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Distinguished Lecture | Women in Computing

Computational Thinking and Thinking about Computing

Jeannette WingPresident's Professor of Computer Science and Assistant Director for CISECarnegie Mellon University and National Science Foundation

Abstract – My vision for the 21st Century: Computational thinking will be a fundamental skill used by everyone in the world. To reading, writing, and arithmetic, let’s add computational thinking to every child’s analytical ability. Computational thinking is an approach to solving problems, building systems, and understanding human behavior that draws on the power and limits of computing. In this talk I will argue that computational thinking has already begun to influence many disciplines, from the sciences to the humanities, but that the best is yet to come. Looking to the future, we can anticipate even more profound impact of computational thinking on science, technology, and society: on the ways new discoveries will be made, innovation will occur, and cultures will evolve. The new NSF Cyber-enabled Discovery and Innovation initiative in a nutshell is computational thinking for science and engineering. Realizing this vision gives the field of computing both exciting research opportunities and novel educational challenges.

The field of computing is driven by technology innovation, societal demands, and scientific questions. We are often too easily swept up with the rapid progress in technology and the surprising uses by society of our technology, that we forget about the science that underlies our field. In thinking about computing, I have started a list of “deep Questions in Computing,” with the hope of encouraging the community to think about the scientific drivers of our field.

Biography – Dr. Jeannette M. Wing is the President’s Professor of Computer Science in the Computer Science Department at Carnegie Mellon University. She received her S.B. and S.M. degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in 1979 and her Ph.D. degree in Computer Science in 1983, all from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. From 2004-2007, she was Head of the Computer Science Department at Carnegie Mellon. Currently on leave from CMU, she is the Assistant Director of the Computer and Information Science and Engineering Directorate at the National Science Foundation.

Professor Wing’s general research interests are in the areas of specification and verification, concurrent and distributed systems, programming languages, and software engineering. Her current focus is on the foundations of trustworthy computing.

Professor Wing was or is on the editorial board of eleven journals. She has been a member of many advisory boards, including: the Networking and Information Technology (NITRD) Technical Advisory Group to the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), the National Academies of Sciences’s Computer Science and Telecommunications Board, ACM Council, the DARPA Information Science and Technology (ISAT) Board, NSF’s CISE Advisory Committee, Microsoft’s Trustworthy Computing Academic Advisory Board, and the Intel Research Pittsburgh’s Advisory Board. She is a member of the Sloan Research Fellowships Program Committee. She is a member of AAAS, ACM, IEEE, Sigma Xi, Phi Beta Kappa, Tau Beta Pi, and Eta Kappa Nu. Professor Wing is an AAAS Fellow, ACM Fellow, and IEEE Fellow.

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