| Title: Contextualized Computing Education
Speaker: Mark Guzdial (College of Computing at Georgia Institute of Technology).
Session: Tuesday 20 January 1030-1200 (Soundings Theatre)
Abstract: One of the most powerful tools for improving success rates in introductory computing courses is the incorporation of context -- a theme that pervades the computing lectures, assignments, and examples which relates the content to a concrete application domain. Contextualized computing education has even allowed us to be successful with challenging audiences, such as the non-technical major. In this talk, we review why Georgia Tech has chosen to teach serious computer science to every student on campus, and then discuss research findings from several schools on the benefits and costs of contextualized computing education.
Bio: Mark developed Emile, an environment for high school science learners programming multimedia demonstrations and physics simulations. Mark was the original developer of the CoWeb (or Swiki), which is now one of the most widely used Wiki engines in Universities around the world. Mark is the inventor of the Media Computation approach to learning introductory computing, which uses contextualized computing education to attract and retain students. Mark is currently vice-chair of the ACM Education Board.
| Title: Computing Outside the Box
Speaker: Ian Foster (Argonne National Laboratory & University of Chicago).
Session: Wednesday 21 January 1030-1200 (Soundings Theatre)
Abstract: The past decade has seen increasingly ambitious and successful methods for outsourcing computing. Approaches such as utility computing, on-demand computing, grid computing, software as a service, and cloud computing all seek to free computer applications from the limiting confines of a single computer. Software that thus runs "outside the box" can be more powerful (think Google, TeraGrid), dynamic (think Animoto, caBIG), and collaborative (think FaceBook, myExperiment). It can also be cheaper, due to economies of scale in hardware and software. The combination of new functionality and new economics inspires new applications, reduces barriers to entry for application providers, and in general disrupts the computing ecosystem. I discuss the new applications that outside-the-box computing enables, in both business and science, and the hardware and software architectures that make these new applications possible.
Bio: Ian leads computer science projects developing advanced distributed computing ("Grid") technologies, computational science efforts applying these tools to problems in areas ranging from the analysis of data from physics experiments to remote access to earthquake engineering facilities, and the Globus open source Grid software project.
| Title: Finite Model Theory and its Origins
Speaker: Ronald Fagin (IBM Almaden Research Center).
Session: Thursday 22 January 1030-1200 (Soundings Theatre)
Abstract: Finite model theory is a study of the logical properties of finite mathematical structures. This talk gives an overview of how finite model theory arose, and of some work that sprang from that. This includes:
(1) Differences between the model theory of finite structures and infinite structures. Most of the classical theorems of logic fail for finite structures, which gives us a challenge to develop new concepts and tools, appropriate for finite structures.
(2) The relationship between finite model theory and complexity theory. Surprisingly enough, it turns out that in some cases, we can characterize complexity classes (such as NP) in terms of logic, without using any notion of machine, computation, or time.
(3) Zero-one laws. There is a remarkable phenomenon, which says that certain properties (such as those expressible in first-order logic) are either almost surely true or almost surely false.
(4) Descriptive complexity. Here we consider how complex a formula must be to express a given property.
The goal of this talk is to introduce the audience to the fascinating area of finite model theory.
Bio: Ronald's research interests include applications of logic to computer science, database theory, finite model theory and reasoning about knowledge. Ronald won the 2004 SIGMOD Edgar F. Codd Innovation Award for his influential and lasting contributions to the principles and the practice of database systems over a period spanning nearly three decades.
| Title: Computing for the Future of the Planet
Speaker: Andy Hopper (The Computer Laboratory, University of Cambridge).
Session: Friday 23 January 1100-1230 (Soundings Theatre) and New Zealand Computer Society (NZCS) Public Lecture
Abstract: Digital technology is becoming an indispensable and crucial component of our lives, society, and environment. A framework for computing in the context of problems facing the planet will be presented. The framework has a number of goals: an optimal digital infrastructure, sensing and optimising with a global world model, reliably predicting and reacting to our environment, and digital alternatives to physical activities.
Bio: Andy is the Head of Department at The Computer Laboratory, University of Cambridge. Andy's research interests include Computing for the Future of the Planet.
| In addition to our four keynote speakers above, CORE is running a fifth plenary session at 9am on Friday morning.
Title: Trans-Tasman Computing Curriculum
Session: Friday 23 January 0900-1030 (Soundings Theatre)
Abstract: CORE has undertaken the process of reviewing the accreditation standards for Australian degrees in Computer Science, Information Technology and Software Engineering. After a period of feedback, we have prepared a recommended accreditation standard that we will present at ACSW. Information on the process is at http://www.csse.unimelb.edu.au/~jz/curriculum.html.