SIGCSE 2012 | February 29 - March 3, 2012 | Raleigh, North Carolina, USA

SIGCSE 2012 - Keynote Speakers

Frederick P. Brooks, Jr.
Kenan Professor of Computer Science
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The Teacher's Job is to Design Learning Experiences; not Primarily to Impart Information

The primary job of the teacher is to make learning happen; that is a design task. Most of us learned most of what we know by what we did, not by what we heard or read. A corollary is that the careful designing of exercises, assignments, projects, even quizzes, makes more difference than the construction of lectures.

A second corollary is that project courses that go deeply into narrow aspects of a subject seem to stick longer and deeper than approaches aiming at comprehensive coverage. How to strike a balance?

I've taught a first software engineering laboratory course 22 times, and an advanced computer architecture course about ten times. Here are some techniques that work for me.

About Frederick P. Brooks, Jr.: UNC-Chapel Hill Kenan Professor Fred Brooks is a Chapel Hill native who grew up in Greenville NC. He’s been crazy about computers since teenage, in the ‘40’s. After his Ph.D. under Howard Aiken at Harvard, he joined IBM. In the ‘50’s, he was an architect of the IBM Stretch and Harvest supercomputers. In the ‘60’s, he was IBM’s Corporate Project Manager for the System/360, leading development of both the System/360 computer family hardware, and of the Operating System/360 software.

He founded the UNC Department of Computer Science in 1964 and chaired it for 20 years. His research has been in computer architecture, software engineering, and now interactive 3-D computer graphics ("virtual reality"). His best-known books are The Mythical Man-Month (1975,1995), Computer Architecture (with G.A. Blaauw, 1997), and The Design of Design (2010).

Dr. Brooks has received the National Medal of Technology, and the Turing Award of the ACM. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and a Foreign Member of the (British) Royal Academy of Engineering, which is more fun. A Christian, he chaired the Executive Committee for the Billy Graham Research Triangle Crusade in 1973.

Hal Ableson
Class of 1922 Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Winner of the 2012 SIGCSE Award for Outstanding Contribution to Computer Science Education

From Computational Thinking to Computational Values

SIGCSE members love the beauty of computational thinking. They know the joy of bringing those ideas to young people. That love for computational thinking entails respect for the computational values that empower people in the digital world. For academics, those values have been central to the flowering of computing as an intellectual endeavor.

Today, those values are increasingly threatened by stresses from both within and outside academia: squabbles over who owns academic work, increasingly stringent and overreaching intellectual property laws, and the replacement of open computing platforms by closed applications and walled-garden application markets.

In this talk I'll describe some things we've done at MIT to support computational values, like open publication of all our course materials, our faculty policy on open publication of academic research, and our recently announced initiative for open online instruction based on non-proprietary software platforms. I'll discuss Creative Commons licensing and Free Software, and the importance of tinkerability for empowering citizens in an information society. And I'll describe App Inventor for Android, a new programming tool motivated by the vision that all of us us can experience mobile computing as creators using tools that we can control and reshape, rather than only as consumers of packaged applications.

About Harold "Hal" Abelson: Hal Abelson is a Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at MIT where he is co-director of the MIT Center for Mobile Learning at the Media Lab as well as the Decentralized Information Group at the MIT CS and AI Lab. He also serves as co-chair of MIT’s Council on Educational Technology, which oversees MIT's strategic educational technology activities and investments. In this capacity, he played key roles in fostering MIT institutional educational technology initiatives such MIT OpenCourseWare and MIT DSpace.

Abelson has been active in using computation as a conceptual framework in teaching since the 1970's when he directed the first implementation of the Logo computer language for the Apple II. Together with MIT faculty colleague Gerald Sussman, Abelson developed MIT's introductory computer science subject, Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs, which is organized around the notion that a computer language is primarily a formal medium for expressing ideas about methodology, rather than just a way to get a computer to perform operations. This work, through a popular computer science textbook by Abelson and Gerald and Julie Sussman, videos of their lectures, and the availability on personal computers of the Scheme dialect of Lisp, has had a world-wide impact on university computer-science education.

Abelson has a broad interest in information technology and policy, and he developed and teaches the MIT course Ethics and Law on the Electronic Frontier. He co-authored the 2008 book Blown to Bits, which describes, in non-technical terms, the cultural and political disruptions caused by the information explosion.

Abelson is a leader in the worldwide movement towards openness and democratization of culture and intellectual resources. He is a founding director of the Free Software Foundation, Creative Commons, Public Knowledge, and he is a director of the Center for Democracy and Technology‚ all organizations that are devoted to strengthening the global intellectual commons.

Fernanda Viégas and Martin Wattenberg
Google's "Big Picture" visualization research group in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Through the Looking Glass: Talking about the World with Visualization

Data visualization has historically been accessible only to the elite in academia, business, and government. It was "serious" technology, created by experts for experts. In recent years, however, web-based visualizations--ranging from political art projects to news stories--have reached audiences of millions.

What will this new era of data transparency look like--and what are the implications for technologists who work with data? To help answer this question, we report on recent research into public data analysis and visualization. Some of our results come from Many Eyes, a "living laboratory" web site where people may upload their own data, create interactive visualizations, and carry on conversations. We'll also show how the art world has embraced visualization. We'll discuss the future of visual literacy and what it means for a world where visualizations are a part of political discussions, citizen activism, religious discussions, game playing, and educational exchanges.

About Fernanda Viégas and Martin Wattenberg: Fernanda Viégas and Martin Wattenberg lead Google's "Big Picture" visualization research group in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Before joining Google, the two founded Flowing Media, Inc., a visualization studio focused on media and consumer-oriented projects. Prior to Flowing Media, they led IBM’s Visual Communication Lab, where they created the ground-breaking public visualization platform Many Eyes. The two became a team in 2003 when they decided to visualize Wikipedia, leading to the "history flow" project that revealed the self-healing nature of the online encyclopedia.

Viégas is known for her pioneering work on depicting chat histories and email. Wattenberg’s visualizations of the stock market and baby names are considered Internet classics. Viégas and Wattenberg are also known for their visualization-based artwork, which has been exhibited in venues such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York, London Institute of Contemporary Arts and the Whitney Museum of American Art.