TITLE: More on "We're Doomed" AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford DATE: November 23, 2005 1:30 PM DESC: ----- BODY: Ernie's 3D Pancakes picked up on the We're Doomed theme from our OOPSLA panel. There are many good blogs written by theoretical computer scientists; I especially enjoy 3D Pancakes, Computational Complexity, and The Geomblog. Recently, the CS theory community has been discussing how to communicate the value and importance of theory and algorithms to the broader CS community, the research funding agencies, and the general public, and they've struck on some of the same ideas some of my colleagues and I have been batting around concerning CS more generally. Check those blogs out for some thought-provoking discussions. Anyway, I found the comments on Ernie's entry that quotes me quoting Owen to be worth reading. It's good to be reminded occasionally how diverse the set of CS programs is. Michael Stiber's comment (sixth in the list) points out that CS department's have themselves to blame for many of these problems. One of my department colleagues was just at my door talking about missed opportunities to serve the university community with computing courses that matter to them. Pretty soon, we see courses like this filling a very mainstream corner of the market, and people in other departments hungering for courses in the newly-developed markets that Owen points out.
"How may of us really need to rewrite BLAS, LAPACK, etc., routines?" None. But how many students are taught to write them anyway?
And this quote speaks to the much simpler issue of how to revise our curriculum for majors. How much tougher it is for us to re-imagine what we should be doing for non-computer scientists and then figuring out how to do it. I just realized that by "simple" I mean that we computer scientists at least have some control over our own domain. In many ways, the task of reforming the major curriculum is tougher due to the tight cultural constraints of our community. I imagine that CS is no different than any discipline in this regard. We are a young discipline and used to the rapid change of technology -- perhaps we can find a way to become more nimble. certainly, having the conversation is a first step. -----