girl came and sat at their table.

“Hi, I’m new to this school.  Do you mind if I sit with you guys?”

Jake, noticing her appearance, was the first to respond, “Sure, we’d love some company!”

Morgan then asked, “Well, I’m Morgan.  This is Jake.  This is Michael, and this is Paul.  What’s your name?”

“I’m Catherine—“

“Catherine — That’s a pretty name,” commented Jake.

“So where are you from?” asked Morgan.

"Chicago, my dad had to move because of his job.  So, I’m here now!”

Paul thought to himself, Oh dear, another boring person, and he continued eating.

“Well, what do you like to do?” questioned Jake.

“Oh, a little bit of everything: running, hiking, reading, robotics, you know,” she said with a smile.

“Robotics?” Paul said, surprised that somebody actually spoke his language.

“Yea, we had a robotics team at my old school, and I was one of the programmers on the team.”

Suddenly intrigued, “What language did you code in?”

“Java.  Do you know how to program?”

The bell rang again signaling the end of lunch.

Catherine said, “Let’s talk some more later.”

“Yea,” responded Paul.

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