I was raised in western Pennsylvania. My father was an internationally known chemist on the faculty at Geneva College whose research focused on high-energy Boron rocket fuels. My mother was an Iowa farm girl who married my father and moved to Pennsylvania, where she worked more than full time as a housewife and mother to my three brothers and I. Before I was born, my parents bought a small farm outside of the town of Darlington where they worked at gardening and raising chickens, geese, ponies, beef cattle, and a variety of dogs and cats of dubious pedigree. Thanks to this, I grew up doing farm chores and eating lots of protein. However those chores still left lots of time for playing in our barn and in the woods, as well as swimming in a lake across the road from our house. It was a great place to grow up.
I am the youngest of four brothers, and my brothers introduced me to most of my personal interests. Each of us played different musical instruments in school: my specialty was the string bass, which I played from grade 4 through college (the others played drums, tuba and bagpipes, and trombone).
Middle and High School
In grade 8, my classmates talked me into going out for football, which I enjoyed playing throughout high school and college. I played pulling guard (a non-glamourous interior line position) throughout my football career at Blackhawk High School, and received honorable mention on the all-district team my senior year. I was also a reasonable student, graduating with honors in 1975.
I attended Geneva College that fall, planning to major in math and play football. I continued to play offensive guard there until I red-shirted my senior year due to a neck injury. I came back for a second senior year and played tight end, which was much easier on my neck. The blocking angles were much better, and catching the occasional pass was fun!
Summer jobs included working as a clerk in a bookstore, digging ditches for steam pipes, and lifeguarding. I also began my involvement working as a counselor at Ontario Pioneer Camps, where I became a Christian in 1977, and where I have since spent 15 summers, mostly in their Leaders-In-Training program, leading wilderness (canoe or backpacking) trips, and teaching sailing.
The high point of my college days was being elected student body president. The low point was trying to get anything accomplished as student body president.
I also played a lot of racquetball there, winning the the school championship once, the men's doubles championship three times, and the mixed doubles championship twice.
I graduated cum laude with a degree in psychology, and minors in math and computer science. However, it was racquetball that got me a job as a club pro at a local racquet/health club after graduation.
Once it became my job, the fun game of racquetball soon lost its appeal (I've hardly played since), and in 1981, the Beaver County Christian School (BCCS) was sufficiently desperate for a science/PE teacher that they hired me. I enjoyed teaching there for three years, and have fond memories of good relationships and fun times with the students. At the same time, I attended night school at Geneva College to finish up a second degree in computer science.
In 1984, I left my position at BCCS to attend graduate school in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Pittsburgh. While there, I earned my scuba certification (a lifelong ambition), my M.S. in 1986 and my Ph.D. in 1988. My dissertation examined the problem of diagnosing the faulty components in a distributed system exhibiting byzantine behavior.
1989-1994: Calvin College
In February 1989, I began teaching at Calvin College, where I am currently a professor in the Department of Computer Science. My first day on the job, I met Barbara Van Harn, whose sister and brother-in-law I had known in Pittsburgh (and who had told her to be nice to me -- a stranger coming to Grand Rapids). We went out to dinner at a Chinese restaurant and her fortune cookie read "He is your destiny!" I urged her to keep the fortune, but she wasn't interested in her destiny and threw it away. After a few years of my chasing her, she decided that maybe I was her destiny after all, and so we were married in June, 1992.
In 1994, Sandy Leestma, Larry Nyhoff and I completed work on C++, An Introduction to Computing, published by Prentice-Hall, which people seemed to like.
1994/5: North Carolina State University
I spent the 1994-95 academic year on leave from Calvin, teaching In the Department of Computer Science at North Carolina State University, while Barbara worked on her dissertation at Duke University. We returned to Grand Rapids and Calvin during summer 1995.
1995/6: Back to Calvin
Much of the 1995-96 academic year was spent thoroughly revising Calvin's Computer Science curriculum. The resulting program has been updated with courses on Networking and Architecture, with more courses (Parallel Computing, Human-Computer Interfaces) to come.
