Vinton G. Cerf
computer science Education—
ACM members span a remarkable period in
the history of computing. We can point to Kelly
Gotlieb, chair or co-chair of the ACM Awards
committee for over 20 years, who joined ACM
in 1949 when it was two years old! Next
to Kelly, I feel like a newbie, having
joined in 1967. And there are the most
recent members, who joined us just
this year, many as a result of our international initiatives.
cupy the thoughts of many of our colleagues.
But what about people who have
no intention of entering the field?
Shouldn’t they have some idea of how
programming works? How operating
systems work? How networks and their
layered protocols work?
Among the initiatives that ACM has
been pursuing is to make computer sci-
in many advanced
programs, it is a
requirement to have
a certain number
of credits in science.
it is acm’s position
that computer science
computer science should have equal
standing. Moreover, the curriculum
should include some serious exposure,
inter alia, to programming, systems,
languages, and computer architecture.
The idea is not necessarily to turn students into professional computer engineers and scientists, but to expose
them to the richness of computer science and to help them appreciate the
potential nascent in computers and
A detailed report on this topic can
be found at http://csta.acm.org/Advoca-cy_Outreach/sub/Inroads_Stephenson-Wilson.pdf. I strongly urge you to read
this report and then to explore ACM’s
website page on education: http://www.
Reforming K– 12 education to incorporate serious computer science seems
vital to producing an informed public
that has a deeper appreciation for the
power of computing than video games
and social networking. There are, no
doubt, countless opportunities for
computing professionals to engage in
this effort, by lending their support and
time to the effort to reform K– 12 curriculum content and to make visible to
young people the excitement of discovering what computing can accomplish.
The discipline of writing and debugging
software, of creating simulations or interactive applications has the potential
to draw many into the profession, or at
least to provide even more with a sense
of the core role computing is playing
and will play in the decades ahead.
As the Internet of Things becomes
reality and software appears in every
appliance, building, and vehicle, we
have a societal interest in promoting
understanding of and interest in our
Vinton G. Cerf, ACM PRESIDENT