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Professor Working to Advance Computing as a Science .

UA News (AZ) (10/28/09) Everett-Haynes, La Monica

University of Arizona professor Richard T. Snodgrass has received a U.S. National Science Foundation grant to promote computation as a true science. Snodgrass, an ACM Fellow, says the process of computational thinking is universal and highly valued in subjects such as physics, biology, and chemistry. “The problem with computer science is that a few people think it equals programming,” he says. “But that doesn’t emphasize the great ideas behind computer science, and that’s what we want to bring out in this grant.” Snodgrass and Peter Denning, director of the Cebrowski Institute at the Naval Postgraduate School in California, will use the three-year, $800,000 grant to elevate the status of computing and encourage students, particularly girls and women, at the K-12 level to enter the field. The grant will enable them to develop and organize the “Field Guide to the Science of Computation.” The guide will feature various levels, from beginner to graduate students and professionals, and provide an organized body of information on computing, including theoretical frameworks and models related to automation, communication, evaluation, design, and other topics. ACM’s education board and the Computer Science Teachers Association also will collaborate on the three-year project. Snodgrass said the grant came just before the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution endorsing the need to support computer science education at the K-12 level. The resolution designated the week of Dec. 7 as National Computer Science Education Week.

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