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Computational Thinking and The Stimulus Package

February 20, 2009

Update on nsf


Jeannette Wing is the AD for Computer Science at NSF. For those who do not know AD is “Assistant Director”. While it may not sound that important, she is only an “Assistant”, it is important. As AD she runs all of computer science funding. Her boss is the head of all of NSF.

I am currently in Washington D.C. at an NSF sponsored workshop on “Computational Thinking”. Jeannette created this idea in a short but very influential note in CACM here is the paper. The conference is dedicated to the exploration of the concept of computational thinking. We are not quite sure what it is yet, but there have been a number of quite interesting talks and presentations. I have no doubt that this idea will be important for theory and all of computer science.

I was on one of the panels and spoke on the importance of “problems” as separate from algorithms. I will definitely go into more detail on this idea in a future post.

The other news is that for once research did well in the budget. Andy Bernat of CRA explained that computer science did very well in the “stimulus” package. While we did not get as much as the banks, NSF did quite well. So 2009 will be a good year for funding. More on this later. First, I have to start writing a big grant for NSF.

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