The highlight of 1996 was the arrival on July 20 of our first child, Roy Gordon, who weighed in at 7 lbs. 5 oz. and 20 in. long.
The 1996-97 academic year was notable in that it was the first year that the Department of Computer Science was separated from the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. Much time was spent planning this separation, for which we owe a debt of gratitude to Mike Stob. Since everyone else was smart enough to say "no", I was called upon to be the first chairperson of the new department. Our remaining time that year was spent revising Calvin's service courses, by introducing 1 credit-hour "module" courses.
In retrospect, the 1997-98 academic year was tough to beat. During that year:
We spent the 1998-99 academic year in Mauritius -- a beautiful tropical island country located roughly 500 miles east of Madagascar. With its volatile mix of Hindu, Christian, and Islamic cultures, and fascinating island ecology, Mauritius was a wonderful place to spend a year. Best known as the place where the dodo was hunted to extinction (see David Quammen's Song of the Dodo), Mauritius is one of the most densely populated places on the planet (#2 by some estimates), but has beautiful natural resources (barrier reefs, mountains, sandy beaches, rain forests, ...) and some of the friendliest people I have ever met. Mauritian foods are a deliciously spicy mixture of African, Arabic, Chinese, and Indian dishes (plus western foods if you're willing to pay extra for them). During our year there, we made many good friends -- both Mauritian and ex-patriot -- all of whom we miss (and who we hope will come and visit us).
In July 1999, we moved back to Grand Rapids in preparation for the 1999-2000 academic year.
1999/2000: Back to Calvin
After a year in the tropics, it seemed to take a whole year for our bodies to get reaclimatized to Michigan's cold weather. Beyond teaching and committee work, much of this year was spent writing Java An Introduction to Computing. In January 2000, I revised and resubmitted an NSF-MRI grant proposal to build a Beowulf-class supercomputer at Calvin, and study its performance over three years.
Summer 2000 was spent working with student Ryan VanderBijl on cliser, a code-generating system that used object-oriented techniques to greatly simplify the task of building client-server systems. Ryan finished his part of the project quickly, and spent August 2000 writing the Thread library for TinyVM, a version of Java for the RCX brick used in the Lego Mindstorms Robotics Invention System. In August 2000, I learned that my NSF proposal to build a Beowulf cluster had been accepted.
Beyond teaching, the 2000-2001 academic year was spent designing and building our cluster which we named Ohm. David Vos was the first student-administrator of Ohm, and he did the bulk of the configuration and tuning of the cluster which was up and running by April 2001. Hardware problems (flaky power and power supplies) kept us from doing much during summer 2001, so I spent the time working on the third edition of our C++ book, which was published in January 2002. Our oldest son Roy started preschool that year as well. His younger brother Ian seemed to appreciate him much more after that -- absence makes the heart grow fonder...
The 2001-2002 academic year was spent in a variety of ways, including developing an Information Systems (IS) major and preparing our ABET/CAC self-study report. Son Roy was in kindergarten this year, and loved every minute of it. In December 2001, Kevin DeGraaf took over for David Vos as the second student administrator of our Beowulf cluster. (David graduated in May 2002 and headed to Purdue for graduate work in CS.) Kevin did a bang-up job streamlining the management of the cluster, and writing scripts to change the cluster's (virtual) topology on the fly from a star to a ring-star hybrid, and eventually to a hypercube-star hybrid.
During summer 2002, Zach Jansen worked for me developing Java classes for Lego robots, so that their control software can be written using the benefits of object-oriented programming.
In June, my wife Barbara and I celebrated our 10th wedding aniversary. (Scary how time flies!)
I spent the rest of June finalizing the self-study report for our ABET/CAC accreditation visit in fall 2002. (Our department chair Keith VanderLinden was on sabbatical so I served as acting chair in his absence.)
In July, we hired Gary Draving as our department's new (and first) lab/system/network administrator, and with the help of a generous donation from alumnus Mike Goodrich, added a new Linux-based Systems Lab to the CS Dept, for teaching low-level (e.g., OS and Networking) courses.
