Wanted: Technical Women


“Evidence continues to mount that capable women in technical fields have less confidence than men that they will be successful. Researchers at Stanford University recently published new findings that women engineering students perform as well as men, but are more likely than men to switch to a different major. These women switch because they don’t believe that their skills are good enough and they don’t feel like they “fit” in engineering.

Unfortunately, many of these women are wrong. They could succeed in engineering or computing, and it is in our interest that they do.”

in US News


10 programming languages that could shake up IT


“(…) as powerful and versatile as the current crop of languages may be, no single syntax is ideally suited for every purpose. What’s more, programming itself is constantly evolving. The rise of multicore CPUs, cloud computing, mobility, and distributed architectures have created new challenges for developers. Adding support for the latest features, paradigms, and patterns to existing languages — especially popular ones — can be prohibitively difficult. Sometimes the best answer is to start from scratch.

Here, then, is a look at 10 cutting-edge programming languages, each of which approaches the art of software development from a fresh perspective, tackling a specific problem or a unique shortcoming of today’s more popular languages. Some are mature projects, while others are in the early stages of development. Some are likely to remain obscure, but any one of them could become the breakthrough tool that changes programming for years to come — at least, until the next batch of new languages arrives.”

in InfoWorld

Computing: The Human Experience


The story of computing is the story of humanity™

Computing: The Human Experience is a transmedia project engaging audiences of all ages in the story of the technology that has changed humanity.

in http://computingthehumanexperience.com

MIT Will Offer Certificates to Outside Students Who Take Its Online Courses


“Millions of learners have enjoyed the free lecture videos and other course materials published online through the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s OpenCourseWare project. Now MIT plans to release a fresh batch of open online courses—and, for the first time, to offer certificates to outside students who complete them.”

in The Chronicle of Higher Education

IBM 5 in 5 predictions of technologies that will change the way we live and work over the next five years


in http://asmarterplanet.com/blog/2011/12/the-ibm-5-in-5-your-favorite-mind-reading-is-no-longer-science-fiction.html

Students Shift to Computer Science


“The increase follows a national trend: Computer science majors increased 7.6% across the country from 2009 to 2010, the most recent available data, according to the Computing Research Association.

“Computing now penetrates into just about every line of business and academic discipline,” said Zhigang Xiang, chair of Queens College’s Computer Science Department. “It’s hard to find one field where you don’t need it.”

“People certainly realize [computing] is now getting to be a basic skill in the 21st century,” Mr. Xiang said.”
in The Wall Street Journal

Government looks to make ICT education ‘essential’ to curriculum


“The government has said that computer science education should be brought into the new National Curriculum as an essential discipline.

Formulating a response to Nesta’s Next Gen report on reforming the provision of ICT and computer science subjects in schools, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said that it recognises the importance of ICT.

It also agreed with Nesta that the UK’s ICT programme should be reformed to encourage more young people to study the subject and pursue IT careers.”
in Women in Technology

Peter Gabriel and His Big Orchestra Play Live at the Ed Sullivan Theater


“Last night our old friend/life champion Peter Gabriel turned up at the Ed Sullivan theater with a black-clad orchestra. Peter’s promoting his symphonic LP New Blood, a sequel/extension of last year’s Scratch My Back orchestral covers album and tour; on Scratch, he recorded takes on folks like Arcade Fire, but Blood is all his own, refitted for large, classical ensemble. Corban, Scott, and I went to this taping, sat shivering (it really is cold) in the Ed Sullivan balcony, admired Peter’s hokey theatricality on “Intruder” and his fervent commitment to human rights issues in many song intros (and, songs, like “Biko”), and his general good sense in having one of pop music’s most iconic voices. You can watch the entire 68-minute performance below. It opens with “Red Rain” and closes with “Solsbury Hill,” and “Biko,” cycling through “Intruder,” “Mercy Street” “Wallflower,” “San Jacinto,” and “Rhythm Of The Heat” (in no particular order) in between. The man has songs.”

in stereogum.com

It Started Digital Wheels Turning


“The machine on the drawing boards at the Science Museum in London is the Babbage Analytical Engine, a room-size mechanical behemoth that its inventor envisioned but never built.

The project follows the successful effort by a group at the museum to replicate a far less complicated Babbage invention: the Difference Engine No. 2, a calculating machine composed of roughly 8,000 mechanical components assembled with a watchmaker’s precision. That project was completed in 1991.”

in http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/08/science/computer-experts-building-1830s-babbage-analytical-engine.html?_r=1

Why Science Majors Change Their Minds (It’s Just So Darn Hard)


“Professor Chang says that rather than losing mainly students from disadvantaged backgrounds or with lackluster records, the attrition rate can be higher at the most selective schools, where he believes the competition overwhelms even well-qualified students.

“You’d like to think that since these institutions are getting the best students, the students who go there would have the best chances to succeed,” he says. “But if you take two students who have the same high school grade-point average and SAT scores, and you put one in a highly selective school like Berkeley and the other in a school with lower average scores like Cal State, that Berkeley student is at least 13 percent less likely than the one at Cal State to finish a STEM degree.””

in The New York Times