Saturday, December 23, 2017

Theory of New CS

I am helping NSF CISE by serving on the Advisory Committee which has some great folks. As you break for holidays and spend time with friends, family and your feral self during the break, I hope you get to think about how NSF can help us develop the theory of CS further.
  • All of CS has for decades believed in algorithmic intelligence, formulating optimization problems, designing optimal, heuristic solutions, studying  their performance via math or experiments, exploring what can not be done via system building or proving lower bounds and hardness, etc. Now the focus is on using artificial intelligence across systems and sciences. So we need to develop the foundations for such a thinking. 
  • CS Systems are converging, with hardware and software used a lot more interchangeably. There are programmable network switches, popular gadgets from phones to Echo that are not just computers, and computing resources that are increasingly concentrated in data centers, etc. So, different systems areas find themselves treading into each others' arena organically. 
That is the world of new CS. Finally, folks high up typically think of "missions" (land on moon, self-driving cars, robotic warehouses, virtual assistants), while researchers think of areas, problems, techniques/methods. Does it help when CS disciplines, theory included, think of missions?

Please email me with thoughts. 


Friday, December 15, 2017

Diversity/Broadening Participation

I realized that scientific and educational community spends lot of effort inspiring, recruiting and training students from a broad spectrum of the society in K-12 programs, with creative tools including portfolio based approach to personalized education. But when these students get to the undergrad program, it seems like we lump them all together into a single or few tracks. Is our college/university education diversity-aware? What we teach, how we teach, how we test and grade, are these activities aware of differences in diverse population towards pedagogy? I am at the NSF CISE Advisory Committee meeting and I am mulling over this issue.