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FIND ”X”: Having a math class for programmers in Enugu



By Toochi (t.boi) Gabriel

It is really a nice thing to post pictures about a meetup filled with 16 to 20 year old with laptops and hoodies doing the whole code thing. Seeing devs post about how cool they code and much of a bad ass programmer they are, the apps they built and the likes… know….which software company they work for and how they are all doing this for the “culture”. This is the glamour but let’s have a look at reality.

Look at this scenario : for whatever reason trump decides that he is done with s**thole countries and he has Nigeria cut off the “whole internet” and cut supply of computers to Nigeria. Or…. Let’s bring it home.

If our current government decide that the stories of which cow owner kills a farmer or which farm owner kills a cow is getting out of hand and they decide to cut off the Internet in the country, what do we do.

No YouTube, no stack overflow, no github, no Internet and we ask developers to take a board code it to be able to send single out of our police state to the outside world for help. At this point whether you load on the logic board iOS or Android or Windows or you build your own OS it does not matter, all that matters is convert a board to a phone.

When we ask developers for a solution to this, we realise that over 90% of developers don’t know what to do. We discovered developers will always tell you they can build apps, can build Web site but tell them to build a phone or the android studio or visual studio so other developers can build apps or Web site on it, that is when everything starts falling down.

Victor Asemota once said that manufacturing sector is a gold mine in Africa and it struck me, but minus ERP solutions or form processing as a friend calls it we don’t have as much developers that can work on embedded systems. Embedded technology is key in manufacturing. We can’t build the machines used in manufacturing, we just buy and go for training and go for more training.

There was this thing about the Nigerian army building a drone sometime ago and the government folks called it an achievement, funny… but the blueprint for drones are every where on the Internet so anybody can just download it and besides science text books from senior secondary cover the basic laws of building a flying object.

The Nigerian army don’t know there is a whole pininterest page of drone blueprint

What we should call achievement should be that the drones has a 90% accuracy at image recognition, that the image processing in the system is top notch but unfortunately when it gets to that we will then have to call the Israelis or the Chinese.

Many say the reason we don’t build in that area is hunger but it not it. Truth is we don’t know and few that know have not transferred the knowledge.

As part of our #enugunext10000developers campaign we said to ourselves let’s get back to our roots let’s. We our opportune to have the likes of Mr ugo EZE of Atlantis research center to “transfer” his knowledge in the area of computational mathematics to us. We just had to do this. A lot of breakthrough that has been made in computing has it roots in maths, from first shooter game to data analysis for A.I to image processing,all has it root in maths. This class is different, no come-and-build-website-in-a-fly-framework. This is it. Deep computing. We don’t expect to have a full house cause we know it not going to be easy.


Emeka Azuka Okoye once told me the best developers and software Nigeria had was from the late 80’s and 90’s, an era with little or no internet. So why with the availability of the Internet we still haven’t made breakthrough yet in computing but rather we have to wait every year for silicone Valley to publish update.

We always talk about the success of Amazon forgetting that they built their own cloud service, they hired smart minds that made built alexia. In our last meetup we asked if anyone can build something like alexia nobody said they could but to build an app for alexia many put up there hands.

The thing is even if we are to give 100 developers the research paper showing the maths and logic on voice recognition over 60 can’t understand it. Most times it not their fault it just the flaw we have in our education system (this education talk is for some other time).

While some people are complaining, the likes of Google and Amazon will build voice control devices that understand igbo and local languages well and they will sale it to us and we will buy and we will have meetups on how to build igbo voice control apps for these devices.

GDG ENUGU wants to fix this. We want to give people skills, skills that matter. This maths class will be covering topics like:

  • Metaphors In Algebra–Collection,Object Instruction,manipulating physicals events, stick,distance,stretching and motion.
  • Analysing image formats and structure:BMP,WAT and possible applications (Wallpaper: periodic tiling of the plane on a grid).
  • Matrices in images processing.
  • Importance of polygons:Font rendering, scan conversion, clipping ( ModelView mapping,Viewportclipping).
  • Revisiting the Object Oriented metaphor in design.
  • Patterns and Interfaces.
  • Metaphors In Algebra Framework or Engine design.

And lots more.

We intend that by the end of the 6 weeks class, one: knowledge has been transferred, two: application of this knowledge will start.

We may not start seeing developers build driveless cars the week after the class or building satellite to space, but our aim is to open the mind of developers to new possibilities, to a new problem solving methods.

We want our developers to be able to fix knowledge with imagination.

@TechEconomyNG connects past-present-emerging technological impacts on Businesses, People and Cities. All Correspondence to: [email protected]

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