NSF Workshop on Science Education in Computational Thinking

November 15-16, 2007 - Purdue University, West Lafayette

General announcement of the SECANT workshop in pdf format: secantannouncement2.pdf

SECANT (Science Education in Computational Thinking) is a community building project funded through the NSF CPATH (Pathways to Revitalized Undergraduate Computing Education) program. The goal of SECANT is to bring together computer scientists and natural scientists who recognize that computing has become indispensable to scientific inquiry and is set to permeate science in a transformative manner. The workshop will address how to make computational thinking a central part of an undergraduate science education through the development of new courses focused on the computational understanding relevant to tomorrow’s scientist. Purdue’s College of Science is currently developing a course that introduces science majors to computational thinking via problem driven programming concepts, data and data management concepts, simulation, and visual interaction.

The first SECANT workshop will be held on November 15 and 16, 2007 at Purdue University in the Lawson Computer Science Building. To register and for more information, please visit http://secant.cs.purdue.edu/. The format of the workshop will include talks, panel presentations, and round table discussions. Tentative list of workshop themes:

  1. Creating a Dialog between Science and Computer Science
    • Relevant computational concepts to be taught to science students
    • Examples from science research: what kinds of software are non-computer-scientist scientists writing?
    • Favorite student projects that illustrate computational thinking (by discipline)
  2. Programming in the small versus the big picture approach
    • Computational thinking and understanding computational processes versus programming
    • Why Python? Why Java?
    • CS topics for computational thinking: must have/must avoid
    • The role of visualization in understanding computational and scientific processes
  3. Community Building for sharing resources
    • Creating portals and repositories, sharing software and other resources
    • Effectively connecting to efforts at other institutions
  4. The Scientist in the Workforce
    • What a science graduate is expected to know
    • What is the computational environment a graduate is expected to succeed in?
    • What APIs, libraries, systems are used?

Workshop Organizers: Susanne Hambrusch, Department of Computer Science, seh@cs.purdue.edu Mark Haugan, Department of Physics, mph@physics.purdue.edu. For local arrangement questions contact Nicole Piegza, piegza@cs.purdue.edu, 765-494-9431.

Location: Lawson Computer Science Building, Purdue University, 305 N. University, West Lafayette, IN