Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Bringing computing to developing countries

Monday, October 3rd, 2005

Coming on the heels of Sun President Jonathan Schwartz’s proclamation a couple of weeks ago that the PC is becoming, if not already, a relic, MIT’s Media Lab is set to ship millions of low-cost laptops to a handful of developing countries in 2006-2007. Targeting children with the $100 laptops (that includes WiFi), the Media Lab hopes to bring the Internet and basic computing to a segment of the population that would probably otherwise never see such technology until adulthood, if then. It is interesting to see how Schwartz’s view and Nicholas Negroponte’s (head of Media Lab) view are strangely similar on where we’ve come from and where we’re going. PCs may be relics to those in modernized societies, but basic computing is still largely unknown to a large percentage of the planet’s population.

California’s response to declining skills

Thursday, September 8th, 2005

In this piece written by the President of Building Engineering and Science Talent (BEST), John Yochelson, for, California’s efforts to address the decline in science education are highlighted, including examples of other community based efforts to achieve the same goal. By creating a program specifically for incoming freshman geared toward producing K-12 science teachers, the University of California system is partnering with business and industry.

Part of the motivation stems from what Yochelson considers the phenomenal growth in other foreign economies and changes in our own,

With China and India churning out tens of thousands of additional engineers each year, poorly paid research apprenticeships in science lasting longer, and the incomes of business and law school graduates going up, it is no surprise that U.S. degree production in many key technical fields has been flat or down since the mid-1980s.

The decline in technical skills and interest in science stems from many sources, which is why multiple efforts are underway to address it. Science and technology disciplines in education need better promotion. We need to do a better job of selling the science.

BEST is an organization founded in 2001 as a result of the recommendations from the 2000 Congressional Commission on the Advancement of Women and Minorities in Science, Engineering and Technology Development.

Grids and medical research down under

Monday, August 29th, 2005

The Australian Research Council (ARC), an Australian equivalent of the NSF, recently awarded more than $3.5 milliion over the next couple of years for grid computing technologies aimed to increase medical research collaboration. One key beneficiary of the grant, Dr. Andrew Lonie of the University of Melbourne, will be using his share of the funds to work on the international Physiome Project, the successor to the Human Genome effort, which has a goal to

describe the human organism quantitatively, so that one can understand its physiology and pathophysiology, and to use this understanding to improve human health.

As part of this new ongoing effort, Dr. Lonie’s research centers around modeling and simulation of the human kidney, via the Kidney Simulation Project.

Continued funding for grid technologies and the maturation of high-speed networking will boost opportunities for international reearch collaboration and engagement. The result will be the ability to link the worlds foremost authorities in medical science to massive amounts of data, which will ultimately lead to quicker solutions to, and better treatment for, both local and global health issues.

IPv6 and supercomputing unite

Sunday, August 28th, 2005

New York University reported last week that they are the first American university to provide IPv6 to a supercomputer. IPv6, created to supplant the ageing IPv4, is slowly but surely making its way into the cyberinfrastructure fabric. The NYU system, an IBM eServer ranked 117th on the latest Top500 list, is the flagship system of the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences and has a peak performance of 4.5 Teraflops.

Connecting this system to the NYSERNet network in New York state is providing enormous collaborative opportunities to the other New York academic institutions and is another great example of critical partnerships. This new supercomputer is the result of a partnership between IBM, NYU, the US Army and Navy.

For more information, see the NYU press release or this release sent to and posted by Internet2.

NBER on the S&E workforce

Wednesday, July 27th, 2005

This month, the National Bureau of Economic Research–”nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization dedicated to promoting a greater understanding of how the economy works” and long-time breeding ground of Nobel winners–published a treatise on the United States’ diminishing role in science and engineering research and workforce preparedness. It links these losses to not just the nation’s technological dominance but also its much more general economic leadership and health. Author Richard Freeman is an economics professor at Harvard and a fellow at the London School of Economics.

(Hat tip to Slashdot.)

More on CS/IT education

Thursday, July 21st, 2005

To dovetail with the earlier post re: Bill Gates’ views on education, a bit from MSNBC. The article highlights the drop in interest in traditional CS education–”the Higher Education Institute at the University of California-Los Angeles found 60 percent fewer [students] wanted to study computer science in 2004 as opposed to the year 2000.” This coupled with explosvie growth in the number of IT-related degrees going to nontraditional students and minorities at for-profit institutions like DeVry.

Experts such as [AAAS’s Shirley] Malcom [recently featured in NCSA’s Access magazine] think some colleges should “take a page” off the for-profit, client-based institutions such as Strayer and DeVry, and make computer science more accessible, practical and less intimidating, to get more 18 year-olds to major in computer science.

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