Thursday, March 25, 2010

April 19, 2010: Susan Rodger of Duke University

Computer Science Concepts Come Alive

Susan Rodger
Department of Computer Science
Duke University

Monday, April 19, 2010
4:30 pm (Tea at 4 pm in KINSC H208)
Koshland INSC H109
Directions and Map


We describe how to make computer science concepts come alive through visualization and interaction in several computer science courses from introductory computer science to theoretical computer science. We discuss three software tools. JAWAA, a scripting language, aids in creating animations of algorithms and data structures. JFLAP, a tool for automata and grammars, allows for experimentation with theoretical concepts. Alice, a virtual worlds programming environment, visualizes programming concepts in 3D that are accessible for students as young as middle school. We provide examples of how such tools aid students in understanding concepts.


Susan Rodger is a Professor of the Practice in the Computer Science Department at Duke University. She received her PhD in computer science from Purdue University. Rodger's research interests include interactive and visual software and computer science education. She developed JFLAP, a tool for experimenting with automata theory. JFLAP is used around the world in automata theory courses, compiler courses, and discrete math courses. Rodger developed JAWAA, a scripting language for algorithm animation over the web. She has taught Alice to students from college level to middle school level, and has run Alice workshops for K-12 teachers. She was a finalist in the 2007 NEEDS Premier Award for Excellence in Engineering Education Courseware (for JFLAP) and received an ACM Distinguished Educator award in 2006.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Mar 18: David Clark at Swarthmore

Computer Science as Social Science: The future of the Internet

David Clark, EECS, MIT

Thursday, March 18
4:15pm in SCI 101
Swarthmore College | Map and Directions

A lesson I have learned in my 35 years of working on the Internet is that the technologists are not in charge, and have not been in charge for at least the last 15 or 20 of those years. The forces that will shape the future of the Internet primarily derive from the deep social, economic and cultural embedding of the Internet. Technology will be successful if it is responsive to these pressures. This fact is both exciting and perhaps alarming--it is exciting to be working on a system that has had so much impact on the world, but Computer Scientists are not normally trained to think about these issues, and to derive from these issues what technical problems we should address. I will give some examples, both past and future, that suggest methods and models we can use to link what we as technologists do to the forces in the larger world that will interact with that technology.

David Clark is a Senior Research Scientist at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, where he has worked since receiving his Ph.D. there in 1973. Since the mid 70s, Dr. Clark has been leading the development of the Internet; from 1981-1989 he acted as Chief Protocol Architect in this development, and chaired the Internet Activities Board. His current research looks at re-definition of the architectural underpinnings of the Internet, and the relation of technology and architecture to economic, societal and policy considerations. He is helping the U.S. National Science foundation organize their Future Internet Design program. Dr. Clark is past chairman of the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board of the National Academies, and has contributed to a number of studies on the societal and policy impact of computer communications. He is co-director of the MIT Communications Futures Program, a project for industry collaboration and coordination along the communications value chain.