“A Hop, Skip and Jump” A Personal Journey Down SIGCSE Memory Lane
simple interactive learning tools, still very limited by speed (dial
up) with most people only having access to the internet at their
local libraries or universities. This transition accelerated as we
added broadband and Wi-Fi to homes, schools and business-es while losing the race for our best and brightest students to
the first wave of startups (dotcom boom). We developed online
learning platforms which have had to
adapt to the next revolution of mobile
devices, social media and MOOCs.
Students nowadays find email and the
“traditional” WWW outdated but I, for
one, am still “stuck” in that world. As
our field moves even more swiftly into
the next fifty years no one can imagine where we are headed. For example,
how will AI and unknown technologies
change our field?
As a 77-year old in 2018, I have
learned that the relationships/friend-ships are the constant and SIGCSE has
been the vehicle for the ride. As exciting as technology has been/is, the people who took this journey
with me provided the greatest experiences and memories. My
hope is that you also enjoy these exciting times and treasure
the memories of your SIGCSE experiences and friendships.
SIGCSE has and will continue to evolve with the new technologies and associated challenges (diversity and privacy among the
many). I look forward to reading about what the new generation of 27-year-olds achieve and experience over their 50-year
I would like to give a special “shout out” to John Impagliazzo for providing insight and
information that added depth to this article. Also, David Aiken for reviewing and adding
substance to several drafts, as well as preparing the figure. Finally, thanks to Laurie King
for assisting with the formatting.
Most of the information included in this article stems from my fallible memory and items
in the following SIGCSE Bulletins (from the ACM online digital archives).
1. Deep Blue; https://en.wikipedia.ofllowing rg/wiki/Deep_Blue_(chess_computer).
Accessed 2018 May 1.
2. SIGCSE Bulletin, 1, 3 (1969).
3. SIGCSE Bulletin, 1, 4 (1969).
4. SIGCSE Bulletin, 2, 1 (1970).
5. SIGCSE Bulletin, 2, 5 (1970).
6. SIGCSE Bulletin, 50, 1 (2018).
7. Weizenbaum, J. Computer Power and Human Reason, (W. H. Freeman and
Robert M. Aiken
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA
DOI: 10.1145/3230703 ©2018 ACM 2153-2184/18/12
Williams (Triangle Universities Computation Center). The first
recipient for the SIGCSE ‘Outstanding Contributions to Computer Science Education’ award in 1981 was Bill Atchison (
University of Maryland) and the second recipient was Alan Perlis
(Carnegie-Mellon University). The SIGCSE Award for Lifetime
Service to the Computer Science Education Community was initiated in 1997 and first awarded to Dick
Austing (University of Maryland) and
the second to Della Bonnette (
University of Southwestern Louisiana). Moreover, one should not forget that Della
and Jim Miller (University of Southern
Mississippi) were diligent and dedicated
early editors of the Bulletin.
Several couples were also major contributors. For example, early on Betty
and Larry Jehn (University of Dayton)
and later Mary Ann and Dick Austing
headed up our symposium registration
process. For those who are interested,
you can browse through original back
issues of the SIGCSE Bulletin through the excellent ACM digital archives of the Bulletin. One can discover countless colleagues who have been officers, committee chairs/members
and those who served in many other volunteer positions for
SIGCSE. That does not even take into account all the authors,
reviewers, poster presenters, corporate sponsors and student
members who contributed in myriad capacities.
I apologize to those who made important early contributions
but whom I have not specifically noted. We have benefited significantly from all their efforts and continue to build on their early support. I would be remiss if I did not also “doff my chapeau”
to all the SIGCSE officers and volunteers who over the past fifty
years have contributed immeasurable time and effort. I hope that
you will thank them when you have an opportunity—and volunteer yourself. You won’t regret it! We need your efforts and
enthusiasm as we embark on our next “ 50 Year Journey”!
After writing this piece I reflected on how much our field has
changed. I cannot think of any discipline that has transformed/
revolutionized and evolved as much in these past 50 years. Not
only has the content changed dramatically but so has the way
we teach. When we started SIGCSE computer mainframes
were massive, such as the IBM 360 series. No one had a computer in his or her office. For large jobs we were fortunate if we
had more than one hour on the massive university mainframes
(often planned well in advance) and batch programs were run
overnight. We moved on to a text-based internet which allowed us to communicate with our colleagues on simple bulletin boards and email. Then came the graphical WWW which
again changed the paradigm and impacted the way we taught
and communicated. We set out to create web sites and some
As our field moves
even more swiftly into
the next fifty years
no one can imagine where
we are headed.
For example, how will AI
and unknown technologies
change our field?