Seminars & Colloquia

Owen Astrachan

Duke University

"Problems are the Essence of the Computing Vernacular"

Friday February 06, 2009 11:00 AM
Location: 3211, EB 2 NCSU Centennial Campus
(Visitor parking instructions)


Abstract: Scientists and science educators are telling us that 'science is a special way of knowing about the world'. As academic computer scientists we have engaged in large-scale efforts to essentially encourage the view that computing is integral to students, workers, and citizens of the 21st century.

As we advocate for computing we find ourselves discussing the benefits of Open Source in the tools we use, why multi-core architectures should change how we teach programming, and whether computing is more like engineering, science, or mathematics.

In this talk I will advocate for interdisciplinary computing problems as the vernacular we should use to teach and motivate a new generation of students in our field.

Short Bio: Owen Astrachan is Professor of the Practice of Computer Science at Duke University and the department's Director of Undergraduate Studies for Teaching and Learning. He earned his AB degree with distinction in Mathematics from Dartmouth and MAT (Math), MS, and PhD (Computer Science) from Duke. He received an NSF CAREER award in 1997 to incorporate design patterns in undergraduate computer science curricula and was one of two inaugural NSF CISE Distinguished Education Fellows in 2007 to revitalize computer science education using case- and problem-based learning. Professor Astrachan's research interests have been built on understanding how best to teach and learn about object-oriented programming, software design, and computer science in general; he is now working on developing a portfolio of substantial, interdisciplinary problems that help explain how computer science is relevant to students in the social and natural sciences. Professor Astrachan received Duke's 1995 Robert B. Cox Distinguished Teaching in Science Award, an Outstanding Instructor Award while teaching on sabbatical at the University of British Columbia in 1998, and Duke's 2002 Richard K. Lublin award for 'ability to engender genuine intellectual excitement, ability to engender curiosity, knowledge of field and ability to communicate that knowledge.'

Host: George Rouskas, Computer Science, NCSU

Back to Seminar Listings
Back to Colloquia Home Page