Posts tagged ‘ACM’

Congratulations to Bill Wulf, 2014 ACM Karl V. Karlstrom Outstanding Educator Awardee

William Wulf is the 2014 recipient of the ACM Karl V. Karlstrom Outstanding Educator Award

Wulf is recognized for contributions as a teacher, author, and national leader who focused attention and changed the national education agenda and in the process supported the needs of underserved and under-represented students. As Assistant Director of the National Science Foundation’s Directorate for Computer and Information Science & Engineering (CISE), he understood the role NSF played in supporting science and engineering in the US for both basic research and operation of several high performance computing centers and networks. As President of the US National Academy of Engineering, he advocated for advances in engineering education and technical literacy. Wulf is professor emeritus of Computer Science at the University of Virginia. An ACM Fellow, he received the 2011 ACM Distinguished Service Award.

via Karl V. Karlstrom Outstanding Educator Award – ACM Award.

May 20, 2015 at 7:42 am Leave a comment

Mehran Sahami wins ACM Presidential Award for the CS2013 Curriculum Revision

This is really well-deserved. Mehran worked amazingly hard to pull a wide range of stakeholders together for the CS2013 curriculum. The ACM Presidential Award is discretionary — they only give it out if someone really deserves it. Glad to see Mehran getting this recognition!

  • For outstanding leadership of, and commitment to, the three-year ACM/IEEE-CS effort to produce CS2013  a comprehensive revision of the curricular guidelines for undergraduate programs in computer science

Mehran Sahami of Stanford University, recipient of the ACM Presidential Award for leading the revision of an innovative computer science curriculum that reflects the application of computing tools in a wide variety of disciplines. Sahami led the effort by ACM and the IEEE Computer Society to develop guidelines for undergraduate degree programs that redefine essential computing topics and set the standards for computer science education worldwide for the next decade. The report includes examples of flexible courses and curricula models for a broad range of higher education institutions worldwide.


via ACM Presidential Award – ACM Award.

April 24, 2014 at 9:22 am 3 comments

Susan Rodger (SIGCSE Chair) wins ACM Karl V. Karlstrom Outstanding Educator Award

Congratulations, Susan!

Susan H. Rodger, recipient of the Karl V. Karlstrom Outstanding Educator Award for contributions to the teaching of computer science theory in higher education, and the development of computer science education in primary and secondary schools. She and her students developed JFLAP (Java Formal Languages and Automata Package), an interactive software tool that allows students to construct and test examples of automata and grammars. These concepts are foundational to the design of software components, such as compiler parts. Intended primarily for undergraduate students or as an advanced topic for high school, JFLAP is used worldwide in computer science theory, compiler, and discrete mathematics courses. Through workshops for faculty development, Rodger’s work contributed to the creation of a professional community around the use of visualizations to teach algorithms. She also leads efforts to introduce the programming language Alice in primary and secondary schools. Rodger is a professor of the practice of computer science at Duke University. Currently chair of the ACM Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE), she is a board member of CRA-W and a member of the ACM Education Policy Committee. The Karlstrom Award recognizes educators who advanced new teaching methodologies; effected new curriculum development in Computer Science and Engineering; or contributed to ACM’s educational mission.

via ACM Honors Computing Innovators Who Are Changing the World — Association for Computing Machinery.

April 21, 2014 at 9:34 am Leave a comment

Call for participants in 2nd Annual ACM Non-Doctoral Computing Programs Study

2nd Annual ACM NDC Study

Of Non-Doctoral Granting Departments in Computing
If you…

•Are at a 4-year, not-for-profit school, with 1 or more programs in in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Information Systems, Information Technology, or Software Engineering…
•Do NOT report data to the Taulbee Survey…
•Did NOT receive a login URL for your program(s)…

Please contact ACM Education Manager Yan Timanovsky ( ASAP! Deadline is March 16  (extensions possible upon request).


Why participate:

•  As an annual survey, NDC produces timely data on enrollment, degree production, student body composition, and faculty salaries/demographics that can benchmark your institution/program(s) and invite useful conversations with your faculty and administration.

