Swarthmore College Department of Computer Science

Talk by Eric Roberts, Stanford University

Programming and the Computer Science Curriculum: The More Things Change...
Thursday, November 6 2008
7:30 pm in Science Center 101 (Swarthmore College)

Abstract: As colleges and universities respond to declining enrollments in computer science, a number of institutions have sought to reduce the focus on programming in the undergraduate curriculum. I believe that such an approach is misguided, not only as a strategy for attracting more students to the field, but also in terms of meeting the workforce needs of the software industry. The demand for highly productive employees with advanced software-development expertise is huge, and universities are producing far too few graduates with the necessary skills and talent. The discipline of programming, however, has changed dramatically over the last 25 years, and university curricula and pedagogical approaches have not always kept pace. In this talk, I will offer some general reflections on the nature of programming in the 21st century and propose several initiatives designed to ensure that the educational system can produce the technologically sophisticated workforce on which our economy depends.

Biography: After receiving his Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from Harvard University in 1980, Eric Roberts taught at Wellesley College from 1980-85, where he chaired the Computer Science Department. From 1985-90, he was a member of the research staff at Digital Equipment Corporation's Systems Research Center in Palo Alto, California, where he conducted computer science research, focusing on programming tools for multiprocessor architectures. In September 1990, Roberts joined the Stanford faculty, where he is now Professor of Computer Science and the John A. and Cynthia Fry Gunn University Fellow in Undergraduate Education.

This talk is presented by the FLICS Program: Fantastic Lectures in Computer Science, jointly hosted by: Bryn Mawr College, Haverford College, Swarthmore College, and Villanova University.