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Neither rocket science nor washing machine science

Neither rocket science nor washing machine science

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Neither rocket science nor washing machine science

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  1. School of Computing FACULTY OF ENGINEERING Neither rocket science nor washing machine science Roger Boyle, roger@comp.leeds.ac.uk Professor of Computing rdb, University of Leeds, ITICSE 2008

  2. It’s early. You were up late. You’re excused in going to sleep (if you’re even here). I will try too keep you awake. rdb, University of Leeds, ITICSE 2008

  3. A competition N A stolen idea or quotation. Match number to name. The drink of your choice for the prizewinner. rdb, University of Leeds, ITICSE 2008

  4. 1 Pay attention! This is a lecture. rdb, University of Leeds, ITICSE 2008

  5. Question - How can I go forward when I don't know which way I'm facing? 2 rdb, University of Leeds, ITICSE 2008

  6. Backwards/Forwards For the very young, “origins” and “history” are difficult to reason about. Computer Science is very young. Or is it? rdb, University of Leeds, ITICSE 2008

  7. Ferranti Pegasus I University of Leeds, 1957 Birth William Bragg Nobel prize (Physics) 1915 rdb, University of Leeds, ITICSE 2008

  8. Birth Professor Sir Gordon Cox to Professor E R Rideal, Director of the Davy-Faraday laboratory of the Royal Institution, 1948 “... a good deal of computation is involved ...” rdb, University of Leeds, ITICSE 2008

  9. Calcolatrice Elettronica Pisana Birth Enrico Fermi Nobel prize (Physics) 1938 rdb, University of Leeds, ITICSE 2008

  10. La Calcolatrice Elettronica Pisana (Piero Maestrini) Fermi writes in 1954 to the Rector of the University of Pisa: … the “computer” [would establish] a research tool for many fields of science [and would bring advantages] ...to students and researchers who would have the chance to experience and train themselves using these new computational tools. Fermi died shortly afterward in Chicago. Foremost physicists recorded the letter as – “Fermi’s last scientific bequest to Italy”. rdb, University of Leeds, ITICSE 2008

  11. 3 Bliss it was in that dawn to be alive But to be young was very heaven! • Most present entered the game some time after its birth rdb, University of Leeds, ITICSE 2008

  12. 4 1979: Every computer scientist is a failed something else Adolescence? rdb, University of Leeds, ITICSE 2008

  13. Adolescence • We had patrician beginnings • We found our feet. And our identity. We grew up.. • We recruited widely and strongly. Our garden was rosy. The Britain that is going to be forged in the white heat of this [technological] revolution … [Harold Wilson, ex Prime Minister of the UK] rdb, University of Leeds, ITICSE 2008

  14. 5 Growing pains? • Balanced on the biggest wave … … we seemed to fall off rdb, University of Leeds, ITICSE 2008

  15. 6 Times are bad. Children no longer obey their parents, and everyone is writing a book. Growing pains? “ … unprepared for large scale complex IT projects … ” “ … enrolment crisis.” “ … declines pronounced in computer science.” “ … falling behind in the capacity for discovery, innovation and development” “ … first ever slump …” “Computer Science is in trouble …” “Computing Education is in crisis …” rdb, University of Leeds, ITICSE 2008

  16. The Computer Science fairy-tale? • We had patrician beginnings • We found our feet. And our identity. We grew up.. • We recruited widely and strongly. Our garden was rosy. • The tide turned. Our garden is not rosy. • In true fairy-tale tradition, the happy ending is just around the corner. rdb, University of Leeds, ITICSE 2008

  17. Fairy tales 7 All traditional fairy tales follow the same format: • Life is grim • Something comes along to improve it • There is a relapse, but not to the depths of point (1) • Everything is resolved. Everyone lives happily every after. rdb, University of Leeds, ITICSE 2008

  18. Fairy tales • (It’s rather important to stress that this only applies to fairy-tales: not Hamlet, Titus Groan, etc.) rdb, University of Leeds, ITICSE 2008

  19. Fairy tales • (It’s rather important to stress that this only applies to fairy-tales: not Hamlet, Titus Groan, etc.) rdb, University of Leeds, ITICSE 2008

