Matthias Felleisen, 2011 SIGCSE Award for Outstanding Contribution to Computer Science Education TeachScheme!

March 10, 2011

“In 1995, my research team and I decided to create TeachScheme!, an educational outreach project, with the hope that our work on programming languages could effect a dramatic change in K-12 computer science. Specifically, we envisioned a virtuous cycle of two mutually reinforcing ideas. On the one hand, we would create a design-oriented curriculum path from middle school through college. On the other hand, our approach would help kids with learning school mathematics. Hence a course on programming would benefit every student, not just those who end up choosing computer science as a college major. At this point, we have a new design-oriented curriculum; a pedagogic program development environment to make it fun; and a series of matching programming languages. After focusing at the overlap between high schools and colleges at first, we now use after-school programs to move upstream, and we are working on two major downstream courses for the second semester in college: one on object-oriented design and another on logic in program design.”

Bio: Matthias Felleisen obtained his PhD (’87) from Daniel P. Friedman who also pointed him in the direction of a professorial career. He then spent the next 15 years at Rice University in Houston, including long and short sabbaticals at Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh) and Ecole Normale Superieure (Paris). In 2001, he took on a position at Northeastern University in Boston and moved his entire team there. Felleisen and his distributed PLT team conduct research on all aspects of programming languages: design, implementations, and applications. On the side, they also run TeachScheme!, an educational outreach project. Over his 25-year career, Felleisen co-authored six books. As a PhD student, he revised his adviser’s “Little LISPer” (MIT Press), which is still in print in its 35th year of existence. The two of them also wrote “A Little Java, A Few Patterns”. With some of his own PhD students, Felleisen produced “How to Design Programs” (MITP, 2001) and “Semantics Engineering” (MITP, 2009).