TITLE: Dog Days of Summer AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford DATE: July 23, 2005 4:45 PM DESC: I haven't been doing much interesting these days, but that doesn't mean that I haven't been thinking about OOPSLA 2005... ----- BODY: Busy, busy, busy. As I mentioned in my anniversary post, the more interesting thoughts I have, the more I tend to blog. The last few weeks have been more about the clutter of meetings and preparing for some new tasks than about interesting thoughts. That's a little sad, but true. I did manage to spend a little more time at home with my wife this week, while my daughters were away at camp. That isn't sad at all. OOPSLA 2005 logo I have been working a bit on the Educators' Symposium for OOPSLA 2005. My program committee and I are working on a panel session to close the symposium, one that we hope will spark the minds of attendees as they head out into the conference proper. The rough theme draws on what some of us see as a sea change in computing. Without a corresponding change in CS education, we may doom ourselves to a future in which biologists, economists, chemists, political scientists, and most everyone else teach courses that involve computers and modeling and simulation -- and we will teach only theory and perceived esoterica to a small but hardy minority of students. Maybe that is where CS education should go, but if so I'd rather go there because we intend to, not because we all behave as if we were Chance the Gardener from Being There. During our discussion of this panel, members of my program committee directed me to two classics I had not read in a while, Edsger Dijkstra's On the Cruelty of Really Teaching Computer Science and Tony Hoare's 1980 Turing Award lecture, The Emperor's Old Clothes. Reading these gems again will likely get my mind moving. An unusual note regarding the Educators' Symposium... For many years now, OOPSLA's primary sponsor -- ACM's Special Interest Group on Programming Languages -- has offered scholarships for educators to attend the conference and the Educators' Symposium. A few years ago, when OOP was especially hot, the symposium offered in the neighborhood of fifty scholarships, and the number of applicants was larger. This year, we have received only nineteen applications for scholarships. Is OOP now so mainstream that educators don't feel they need to learn any more about it or how to teach it? Did I not advertise the availability of scholarships widely enough? As an OOP educator with some experience, I can honestly say that I have a lot yet to learn about OOP and how to teach it effectively. I think we are only scratching the surface of what is possible. I wonder why more educators haven't taken advantage of the opportunity to apply for a great deal to come to OOPSLA. If nothing else, a few days in San Diego is worth the time of applying! I have had my opportunity to encounter some interesting CS thoughts the last few weeks, through meetings with grad students. But I've had a couple of weeks off from those as well. Maybe that's just as well... my mind may have been wandering a bit. Perhaps that would explain why one of my M.S. students sent me this comic: Ph.D. Comics, 05/28/05 -- Meeting of the Minds -----