Seminars & Colloquia

Rance Necaise

Computer Science, Washington and Lee University

"Using Python as a Teaching Language "

Thursday February 12, 2009 10:15 AM
Location: 3211, EBII NCSU Centennial Campus
(Visitor parking instructions)


Abstract: Python is a cross-platform scripting language which offers a simple yet powerful syntax that can be used to create a wide range of programs from basic two or three liners to very complex object-oriented solutions. Its ease of use allows for more focus on problem solving and less on the syntax to perform specific operations. The simple syntax resembles pseudo code allowing for easier specification and implementation of algorithms. In recent years, some colleges have adopted Python for teaching programming and problem solving in their introductory courses. The use of Python as a teaching language, however, can have an impact not only throughout the CS curriculum, but also on undergraduate research performed in the other sciences. In this talk, I will give an overview of Python in comparison to Java and C++ and discuss some of the pros and cons of its use for teaching introductory courses for both majors and non-majors. I will also discuss its impact on other science disciplines and present some of the 6 ongoing projects that use Python in which undergraduates can participate.
Short Bio: Rance Necaise is an Associate Professor of Computer Science at Washington and Lee University. He has 19 years of undergraduate teaching experience in a wide range of topics, both as a graduate TA and full-time professor. Before arriving at Washington and Lee he also held visiting positions at the College of William and Mary and the University of Southern Mississippi. He received a B.S. and M.S. in Computer Science from Southern Miss in 1989 and 1991, and a PhD in Computer Science from the College of William and Mary in 1998. His research interests include computer science education, parallel applications and digital image processing.

Host: Dennis Bahler, Computer Science, NCSU

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