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Computational Thinking | Jeannette Wing

The Tow Center for Digital Journalism, Columbia Journalism School

Tuesday, February 4, 2014 from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM (EST)

Computational Thinking | Jeannette Wing

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Join Jeannette Wing, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Research, for a presentation on computational thinking along with a Q&A with Mark Hansen, Director of the Brown Institute for Media Innovation.

The evening will begin with an presentation by Jeannette Wing followed by discussion and Q&A by Mark Hansen, Director of the Brown Institute for Media Innovation and questions from the audience.

Light refreshments will be served.

WATCH LIVE ON LIVESTREAM: Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 6:30 p.m. (EST)

Send your questions on Twitter #TowTalk


Title: Computational Thinking


Abstract: My vision for the 21st Century: Computational thinking will be a fundamental skill used by everyone in the world. To reading, writing, and arithmetic, we should add computational thinking to every child's analytical ability. Computational thinking involves solving problems, designing systems, and understanding human behavior by drawing on the concepts fundamental to computer science. Thinking like a computer scientist means more than being able to program a computer. It requires the ability to abstract and thus to think at multiple levels of abstraction. In this talk I will give many examples of computational thinking, argue that it has already influenced other disciplines, and promote the idea that teaching computational thinking can benefit people in all fields.


Jeannette Wing is Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Research, with oversight of the organization’s core research laboratories around the world and Microsoft Research Connections. Dr. Wing joined Microsoft Research in January 2013 after holding key positions in academia and government, most recently at Carnegie Mellon University and the National Science Foundation (NSF). From 2007 to 2010, Wing served as assistant director of the Computer and Information Science and Engineering Directorate at the NSF, where she led the directorate that funds academic computer science research in the United States. In this capacity, she worked with NSF staff to set funding priorities for the academic science and engineering research community, create new programs, and represent the nation’s computer science community. Wing has served twice as head of the Department of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University: before her term at NSF and again upon her return to Carnegie Mellon. She was also associate dean for Academic Affairs at Carnegie Mellon for five years, overseeing the educational programs offered by the School of Computer Science. Her areas of expertise are in trustworthy computing, formal methods, concurrent and distributed systems, programming languages, and software engineering. Her research contributions include work on the Larch family of specification languages; programming language support for atomic objects in distributed transactions; with Dr. Maurice Herlihy, the notion of linearizability, a correctness condition for concurrent objects; and with Dr. Barbara Liskov, a semantics for behavioral subtyping. Her contributions in security and privacy include work on attack graphs and attack surfaces, work on formalizing privacy policies for automated compliance checking, and work on trust in networks of humans and computers. Within the computer science community, Wing is well-known for her advocacy of “computational thinking,” an approach to problem solving, designing systems and understanding human behavior that draws upon concepts fundamental to computer science. She sees it as a “universally applicable attitude and skill set that everyone, not just computer scientists, should be eager to learn and use.” Wing has also served as the founder and director of the Center for Computational Thinking at Carnegie Mellon. Wing was on the faculty at the University of Southern California for two years before joining the faculty at Carnegie Mellon University. As a student, she worked at Bell Laboratories and Xerox PARC. She has spent sabbaticals at MIT and MSR Redmond. Wing received the CRA Distinguished Service Award in 2011 and the SIGSOFT Retrospective Paper Award in 2012. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Association for Computing Machinery, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers. Wing received her bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Mark Hansen joined Columbia Journalism School in July of 2012, after a decade of shuttling between the west and east coasts. In Los Angeles, he held appointments in the Department of Statistics, the Department of Design Media Arts and the Department of Electrical Engineering at UCLA -- literally forming a triangulation of data, art and technology -- and was a Co-PI for the Center for Embedded Networked Sensing, an NSF Science and Technology Center devoted to the study of sensor networks. While in New York, Hansen was a long-standing visiting researcher at the New York Times R&D Lab and a consultant with HBO Sports. Hansen works with data in an essentially journalistic practice, crafting stories through algorithm, computation and visualization. In addition to his technical work, Hansen also has an active art practice involving the presentation of data for the public. His work with Ben Rubin at EAR Studio has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Whitney Museum, the Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, the London Science Museum, the Cartier Foundation in Paris, and the lobby of the New York Times building (permanent display) in Manhattan. Hansen holds a PhD and MA in Statistics from the University of California, Berkeley and a BS in Applied Math from the University of California, Davis.

Have questions about Computational Thinking | Jeannette Wing? Contact The Tow Center for Digital Journalism, Columbia Journalism School

When & Where

Columbia University School of Journalism
2950 Broadway
New York, NY 10027

Tuesday, February 4, 2014 from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM (EST)

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