Sophomore Discusses Similarities Between Computer Programming, Ancient Greek

Joseph MaloneSophomore Joseph Malone spent last year translating Plato and Vergil and this summer analyzing web traffic to detect malware—malicious software usually used to introduce viruses and steal information—at Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico. His internship, which was through the Center for Cyber Defenders, also had him developing computer software for the lab's internal use.

The classics and computer science double major enjoyed the opportunity to spend the summer putting into practice his more theory-based computer science education at UD. Malone was quick to highlight the similarities between computer programming and classics.

"They're both languages, really," he said.

According to Malone, programming languages and ancient languages require many of the same analytical skills—the same skills by which you recognize grammatical constructions in Greek can be used to write code for computers.

Malone's classics and computer science professors have shown their support of his studies, which, last year, included consulting on a program Malone was working on to write Latin "poetry."

The Core Curriculum has helped the double major step back from the rigors of his two disciplines.

"The Core has made me think outside the computer case and the language grammar book," said Malone. "Being able to talk about English literature, philosophy and theology really is wonderful. The Core makes you step back and realize that there is much more to life than focusing in on your particular majors."

Malone, who was homeschooled by his mother, a UD mathematics major, in New Mexico, first began to be interested in computer programming in middle school, and he wrote his first program shortly after that. He started learning Latin in elementary school.

While it's early yet for the sophomore to have concrete plans for life after college, Malone dreams of ways to combine his two disciplines.

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