Rethinking CS101

Perhaps the most fundamental idea in modern computer science is that of interactive processes. Computation is embedded in a (physical or virtual) world; its role is to interact with that world to produce desired behavior. While von Neumann serial programming has it that computation-as-calculation uses inputs -- at the beginning -- to produce outputs -- at the end -- computation-as-interaction treats inputs as things that are monitored and outputs as actions that are taken over the lifetime of an ongoing process. By beginning with a decomposition in terms of interacting computational processes, we can teach our students a model of the world much closer to the one that underlies the thinking of most computer professionals.

Rethinking CS101 is a project to develop a curriculum for the first course in computer science based around the idea of computation as interaction.

Project Resources

This page is a part of Lynn Andrea Stein's Rethinking CS101 project, part of the Computers and Cognition Group at the Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering.
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. EIA-0196404. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation
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Last modified: Monday, December 5 2005 at 5:19 AM EST