Spring comes slow and soggy to Oregon where I live. April slogs its way to May, the rains slacken and the sun fights it way from behind grey clouds. Oregonians emerge sodden and blinking into the sunlight. Suddenly strange, summer is here and one beautiful sunny day follows another.
A nice change for me this spring is the assumption of my new role as Intel Academic Community Manager. Though the job is new, I have been working with our academic members for a number of years now. Some will remember me as host of our Academic Webinars, and I have been active in creating content, especially for our Take5 video series.
I have an unending admiration for those in the teaching profession – you work in every part of the world, with diverse students, in dissimilar institutions, yet you all are united in one task – helping students comprehend what Edward Dijkstra termed a “radical novelty.” You, as educators help students to break down old modes of thought and cast foreign concepts into the familiar. Beyond that, your guidance helps students develop a basic set of life skills -- to make them successful and, hopefully, happy, in their chosen professions.
I would argue that comprehending Parallelism as a fundamental component of the undergraduate curriculum is a radical novelty for all of us. We have only just begun the discussion of basic issues as to where parallelism will fit into our courses, what must change and (brace yourself) what is going to go away. Happily, many are finding that much can be done at these beginning stages and, moreover, it is not all that hard to get started.
We have great course modules now, both those created by Intel as well as a growing body submitted by professors around the world. We will be working hard to expand the number of such teaching modules. Just as importantly, we will soon be launching a restructuring of this content so that it more closely follows the ACM recommended standards for Computer Science curriculum.
I sincerely wish that I could meet each of you in person, unfortunately, that is not possible, but we will be using new media to extend conversation over the network.
On April 21st, we’ll launch our Teach Parallel! online discussion series. Professor Tom Murphy of Contra Costa College and I will be co-hosting the show. Please follow the show link to attend online or catch-up with the podcast after the event. Our first guest will be Dr. Dan Garcia of the University of California Berkeley. He will be talking about how he was able to integrate parallelism throughout the curriculum. Anyone who knows Dan will tell you that he is always a fascinating and exciting speaker.
I encourage everyone to make use of the Blogs and Forums – let me know if you need help getting set up. Also, please feel free to contact me directly - firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to working with you all.