CSC News

March 11, 2019

NC State Paper Ranks #2 on SIGCSE’s Top Ten Symposium Papers of All Time

A paper co-authored by Nachiappan Nagappan, Laurie Williams, Miriam Ferzli, Eric Wiebe, Kai Yang, Carol Miller and Suzanne Balik has been recognized as the #2 paper on the list of the “Top Ten Symposium Papers of All Time.”  The paper, “Improving the CS1 Experience with Pair Programming,” which was written in 2003, was recognized at the 50th annual ACM Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE) TechnicalSymposium held last week in Minneapolis, MN.  The top ten papers were chosen from among the best papers that were presented at the SIGCSE Technical Symposium over the last 49 years.


The abstract follows:  Pair programming is a practice in which two programmers work collaboratively at one computer, on the same design, algorithm, or code. Prior research indicates that pair programmers produce higher quality code in essentially half the time taken by solo programmers. The authors organized an experiment to assess the efficacy of pair programming in an introductory Computer Science course. Their results indicate that pair programming creates a laboratory environment conducive to more advanced, active learning than traditional labs; students and lab instructors report labs to be more productive and less frustrating.


“In 1969, the year of our first SIGCSE symposium, computing education was a niche specialty” explains SIGCSE Board Chair Amber Settle of DePaul University, of Chicago, USA. “Today, it is an essential skill students need to prepare for the workforce. Computing has become one of the most popular majors in higher education, and more and more students are being introduced to computing in K-12 settings. The Top Ten Symposium Papers of All Time Award will emphasize the outstanding research that underpins and informs how students of all ages learn computing. We also believe that highlighting excellent research will inspire others to enter the computing education field and make their own contributions.”

The co-authors of each top paper will receive a plaque, free conference registration for one co-author to accept the award, and up to a total of $2,000 that can be used toward travel for all authors of the top ranked paper.  To read more about the papers on the Top Ten list, please click here.


NC State had a strong showing at this year’s SIGCSE Technical Symposium with at least 27 faculty and students attending.  According to Dr. Sarah Heckman, Director of Undergraduate Programs and Teaching Associate Professor who served as co-program chair of the conference, this was the most well attended conference (1,809) with the most papers ever accepted (169).  And finally, PhD student Sean Mealin received a 1st Best Paper award in the Experience Report and Tools track on a paper co-authored with Andreas Stefik, Richard E. Ladner, and William Allee on "Computer Science Principles for Teachers of Blind and Visually Impaired Students."  (See related story.)


The Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM SIGCSE) is a community of approximately 2,600 people who, in addition to their specialization within computing, have a strong interest in the quality of computing education. SIGCSE provides a forum for educators to discuss the problems concerned with the development, implementation, and/or evaluation of computing programs, curricula, and courses, as well as syllabi, laboratories, and other elements of teaching and pedagogy.



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