In August 2002, Barbara and I bought a house next to Calvin's campus which we hope to enjoy for many years. It is a great blessing to be able to walk to and from work.
The 2002-2003 academic year began in ultra-busy mode: In September 2002, our youngest son Ian began preschool, and our oldest son Roy began first grade. Roy played on his first soccer team, and our Saturday mornings were spent rooting for "The Comets" (his team).
Our ABET/CAC site visit occurred in October, and the visit went well, though the team did note two very small problems, both of which we were able to fix within two weeks of their departure. We also revised Calvin's CS curriculum, to bring it into line with the ACM/IEEE Computing Curriculum 2001 recommendations. During the fall semester, I inaugurated our Systems Lab by using it for projects in my Operating Systems and Networking course; in the spring semester, I taught a new Network Administration course in this new lab.
In December, Eliot Eshelman took over (from Kevin DeGraaf) as the third student system administrator of Ohm, and did exemplary work through the spring and summer of 2003.
In March 2003, we were saddened by the death of my father, Dr. Roy M. Adams, at the age of 83. His passing leaves a large hole and we miss him greatly, though we have Christian faith and hope that we will see him again.
Much of summer 2003 was spent performing a performance/price analysis of Ohm (our Beowulf cluster) to complete our 3-year NSF project, which yielded some interesting results.
Summer highlights included a too-short vacation in June camping and visiting friends in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia; watching Roy and Ian participate in sports leagues (T-ball, soccer); a week in August with Barbara's parents at a cottage on Lake Michigan; followed by a weekend camping trip with friends from church on South Manitou Island in Lake Michigan.
Another event was teaching a week-long pilot "computer camp" on Virtual Storytelling using Carnegie-Mellon University's Alice software, which received local news coverage.
We were also elated to hear in August that our BCS program had received ABET/CAC accreditation. This was the culmination of 6+ years of hard work, making Calvin the first Christian college to offer an accredited computer science program.
The 2003/4 school year was fairly low-key. Pat Bailey joined our department as our first Information Systems faculty member, and we were glad to have him on board to supply leadership for our IS program.
Ian began kindergarten, which he enjoyed. We were hoping to be overseas during the 2004/5 school year (see below) so Barb decided to homeschool Roy for second grade. The idea was to get some experience home-schooling so that she wouldn't have to learn how to home-school at the same time as she was adjusting to a different culture. This experiment worked pretty well, and Barb says, "I learned a lot!"
The CS Dept spent a fair amount of time developing a joint Art-CS group major, which ended up not being approved by the college. Back to the drawing board... In addition to teaching, I lined up a sabbatical at Carnegie Mellon University to work with < href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Randy_Pausch">Randy Pausch and the Alice team.
In the Spring semester, my sabbatical proposal was approved; late in the semester, I learned that I had received a 1-semester Fulbright award to teach and do research in Iceland.
Much of the summer was spent preparing to move to Pittsburgh for my sabbatical at Carnegie Mellon. We spent early June visiting Pittsburgh, finding housing, and getting other details sorted out.
I also directed The Imaginary Worlds Camps -- two single-sex summer "computer camps" in which middle school students created computer-generated movies. In the process they learned the basics of object-based programming. This camp was enthusiastically received by girls, boys, and their parents.
In August, we moved to Pittsburgh!
I spent the fall semester working as a member of the Alice team, devoting 3 days each week to helping them find bugs in the program. I spent the other 2 days writing the first draft of a book on Alice.
In January, we moved to Reykjavik, Iceland, for a semester teaching computer science at the Technology University of Iceland (while I was there, it became the School of Engineering of Reykjavik University. Despite high prices and very short January days, this was a wonderful experience. The people were warm and friendly, the climate was warmer than Michigan (at least the winter), and the abundant geothermal energy was amazing! We especially enjoyed swimming outside all winter and relaxing in each pool's "hot pots" -- even during snow storms!