•   Those who qualify for and complete NDC in its entirety will be entered in a drawing to receive one of (3) unrestricted grants of $2,500 toward your department’s discretionary fund.






March 4, 2014 at 6:03 pm Leave a comment

The ACM/IEEE 2013 CS Curriculum is released (in the nick of time!)

Posted by Mehran Sahami to the SIGCSE members list. Congratulations to the team for finishing it in time.

Dear Colleagues,

We are delighted to announce the release of the ACM/IEEE-CS Computer Science
Curricula 2013 (CS2013) Final Report. The report is available at the CS2013
website ( or directly at:
(The report will also soon be posted at the ACM website as well as at

The CS2013 Final Report contains guidance for undergraduate programs in
computer science, including a revised Body of Knowledge, over 80 course
exemplars (showing how the CS2013 Body of
Knowledge may be covered in a variety of actual fielded courses), and 5 full
curricular exemplars from a variety of educational institutions. The report
also contains discussions of characteristics of CS graduates, design
dimensions in introductory courses, and institutional challenges in CS
programs, among other topics. The report has been endorsed by both the ACM
and IEEE-Computer Society. We hope you find it useful.

To cite the CS2013 report, please use the canonical citation provided below
in ACM format and BibTex.

ACM format:
ACM/IEEE-CS Joint Task Force on Computing Curricula. 2013. Computer Science
Curricula 2013. ACM Press and IEEE Computer Society Press. DOI:

title = {Computer Science Curricula 2013},
author = {ACM/IEEE-CS Joint Task Force on Computing Curricula},
month = {December},
year = {2013},
institution = {ACM Press and IEEE Computer Society Press},
url = {},
doi = {10.1145/2534860}

Warm regards,
Mehran Sahami and Steve Roach
Co-Chairs, CS2013 Steering Committee

CS2013 Steering Committee

ACM Delegation
Mehran Sahami, Chair (Stanford University)
Andrea Danyluk (Williams College)
Sally Fincher (University of Kent)
Kathleen Fisher (Tufts University)
Dan Grossman (University of Washington)
Beth Hawthorne (Union County College)
Randy Katz (UC Berkeley)
Rich LeBlanc (Seattle University)
Dave Reed (Creighton University)

IEEE-CS Delegation
Steve Roach, Chair (Exelis Inc.)
Ernesto Cuadros-Vargas (Univ. Catolica San Pablo, Peru)
Ronald Dodge (US Military Academy)
Robert France (Colorado State University)
Amruth Kumar (Ramapo College of New Jersey)
Brian Robinson (ABB Corporation)
Remzi Seker (Embry-Riddle Aeronautical Univ.)
Alfred Thompson (Microsoft)

December 30, 2013 at 10:42 am 1 comment

ACM NDC Report Confirms Growth in Graduates With Computing Skills

The first ACM study of non-doctoral computing (NDC) departments has just released its report (to contrast with the Taulbee Survey which is focused on doctoral-granting department).  Below is the coverage in the Huffington Post.

The study shows that enrollment in undergraduate computer science (CS) programs within these departments increased 11 percent between 2011-12 and 2012-13. Computer science bachelor’s degree production in these departments is expected to increase nearly 14 percent during this period. Other areas of computing, such as software engineering and information technology, also are experiencing growth according to the report. Only in the information systems area is there no real evidence of growth. Master’s degree production in the NDC departments also generally is increasing, adding to the skilled employment base in these key technology areas.

via ACM Report Confirms Growth in Graduates With Computing Skills | Stuart Zweben.

October 26, 2013 at 1:45 am 1 comment

The ACM ‘paywall,’ computing education research, and open access

I reference research papers regularly in this blog, often in the ACM Digital Library. I’ve been receiving more complaints lately when I reference papers “behind a paywall.” After I linked to the article that Leo Porter, Beth Simon, Charlie McDowell, and I wrote about successful practices in CS1, someone tweeted that we were “whores” by allowing our paper to be sold by ACM. As Greg Wilson said to me, the support for open access in our community is “vehement.” Now, there is a petition demanding that the ACM open up the Digital Library, free of charge.

