I can see the exercise in rewriting the code in another language to be an acceptable very beginner-ish exercise. The end product will be of absolutely no value though.

The way I read this, is that, at least when I went through it, comp sci degrees tend to start off with Java. Hence java becomes the "most familiar" language for a lot of students. That doesn't make it actually a good language, or even remotely suitable for high performance computing needs.

What this really is, is a BEGINNERS C++ course with a major project being to *read and understand* the C++ code through translating it into Java.

Might be a fun learning exercise.
This is not news.