Roy and Ian attended our neighborhood Icelandic school, learned a fair amount of Icelandic, and made good friends. Barb supplemented their studies with home-school materials, read a lot (Reykjavik has an excellent library), and took up needle-point.
We were also happy that Barb's folks were able to visit us there.
Our last two weeks in Iceland, we were able (with the university's help) to rent a vehicle and drive around Iceland's ring-road. The scenery in Iceland is amazing -- waterfalls, glaciers, mountains, caves, volcanos, lakes, deserts -- we were continually amazed by the harsh beauty of this rugged island country. If you want to see what we are talking about, you can see some pictures of our time in Iceland.
In June 2005, we moved back to the U.S. After a few days in Pennsylvania visiting family, we moved back to our house in Grand Rapids, Michigan and spent a few weeks getting resettled.
In July, I again directed the Imaginary Worlds Camps. The 2005 camps went much more smoothly than the 2004 camps, thanks to Alice being much more stable (though not yet perfect).
We spent the 2005/6 academic year readjusting to life at Calvin. I began teaching the Data Structures course, and spent a fair amount of time building test cases for the labs and projects, since test-driven development seems like a natural way to build the elementary data structures. I also taught our High Performance Computing course using our cluster Ohm, and hired Tim Brom as our student cluster administrator.
In Fall 2005, the CS department convened a Strategic Partners Council, consisting of representatives from industry, to review and help us strengthen our programs.
Another change was that our church's praise band became sufficiently desperate for a bass player that they were willing to be patient with me while I knocked off 25 years worth of rust and began playing again. This turned out to be a lot of fun, and continues to be a great outlet.
Any spare time I had during this year went to finishing the writing, proof-reading, and copy-editing on Alice in Action and working on Alice in Action with Java. These books were a lot of fun to write (and I hope to read).
Barb and the boys enjoyed being back in the US, especially Ian. School goes much better when you can understand your teacher! Both Ian and Roy played on youth soccer and basketball teams, and their games were a lot of fun to watch.
A highlight of the year was in January 2006, when I accompanied Art professor Frank Speyers to Hawaii to help out on his course Visual Culture in Hawaii. (Yes, it was a major sacrifice to spend January in Hawaii instead of Michigan, but someone had to do it.) It was a remarkable course, mixing lots of physical activity (biking, hiking, surfing, snorkeling,...) with lots of face-to-face interaction with native Hawaiians, so that the students could experience Hawaiian culture first-hand, and the impact that western culture is having on it. It was also a physically grueling course, as we visited 4 islands (Maui, Kauai, Hawaii, and Oahu) in 20 days, with very little rest. Frank broke 3 ribs when he slipped while wading a stream, and I had headaches for 6 weeks after being hit in the head by another person's surfboard, so we were the walking wounded by the end of the course. Despite these difficulties, it was a great trip, and it was a joy getting to know these students.
Summer 2006 was mostly a working summer. We did enjoy a visit to my mom's in Pennsylvania, and camping with friends on South Manitou Island again, but the bulk of the summer was spent working/writing. I spent July directing the Imaginary Worlds Camps and the rest of my summer finishing the writing of Alice in Action with Java.
In August, Alice in Action was published, and it was great to see it in print.
I spent the fall semester teaching, doing the copy-editing on Alice in Action with Java, mentoring senior Josh Holtrop on his Virtual Reality Rig senior project, and working with senior Tim Brom on designing Microwulf -- an 8-node Beowulf cluster small enough to fit in a suitcase -- loosely modeled after this cluster and Little Fe.
In October 2006, the CS department began hosting and co-sponsoring Great Lakes Software Excellence Conference (GLSEC), a conference mainly for software professionals to network and learn best practices from one another. I presentation on how the small interfaces of data structures make them a good way to learn test-driven development. Pat Bailey was instrumental in connecting our department with GLSEC.
Alice in Action with Java was published in January.
I spent January teaching a college-level Alice course, writing an NSF-MRI proposal to rebuild our "big" Beowulf cluster, and building Microwulf with Tim Brom. We spent 2-3 hours each week on this project.