I’m a computing education researcher in the ACM SIGCSE community. “Open access” is much more complicated in my community. The arguments for opening access are more subtle in under-funded and even non-funded education community.  The British Academy has just released a set of papers (July 2013) on the challenges of fitting social science and humanities research into open access models.  They argue that we need a ‘mixed economy’ because there are different expectations and funding models for research in different disciplines.  Open access is different for computing education research than other areas of computer science because it is a social science.

Why Education is more complicated for Open Access

The case for open access is made in the first sentence of the petition:

Computer science research is largely funded by the public, for the public good.

There are two cases to consider: the research that is funded by the public, and the research that is not. Let’s start with the research that is not funded publicly, because that’s a big part of what makes education unusual.

Many (maybe most) of the papers published at the SIGCSE Symposium and the ICER Conference are not supported by public funds. Go through the SIGCSE papers and note which reference public funding and which don’t — it’s a pretty high percentage that don’t. ICER was created explicitly because there were groups of faculty, without public funding, who were collaborating and doing experiments in their classes and then pooling the data. They needed someplace to publish. Those faculty were paid to teach, and they had heavy teaching loads. They did the research on their own time, because they valued doing it. I don’t see how the public can lay claim to their work.

Some of the work at SIGCSE is publicly funded, but maybe at lower levels compared to funding from Department of Defense, National Institutes of Health, or Department of Energy. My research is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). How much we are funded is limited by NSF rules and by institute rules. For example, graduate student research assistants can only be paid for up to 20 hours of work (and only 15 before passing qualifying examinations, in my school). Few PhD students complete his or her research work in only 20 hours a week. Let’s say it’s 60 hours per week. Are we really arguing that all of that student’s work is “funded by the public” when that is true for only 1/3 of the hours? Should the public be able to lay claim to all of the student’s work because of those 20 hours per week? If anyone does work outside of what they’re paid for, isn’t that their work?

The issues are actually much the same for faculty, though we get paid much better. Faculty at my school are funded for 9 months by the state of Georgia, and I do federal NSF-funded work for an additional two months per year.  For the last two years of “Georgia Computes!” I could only charge two weeks (specifically, 80 hours) of my time to that project per year. ECEP is a five year project on which I can only charge 160 hours per year. I spend 150 hours per year just on the management meetings for ECEP. I’ve already spent more than 40 hours on the road, doing the work of ECEP in Maryland, South Carolina, and at the CSTA Conference. All of that is before the work of evaluating data and writing papers. I am pretty sure that the state of Georgia does not see itself funding my work with these other states. Simply put: The federal government does not fund everything I do. If they don’t fund everything I do, I don’t believe that they can lay claim to it.

When I shared this story with my colleague, Beki Grinter, she pointed out that the case is similarly murky for corporate-funded work. Microsoft paid for the robotics CS1 work here at Georgia Tech and Bryn Mawr. Can the public lay claim to that work, too? That work is in the ACM Digital Library. By what right is that work made freely available?

All authors want their work to be distributed widely, to have impact. I usually provide copies of my papers when asked, and I use the ACM DL Authorizer service to provide free access to my papers. It’s up to other authors to decide if they are willing to do the same. Yes, opening up the DL would allow the papers to be distributed even more widely. But is that sustainable? What about the funds that are lost? I am willing to forego that breadth of access in favor of the good of closed access. That’s the deal that all the ACM authors made when they assign ACM copyright. The open access movement aims to change the agreement, after the fact.

Education research and the developed world

The petition I mentioned earlier focuses on the public funding for the public good. Another argument for open access that I’ve heard (and thanks to my college, Ellen Zegura, for helping me understand this) is to serve people the developing world — people who don’t have access to the resources of the developed world, and for whom ACM Digital Library access is prohibitively expensive.

Education research is different than most CS research because it’s a social science.  Are the papers published in the SIGCSE Symposium and the ICER conference directly useful to the developing world?

“Transferring education from the United States to Africa wouldn’t work,” argued Bakary Diallo, rector of African Virtual University. “Because we have our own realities,” he added, “our own context and culture.”

  • Writing humanities and social science research is a dialogue with an audience (as described in this piece in The Guardian).  It’s not merely a process of reporting findings.  If you are writing for a developed world audience, you are explicitly not speaking to a developing world audience.  If you want to write for a developing world audience, you should learn to write for that audience.