  20. Fairy tales: predestiny rdb, University of Leeds, ITICSE 2008

  21. 0 An axis • You are here Good Bad Dragons Ugly sisters Unhappy Deans Happy ever after Prince Charming Happy Deans rdb, University of Leeds, ITICSE 2008

  22. Source: CRA, May 2005 Problems: #1 • They don’t love us • any more rdb, University of Leeds, ITICSE 2008

  23. Problems: #1 Publications, speakers and conferences passim discuss this. But: Computing is Boring, Frustrating, Confusing, Hardware faults, Internet failure, Difficult, Hard to keep up with, Nerdy, Antisocial [Scottish schoolchildren, 2002] We all await the ITICSE keynote “The magic wand: Increasing the number of CS fluent high school teachers” rdb, University of Leeds, ITICSE 2008

  24. 8 “One of the tragedies of the whole “ICT” agenda is that just when the country desperately needs architects (who earn big bucks), the bright kids in school are getting mandatory lessons in bricklaying, with bent tools, crap materials and bored teachers, and being told 'this is architecture'. Small wonder they choose to be lawyers instead, and our student numbers keep dropping. Problems: #1a • “IT/ICT” - Someone is taking our name in vain rdb, University of Leeds, ITICSE 2008

  25. Problems: #1a • We are trying to combat active distraction introduced in the nursery. • This is not a new revelation: • CS4HS, CS4FN, EISS, CCTA, … • We all still await the ITICSE keynote “The magic wand: Increasing the number of CS fluent high school teachers” rdb, University of Leeds, ITICSE 2008

  26. 9 The chief distinction in the intellectual powers of the two sexes is shown in a man's attaining higher eminence in whatever he takes up than can a woman. Problems: #2 • Some of them never loved us in the first place. rdb, University of Leeds, ITICSE 2008

  27. Problems: #2 Source: CRA, May 2005 rdb, University of Leeds, ITICSE 2008

  28. Solutions ?: #2 • E.g., “Computer clubs for girls”? … you and your girls could explore how to make a quiz, a seasonal e-card, an interactive poster, a CC4G Club homepage or membership card We all still await the ITICSE keynote “The magic wand: Increasing the number of CS fluent high school teachers” rdb, University of Leeds, ITICSE 2008

  29. Keeping the pipeline stoked: The BCSWomen Undergraduate Lovelace Colloquium Leeds, June 16th http:www.comp.leeds.ac.uk/bcswomen Solutions ?: #2 Leah Buechley, CS at University Colorado See ITICSE 2007 rdb, University of Leeds, ITICSE 2008

  30. Problems: #3 Some of them just don’t [want to] know we’re here. Whose fault is that? Me: Had you thought about studying at university? 17yo: Nah, I’m going to get a job … rdb, University of Leeds, ITICSE 2008

  31. Problems: #3 rdb, University of Leeds, ITICSE 2008

  32. Problems: #3 “ … bicycles, skate-boards or roller-blades must not be used … “ rdb, University of Leeds, ITICSE 2008

  33. Problems: #3 • Top universities fail to spend £3m set aside to attract poorer students. (“The Guardian”, January 23rd 2008) • poorer students are being put off applying to university for fear of getting into debt and very few understand the bursaries on offer • many do not know if they are eligible for bursaries and that only a small minority knew where to find information • exam reforms could disadvantage state school pupils rdb, University of Leeds, ITICSE 2008

  34. 3 universities, 10 colleges, 11 municipal libraries, … (Born 1932) Problems: #3 • http://www.morethanyouthink.com/ rdb, University of Leeds, ITICSE 2008

  35. On the other hand, it certainly isn’t all bad • Biocomputing • Grid computing • Web science • Quantum computing • … • … • … rdb, University of Leeds, ITICSE 2008

  36. 2008 • data are Big and data are wild … flickr, youtube, facebook, wikipedia, … rdb, University of Leeds, ITICSE 2008