In February, we configured Microwulf's software, and in March, we benchmarked it. We were amazed to achieve 26.25 Gflops, at a cost of just $2470, making Microwulf the first Beowulf cluster to break the $100/Gflop barrier. During this time, I taught our Data Structures course, our Operating Systems and Networking course, and continued to mentor Josh Holtrop's VR project. In May, both of these projects received a lot of press coverage at Calvin and in the local press.
Also in May, I was elected to be an elder at our church, Sherman St CRC.
Roy and Ian each decided to focus on soccer this year, playing on AYSO soccer teams.
Roy also chose the string bass as his instrument this year. He progressed rapidly, and was soon playing quite difficult pieces. We were surprised to learn that my mother had played the string bass when she was younger, so I guess it runs in the family...
This was supposed to be a light summer, but it turned out to be a very busy one. Throughout the summer, I worked with a Calvin ad hoc committee on a proposal to fund an Integrative Science Research Institute at Calvin.
In late May-early June, several of us from Calvin attended an NSF workshop on computational biology at Sweet Briar College. For our project, we built BlastEd, a site that tries to explain how the Basic Local Alignment Search Tool ( BLAST) performs gene sequence alignment. Randy Pruim and I worked together on JASAT a java applet that displays the alignment graph for two sequences.
In late June, we enjoyed a visit to Pennsylvania, where we spent a few days clearing up timber downed by a wind storm. We also visited Idlewild amusement park, where we were rained out.
I spent July directing the 2007 Imaginary Worlds Camp, where we had 31 boys, 13 girls, and some interesting stories. I also spent time in July working with Jeff Layton on a technical Microwulf article for Cluster Monkey, a website for Beowulf cluster builders.
In early August, we went on a family vacation to visit my brother, the Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, Mt. Rushmore, Wind Cave, Custer State Park, the Badlands, and other interesting places. Among the highlights were the abundant wildlife, including close encounters with a herd of buffalo and a bull moose. It was a great trip, and we have a few pictures if you're interested.
In mid-August, I received word that my NSF-MRI proposal to rebuild our 'big' Beowulf cluster had been funded, so I began work on the design of this new cluster.
At the end of August, the Cluster Monkey article went live. The next day, someone uploaded Calvin's article on Microwulf to slashdot, which is the equivalent of the NY Times in the technology world. This triggered further media attention from local, national, and international media. Over the next 36 hours, the Microwulf site received about 50,000 unique visitors. We received several hundred e-mail messages with questions about Microwulf, from all around the world. This was a bit overwhelming, to say the least.
Dealing with the interest in Microwulf consumed a great deal of time during the 2007-8 academic year. Dozens of people wrote with technical questions, many of them students at other universities looking to create their own personal cluster. Many of these projects came to fruition, so I eventually added a page for Microwulf's relatives to the project site.
During the Fall semester, I was teaching our Data Structures course and our High Performance Computing course. I was also working on the design for our new "big" cluster, which is tricky since, between 2004 and 2007, the processor architecture had changed from single core to dual core to quad core. Thanks to these hardware changes, I was able to design the cluster dahl.calvin.edu, which I named after Ole Johan Dahl, the Norwegian computer scientist who co-invented the Simula programming language and object-oriented programming. The challenge was to balance the new cluster's processing power, memory, and network bandwidth, within our budget constraints.
In November, the department again hosted GLSEC. Attendence grew by nearly 50%.
In the Spring 2008 semester, I had my usual teaching responsibilities:
At the ACM SIGCSE conference in March, Tim Brom and I presented a paper on Microwulf, that included a live-demo of the system.` I think that was the first time anyone brought a Beowulf cluster to the SIGCSE conference.
Roy and Ian continued to play on soccer teams, playing on AYSO outdoor teams during the spring, summer, and fall; and playing on indoor teams during the winter.
Things became really busy in summer 2009.