I have not worked in the developing world, so I can’t speak to the issues of bridging the gap between the developing and developed worlds.  But most education researchers have faced these issues of differing cultures and audiences.  I have talked about Media Computation in several countries.  When the places I visited were like my culture and audience, it worked pretty well — MediaComp is being adopted successfully in Australia, for example.  When the places I visited were not like my culture, I realized that I was solving completely the wrong problems for them and what I was saying was useless.  When I spoke to teachers in China and Mexico and Qatar, I realized that I needed to listen before I could say anything worthwhile to them.

The problem of transferring education research isn’t just a problem of the gap between the developed and developing world.  In ECEP, we are realizing that even curricula, outreach programs, and policy approaches don’t transfer between states — even neighboring states!  I work in Georgia, South Carolina, Massachusetts, and California now.  The values and concerns are very different even between Georgia and South Carolina, and we’re really struggling to figure out what our summer camp model means in Massachusetts and California.

There’s a perspective that says that this view is “patronizing,” and continuing an “us/them” perspective. I believe in tailoring for different audiences, but that doesn’t imply superiority of one audience over another audience.  The key idea in my work is that one size does not fit all for computing education. In our CS classes, we often make the mistake of assuming that what works for some percentage of our class is good enough for everyone, and if some don’t succeed with that approach, it’s their fault. There is evidence to believe that different students succeed best at different approaches, e.g., that there are aptitude-treatment interactions,. Cognitive science has told us for decades that students’ prior background influences how and what they learn. Our Media Computation approach improved the success rates of liberal arts students at Georgia Tech, from a less than 50% success rate to an 85% success rate.   I don’t believe that my liberal arts students are superior to my CS students, or vice-versa, but I do believe that each group has different goals and succeeds best with different approaches.  I’m concerned that pushing for open access is making the same mistake that we keep making in CS — if it works for us, it’s good enough for them, so just give it to them and let them figure it out.  (Kind of like MOOCs.)

Any responsibility that the developed world has to share research with the developing world is not met by simply sending them our papers.  If we want to share our research findings, we have to learn their educational problems and their educational goals and values.  We would have to learn to communicate about their issues.

Where does the money go

I have to admit a bias here: I consider myself part of the ACM community. I value being part of that community, being an editor and reviewer and author, and that funds from those efforts goes to sustain the community. Language matters — ‘paywall’ sounds permanent, as a “wall” is. It’s really more like a ‘tollgate,’ where the tolls support the community.

The ACM does good with the funding it receives, from my perspective in education. The funds generated by the DL go back to support the authors’ research communities

  • A portion of all fees generated from SIGCSE publications goes back to the SIGCSE Board. I have served on that Board for the last three years. The funds are used for travel grants to new faculty to get them to the SIGCSE Symposium, for special projects funding to produce new curricular materials for the community, and to provide for a rainy-day fund in case conferences don’t break-even. If the DL funding wasn’t there, the conferences would probably have to raise their rates, to reduce the risk of ending up with a deficit.
  • ACM itself funds efforts like the ACM Education Board and Education Council. These organizations fund the development of curriculum standards. By “fund,” I mean pay for travel, food, and lodging. The participants volunteer hundreds of hours of their own time for a really important purpose. These curricular standards are particularly important in the developing world, to serve as a guide for what a CS degree is supposed to be.

Of course, part of the fee goes to maintaining the DL, and that’s not insignificant. I hope the DL will continue. That costs money. A fee-based system is sustainable.

The ACM is not a nameless corporate entity. It’s a volunteer-driven, membership community. The DL is not a bank that is covetously hoarding intellectual wealth. It’s a source of knowledge for computing professionals, and a source of funding for the good work of ACM.  If we want to make our research findings useful elsewhere, we should actively do that by understanding those cultures and audiences. We cannot expect that creating open access will necessarily fix educational problems elsewhere, but demanding open access may cost our community a lot.

(Thanks to Ian Bogost, Briana Morrison, and Leo Porter for advice on an earlier draft of this post.)

August 8, 2013 at 1:59 am 22 comments

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