May 11, 2005

Latest What New @ IEEE for Students

From the latest issue:

Effective technical presentations are vital to engaging an audience of non-experts. Writing in the IEEE Professional Communications Society newsletter, Jean-Luc Doumont identifies three simple steps can help to improve technical presentations: the ability to communicate concisely; to orient an audience with visual cues; and to define the objective of the research. Such steps can make even the most complex theories accessible to non-experts. Read more:

The United States placed 17th in the annual Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) International Programming Contest, the worst ranking in the last 29 years. In an interview with CNET, ACM president David Patterson points to several possible reasons why the U.S. fell behind. Unlike other countries that have fewer computing resources, he says, America is used to being at the forefront of technology, and so students see little recognition for a win. In Russia, for example, finalists get to meet their country's president, while in America, that honor goes to sports players who win championships. Patterson also argues that because poorer countries are struggling to compete in today's technological marketplace, many of their funds and grants go toward implementing and promoting programming education. Conversely, in America, there is little encouragement for college students to pursue IT research. Read more:

The first item is of course very useful, as more and more emphasis is placed on interpersonal and communications skills in science and engineering programs. The second item is, of course, much more important in the long run. The interview talks a lot about the declining status of CS in society and is a useful addition to the posts I've made in the past about declining CS enrollments. Really interesting is the reader comments at the end of the story where students and practitioners get to vent a little. Canada? North American champion Waterloo placed 4th. See the contest results here. Of course, perhaps the two items are really related. Maybe if CS and related disicplines were seen as less geeky and more "human" then more people would be interested.

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