During Summer 2008, Vic Matthews, Gary Draving, student Kathy Hoogeboom, and I all worked at building dahl. Dahl was much more complicated than ohm, mainly because we were cramming over 200 times ohm's performance into one third of its volume. But the result was worth it, as dahl provided Calvin with a computer whose peak performance was 3.7 TFLOPS (3.7 trillion double-precision floating point instructions per second) -- a true supercomputer! By the end of the summer, dahl was up and running.
In May, I was elected President of the Council (Elders + Deacons) at our church during a very difficult time in which chronic financial shortfalls were forcing us to reduce staff. These staffing cuts were very painful for all involved, and took a lot of time to work through over the course of the summer.
In mid June, we enjoyed a visit to my Mom's farm in Pennsylvania, where we spent a week doing various chores.
The highlight of my summer came in late June, wen I visited Madrid, Spain to present a paper on the VR rig that Josh Holtrop built at the 2008 ITiCSE Conference. The weekend I was there, Spain won the Euro Cup in soccer/football for the first time in 42 years, so it was great fun to be in a city full of happy, celebrating Spaniards.
During July, I again directed two Imaginary Worlds Camps -- one for boys and one for girls -- and they again went very well, as the boys and girls learned the basics of object-centered computing using Alice. Several of the campers were repeat campers from 2007.
In August, our family again enjoyed camping, hiking, and snorkeling with friends from church on South Manitou Island, in Lake Michigan.
Summer 2008 also marked the end of Keith VanderLinden's term as Chair of Calvin's CS department. Keith did an excellent job of leading the department during his term, but rarely took the release time to which he was entitled. As a result, he was ready for a change, so I agreed to spell him for a term. The two of us worked on making the transition, with Keith doing the heavy-lifting on our self-study document in preparation for our department's second ABET accreditation visit.
On the home front, Roy and Ian developed their musical talents, with Ian starting on the cello, and Roy continuing to stand out on the bass. Roy tried out for the Michigan All-State Middle School Orchestra, and took first chair! One of his classmates formed a jazz band, in which Roy played the electric bass, broadening his musical experiences. The boys also continued to play soccer, and Ian's combination of speed and a strong left foot made him a stand out player.
Barb had been recruited to volunteer as our church treasurer; she also began working 'keeping the books' of a local literary agent.
I taught my usual classes, with the exception of Network Administration, which I gave up in return for the joys of being department chair.
Fall 2008 was our ABET reaccreditation visit. All of our preparations paid off, as the visit went very well. The visiting team found no serious issues and reaccredited us for another six years.
In October, I presented a paper at the 2008 meeting of the Midwest region of the Consortium for Computing Science in Colleges, on the BlastEd project that Randy Pruim, Steve Matheson, et al had developed.
The keynote at this conference was given by Chris Stephenson, the Executive Director of the Computer Science Teachers Association. Her address highlighted how the No Child Left Behind act was crippling high school CS programs nation-wide, as schools reassigned CS teachers to remedial math courses to meet NCLB graduation requirements. She noted that only 3 states -- Georgia, North Carolina, and Texas -- let CS meet a NCLB graduation requirement.
This got me upset enough to go and visit Rep. Vernon Ehlers, my US Representative to Congress, in the hopes that something could be done at the federal level. I took along data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics and National Science Foundation showing the decline in CS majors and the resulting shortfall of CS professionals for the US job market. Rep. Ehlers was unaware of this decline and shortfall, but he immediately grasped its (negative) strategic implications for our country, and pledged to do what he could at the federal level to promote CS. (More on this later.)
In November, I presented a live-demo and a poster on Microwulf at the Supercomputing 2008 (SC08) Education Program, which attracted attention there.
The department also co-sponsored GLSEC again in November. The conference again grew in size and quality.
During Spring 2009, I presented a paper at the 2009 ACM SIGCSE Conference on my use of test-driven development in my Data Structures course.
I also had a followup communication from Rep. Ehler's office, indicating that he was working on a congressional resolution to promote CS education. (See below.)
During this year, we overhauled our IS and CS minors, to make them more flexible and convenient for students. We also began brainstorming more about how to better promote computer science in general and Calvin computer science in particular.