  37. Big data • It’s not just fun to have: it drives a lot of what we do. • Students at the University of Washington are about to begin a large-scale simulation of a future in which you and your items are tracked by tiny monitoring devices we know as RFID tags. (http://blog.wired.com/wiredscience/2008/02/social-networks.html) • Google image labeler. (http://images.google.com/imagelabeler/) • Yahoo’s flickrtag miner (http://research.yahoo.com/taglines/) • More data usually beats better algorithms (Anand Rajaram, Stanford, March 2008, http://anand.typepad.com/datawocky/2008/03/more-data-usual.html). • “ … stockpile personal secrets …”; “300000 people will have access to the NHS database” (Henry Porter, The Observer 25th November 2007). rdb, University of Leeds, ITICSE 2008

  38. Asbestos fibre in lung tissue Matthew Clifford, May 2007 Visualisation of a Kohonen Map of gene ontology annotations Keeran Brabazon, May 2008 Images: 12000x80000 pixels – fibres 30-50 pixels long Big data But we should involve our students in this directly - rdb, University of Leeds, ITICSE 2008

  39. Quantitative findings of any material and energy changes preserve their full context only through their being seen and understood as parts of a natural order. 10 What’s going on? There is a context to what we see. rdb, University of Leeds, ITICSE 2008

  40. What’s going on? • Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants (Prensky) • used to receiving information really fast • like to parallel process and multi-task • prefer their graphics before their text • prefer random access • function best when networked • thrive on instant gratification and frequent rewards • prefer games to “serious” work. rdb, University of Leeds, ITICSE 2008

  41. 11 What’s going on? Every computer scientist is a failed something else Not any more But they are coming from a different place to us rdb, University of Leeds, ITICSE 2008

  42. The Liquid world / 2nd modernity • the shrinking of space abolishes the flow of time • inhabitants live in a perpetual present • people are constantly busy and perpetually ‘short of time’ • residents of the first world live in time; space does not matter for them • we occupy a world of communication networks in which social and physical space have diverged • social networks are not being added on to the national container; they are changing its nature • a society preoccupied with the future … [with] a variable trust in industry, government and experts • [Zygmunt Bauman, Ulrich Beck, Anthony Giddens] rdb, University of Leeds, ITICSE 2008

  43. 12 Beyond “our” Internet … production of useless products for a throwaway society … … contacts are hastier and communication has less depth … … life is characterised not by progress, but by a simple continuation … rdb, University of Leeds, ITICSE 2008

  44. 13 • History is more or less bunk. We don’t want tradition. We want to live in the present and the only history that is worth a tinker’s damn is the history we make today rdb, University of Leeds, ITICSE 2008

  45. ROSE: Sjøberg et al., Oslo The Relevance of Science Education … the predominant zeitgeist has a major influence on young people’s way of thinking about and understanding their world … … society emphasises values like environment, democracy, care, self actualisation … recruitments to medicine, biology, environment are not falling & girls often outnumber boys … What do you want to be when you’re grown up? rdb, University of Leeds, ITICSE 2008

  46. ROSE: Sjoberg et al., Oslo “School science is interesting” Africa Asia S Europe E Europe N Europe Japan Scandinavia http://www.ils.uio.no/english/rose/ rdb, University of Leeds, ITICSE 2008

  47. ROSE: Sjoberg et al., Oslo “I like school science better than most other subjects” Africa Asia S Europe E Europe N Europe Japan Scandinavia http://www.ils.uio.no/english/rose/ rdb, University of Leeds, ITICSE 2008

  48. ROSE: Sjoberg et al., Oslo “I would like to become a scientist” Africa Asia S Europe E Europe N Europe Japan Scandinavia http://www.ils.uio.no/english/rose/ rdb, University of Leeds, ITICSE 2008

  49. What’s going on? There is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9) We are Computer Science. Meaning? rdb, University of Leeds, ITICSE 2008

  50. … nothing new … Communities … are bound by intricate socially constructed webs of belief which are essential to understanding what they do. (Brown et al. 1989) The office of the physicist … has pictures on the walls of Einstein and Oppenheimer; the sociologist prefers Durkheim and Weber. (Clark 1983) rdb, University of Leeds, ITICSE 2008