Hiram College

The 2011 Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE) Technical Symposium was held March 9-12 at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel in downtown Dallas, Texas.  This year’s symposium continued the long tradition of bringing together colleagues from around the world to present papers, panels, posters, special sessions, and workshops, and to discuss computer science education in birds-of-a-feather sessions and informal settings at breaks and meals.

The SIGCSE Technical Symposium addresses problems common among educators working to develop, implement and/or evaluate computing programs, curricula, and courses. The symposium provides a forum for sharing new ideas for syllabi, laboratories, and other elements of teaching and pedagogy, at all levels of instruction.

Ellen Walker, professor of computer science, co-chaired the symposium with Tom Cortina from Carnegie Mellon University.  At the conference, there were 1184 attendees, 30 exhibitors, 107 (of 315 submitted) papers, 35 (of 78 submitted) workshops, 29 members of the planning committee, and gross revenue of over $445,000.

SIGCSE is an all-volunteer conference, so Walker and Cortina were responsible for everything associated with the conference including selecting the site, contractors, and menu; organizing the program and inviting keynote speakers; coordinating registration and student volunteers; and overseeing all program components. After more than two years of preparation and planning work, the conference was a rousing success.

The theme this year was “reaching out”. The organization feels that it is necessary to reach out to colleagues in other fields in order to develop interdisciplinary courses and research projects. They also hope to reach out and create programs that attract the next generation of computer scientists and educate policy makers. Most importantly, however, the conference emphasizes the necessity for academic minds to reach out to one another and share their best ideas and experiences with the SIGCSE community.

A new event this year, going along with the Texas theme, was a Robot Hoedown and Rodeo.  Robot professionals and novices alike had the opportunity to program robots to dance and to perform robot-specific “events.” A video of the Robot Hoedown can be found here.

The link for the conference overall, which includes links to the news video, another video of 40 robots dancing together, and a selection of pictures from the conference in a Flickr group, can be found on the conference’s web site.