Summer 2009 was another busy summer, with continuing duties as President of Council at Sherman Street CRC, and continuing work on dahl. We again had a great June visit to my Mom's farm in Pennsylvania, where Roy and Ian practiced their archery skills while Barb and I did farm work.
In July, I again directed the Imaginary Worlds Camp, but decided to give MIT's Scratch a try, to provide variety for increasing numbers of repeat campers. This changed worked very well, as the campers greatly enjoyed creating their own games and music videos using Scratch.
In August, we attended the annual LACS meeting, which was held at Gustavus-Adolphus College in 2009. There, Stephanie Hailperin introduced us to some games (Fluxx and Munchkin) that quickly became new favorites.
Following that meeting, we drove to Rocky Mountain National Park where we enjoyed hikes to waterfalls and glaciers, though we had to take it slow at the high (10,000+ foot) altitudes. On the way back, we stopped in Clarinda, Iowa for a family reunion organized around my Aunt Eleanor's 90th birthday party.
Also in August, Ian joined the Grand Rapids Crew Juniors soccer team, while Roy joined the Kentwood Falcons team. Barb joined the ranks of soccer moms anonymous, and we have both enjoyed watching the boys improve their soccer skills.
In the 2009-10 academic year, Roy again took first chair in the Michigan All-State Middle School Orchestra, and continued playing in his jazz band. He also tried out for and was the only 8th grader to make the Grand Rapids Youth Symphony. Ian showed rapid improvement on the cello.
At Calvin, the year started quietly, with the CS department focusing on activities and projects to promote computer science.
In October, I received several communications from Rep. Ehler's office regarding House Resolution 558, the resolution he had been working on since my visit to his office, which passed by an amazing vote of 405-0. Among other things, this resolution established the week of the birthday of Grace Hopper as National Computer Science Education Week. Videos of its presentation in Congress are also available.
In November, I again attended the Supercomputing 2009 (SC09) Education Program, where I gave a talk and presented a poster on dahl, and was interviewed by Paul Steiner and Tom Murphy as part of Intel's Teach Parallelel series. The department also hosted and co-sponsored GLSEC in November, with Pat Bailey continuing to serve as our liaison. Calvin CS student Jon Roshko presented a well-received tutorial on app development for devices running Google's Android OS.
In December, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics updated its 10-year employment projection data, so in keeping with our departmental effort to promote CS, I decided to create a web page that combined the latest US-BLS employment projections with current enrollment data. The result was my Computing Careers Market page, which attracted national attention (e.g., here and here) over the course of the year.
In March, I attended the 2009 ACM SIGCSE Conference where I
March also saw the publication of Case Studies of Liberal Arts Computer Science Programs, a paper on which I was a co-author, comparing the CS programs of four different LACS schools, one of which was Calvin.
May brought the end of my 2-year stint as President of the Council at Sherman St CRC. It was a difficult two years, with many challenges, but God surrounded me with talented, supportive people who helped find solutions to our problems.
During this time, it was my privilege to work as part of a working group discussing how CS education needs to change in the multicore era. The group worked via e-mail from March through June, and then met face-to-face at the ITiCSE 2010 conference in Ankara, Turkey, where we wrote the first draft of a report, which we continued to refine via e-mail in July and August.
Following ITiCSE, we squeezed in a quick trip to help my Mom on the farm in Pennsylvania. We were glad to be able to spend the time with her, since she had some health problems earlier in the year.
Then it was back to Calvin to direct another Imaginary Worlds Camp using Scratch, which again proved very popular. July ended with a few nights of camping in Shenandoah National Park, followed by the 2010 LACS meeting at the George Washington University in Washington DC. One highlight of that meeting was attending a performance by The Capital Steps. Another highlight was learning that Rep. Jarod Polis (D, CO) had just introduced House Resolution 5929 (aka the Computer Science Education Act), which would provide funding incentives for states to improve their K-12 CS educational programs. Rep. Polis was a co-sponsor of Vern Ehler's resolution, so it was gratifying to see him continuing to work on this problem.
That's it for now!