Computing Community Consortium Blog

The goal of the Computing Community Consortium (CCC) is to catalyze the computing research community to debate longer range, more audacious research challenges; to build consensus around research visions; to evolve the most promising visions toward clearly defined initiatives; and to work with the funding organizations to move challenges and visions toward funding initiatives. The purpose of this blog is to provide a more immediate, online mechanism for dissemination of visioning concepts and community discussion/debate about them.

The Joy of Teaching Computer Science

February 20th, 2014 / in Uncategorized / by Shar Steed

students working with laptops and books on campusRecently The Atlantic published an article, “The Joy of Teaching Computer Science in the Age of Facebook.” The article has a Q&A with Mehran Sahami, a professor and Associate Chair for Education in Computer Science at Stanford University. Sahami gives his perspective on how the field has evolved over the past few decades.

Twenty-five years ago, most people didn’t own home computers, these days they are an integral part of everyday activities. Technology is in increasing part of people’s lives, so everyone should have a better understanding of it.  Sahami has seen general awareness of computing increase and many more sub-areas develop. 

Sahami was always interested in being a professor, however after earning his Ph.D. in 1998, he started off working for industry at a startup called Epiphany and later Google.

“They [Google] were doing really interesting things, and the research I’d be doing there was related to work I’d done for my thesis, so I had a strong interest in it personally. And there was a part of me that wanted to see how this could be done at scale. How some of the algorithms that had been developed in lab could be applied to applications that were used by hundreds of billions of people.”

“It was amazing seeing the level of growth and seeing how the technology really matters. Google is a very technology-driven company. It’s one thing to do some research, and there’s some satisfaction you get from coming up with a new method that works well, and writing a paper about it. But there’s a different level of satisfaction that ends up impacting a product that lots of people use on a daily basis.”

After a number of years at Google, he returned to Stanford. Sahami missed the interaction with students and hopes to help transform students from consumers of technology into potential producers of technology.

“Working with them [students] to introduce them to new topics and see them have that “Aha!” moment where they learn something new and appreciate that learning process. I missed that.”

Click here to read the full article.


The Joy of Teaching Computer Science

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