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Massive East Antarctic Ice Sheet has history of instability

News From NSF - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 13:00

The East Antarctic Ice Sheet locks away enough water to raise sea level an estimated 53 meters (174 feet), more than any other ice sheet on the planet. It's also thought to be among the most stable, not gaining or losing mass even as ice sheets in West Antarctica and Greenland shrink.

But new research, led by The University of Texas at Austin and the University of South Florida (USF) and funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), found that the East Antarctic Ice Sheet may not ...
More at https://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=243902&WT.mc_id=USNSF_51&WT.mc_ev=click

This is an NSF News item.

Six-decade-old space mystery solved with shoebox-sized satellite called a CubeSat

News From NSF - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 13:00

A 60-year-old mystery about the source of energetic, potentially damaging particles in Earth's radiation belts has been solved using data from a shoebox-sized satellite built and operated by students. The satellite is called a CubeSat.

Imagine a fully instrumented satellite the size of a half-gallon milk carton. Then imagine that milk carton whirling in space, catching never-before-seen glimpses of atmospheric and geospace processes.

CubeSats, named for the roughly ...
More at https://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=243964&WT.mc_id=USNSF_51&WT.mc_ev=click

This is an NSF News item.

NSF announces James Ulvestad as Chief Officer for Research Facilities

News From NSF - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 12:00

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is pleased to announce that James S. Ulvestad will serve as the agency's first Chief Officer for Research Facilities (CORF), a position created in recognition of the critical role research infrastructure plays in science and engineering.

"For almost seven decades, NSF has helped build the research infrastructure that allows the United States to be a world leader in innovation. Investment at that scale requires high-level oversight and ...
More at https://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=243975&WT.mc_id=USNSF_51&WT.mc_ev=click

This is an NSF News item.

Resources for dealing with the Undergraduate CS Capacity Crisis: Guest Post from Eric Roberts

ComputingEd - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 07:00
Eric Roberts emailed to SIGCSE-members a note with resources on the capacity crisis. He graciously agreed to let me share it here as a guest blog post. Thanks, Eric!


A month ago, I sent out an announcement of the report from the National Academies entitled “Assessing and Responding to the Growth of Computer Science Undergraduate Enrollments,” which is available on the web at the following URL:


SInce it’s hard to wade through a 184-page report (especially since our massive enrollments leave most of us with little free time), I’ve put together a web page of resources to help institutions meet these capacity challenges, which you can find here:


In particular, I created a PowerPoint presentation that offers background data and annotations for the nine findings from the National Academies report. That slideshow is linked from my resources page but is also accessible directly as


A few of the slides contain animations that I have found to be more effective than text or graphs, most notably on the slides titled “Classrooms are Overflowing” (slides 9-10), “The Challenge of Faculty Recruitment” (slide 15), and “Locking the Clubhouse” (slide 43). Feel free to use any of these slides in your own presentations. I hope you find these materials useful in making the case for increased resources.  And please send me any comments you have along with suggestions for any additional information that you would find helpful. Sincerely, Eric Roberts Charles Simonyi Professor of Computer Science, emeritus Stanford University
Tagged: computing education, undergraduate enrollment, undergradutes

How the Imagined “Rationality” of Engineering Is Hurting Diversity — and Engineering

ComputingEd - Mon, 12/11/2017 - 07:00

Just a few weeks ago, Richard Thaler won the Nobel prize in Economics. Thaler is famous for showing that real human beings are not the wholly rational beings that Economic theory had previously assumed.  It’s timely to consider where else we assume rationality, and where that rational assumption may lead us into flawed decisions and undesirable outcomes.  The below article from Harvard Business Review considers how dangerous the Engineering “purity” argument is.

Just how common are the views on gender espoused in the memo that former Google engineer James Damore was recently fired for distributing on an internal company message board? The flap has women and men in tech — and elsewhere — wondering what their colleagues really think about diversity. Research we’ve conducted shows that while most people don’t share Damore’s views, male engineers are more likely to…

But our most interesting finding concerned engineering purity. “Merit is vastly more important than gender or race, and efforts to ‘balance’ gender and race diminish the overall quality of an organization by reducing collective merit of the personnel,” a male engineer commented in the survey. Note the undefended assumption that tapping the full talent pool of engineers rather than limiting hiring to a subgroup (white men) will decrease the quality of engineers hired. Damore’s memo echoes this view, decrying “hiring practices which can effectively lower the bar for ‘diversity’ candidates.”

Google and taxpayer money, Damore opines, “is spent to water only one side of the lawn.” Many male engineers in our survey agreed that women engineers are unfairly favored. “As regards gender bias, my workplace offers women more incentives and monetary support than it does to males,” commented one male engineer. Said another, women “will always be safe from a RIF [reduction in force]. As well as certain companies guaranteeing female engineers higher raises.”

Source: How the Imagined “Rationality” of Engineering Is Hurting Diversity — and Engineering

Tagged: BPC, computing for all, computing for everyone, NCWIT

Advancing Computational Thinking Across K-12 Education, across Many Disciplines – Digital Promise #CSEdWeek

ComputingEd - Fri, 12/08/2017 - 07:00

New report on coding, computer science, and computational thinking has just come out from Digital Promise.  I have been critical of some definitions of computational thinking (as I described in my book). I like the way Digital Promise defined them, and particularly how they connect CT to learning in other disciplines.

Advocating for computational thinking throughout the K-12 curriculum does not replace or compete with efforts to expand computer science education: on the contrary, it complements them. Where computer science is not yet offered, integrating computational thinking into existing disciplines can empower educators and students to better understand and participate in a computational world. And schools already teaching coding and computer science will benefit from weaving computational thinking across disciplines in order to enrich and amplify lessons that are beyond the reaches of computer science classes.

We offer a number of recommendations to move this work forward. Among them are advocacy campaigns, curriculum and resource development, professional development for teachers and administrators, and continued research.

Source: Advancing Computational Thinking Across K-12 Education – Digital Promise

Tagged: computational thinking, K12, public policy

NSF funds FLIP Alliance to diversify CS professoriate #CSEdWeek

ComputingEd - Thu, 12/07/2017 - 07:00

This is an exciting new project from Valerie Taylor (University of Chicago), Charles Isbell (Georgia Tech), and Jeffrey Forbes (Duke University). It’s based on an observation that Charles has made before, that we can diversity CS faculty by impacting just a handful of schools.

The goal of the NSF-funded FLIP (Diversifying Future Leadership in the Professoriate) Alliance is to address the broadening participation challenge of increasing the diversity of the future leadership in the professoriate in computing at research universities as a way to achieve diversity across the field.  In particular, the problem that we address is stark and straightforward: only 4.3% of the current tenure-track faculty in computing at these universities are from underrepresented groups.

The FLIP Alliance solution is equally stark and straightforward: we intentionally bring together the very small number of departments responsible for producing the majority of the professoriate with individuals and organizations that understand how to recruit, retain, and develop students from underrepresented groups in order to create a network that can quickly and radically change the demographic diversity of the professoriate across the entire field.

from CMD-IT FLIP Alliance

Tagged: BPC, computing education, diversity, faculty

Doctorate Recipients from U.S. Universities: 2016

News From NSF - Wed, 12/06/2017 - 20:57

Available Formats:
HTML: https://www.nsf.gov/statistics/2018/nsf18304/?WT.mc_id=USNSF_179

Document Number: nsf18304

This is an NSF Publications item.


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