Presentations and movies of the Podium and Talks »»
9.00h : Welcome Speech by the Chairman of the Department of
9.30h : Founder's Podium
"Computer Science: an overdue curriculum?"
Discussion with the founding members of the Department of Computer Science at ETH Zurich (in German)
Presented by: Prof. David Gugerli, Institute for History,
Computer scientists managed to put their money where their mouth is in 1981 only: since that year ETH Zurich has been offering a computer science curriculum. Before, computer science was but a minor presence. Mathematicians, physicists and electrical engineers, in particular, related computer science to early successes in computer engineering and forced it into existing curricula and disciplinary concepts.
Much too late did the industry vocalize its growing need for soundly educated computer scientists. Some students, on the other hand, feared to no longer be able to sell their programming skills which they had gained along the way. In this inhospitable environment computer science needed to be reinvented as a discipline in its own right.
This panel tries to answer the following questions:
Computer science - a recent and dynamic discipline, whose past future looks hardly less complex than its present future.
|10.45h : Break|
11.15h : Future Perspectives Podium
"The Future of Computer Science - fundamentalist or
Discussion with professors of computer science at ETH Zurich (in English)
Presented by: Prof. Willy Zwaenepoel, Chairman of the
Department of Computer Science at EPF Lausanne
Faced with dwindling enrollments, many computer science departments are going through a soul-searching exercise as to which direction the discipline should be headed in, both in terms of teaching and research.
Two rather different views have emerged from this exercise. One view, which I will call the "fundamentalist" view, argues that we are on the verge of developing the core theories underlying our field, and that the study and application of these core theories will bring untold benefits in terms of reliability and performance. Teaching should therefore focus on mathematics and core computer science, both in theory and practice. It is further argued that "computational thinking" will cause breakthroughs in other fields, and that therefore our interaction with other disciplines should be driven by notions from computer science, rather than the other way around.
The other view, which I will call the "pragmatic" view, argues that the useful subset of the core of computer science has been developed, and that hence we should focus on applications. Teaching of core computer science should therefore be limited, and instead attention should be paid to knowledge of application areas and soft skills. The interaction with other fields should be driven by the needs of those other fields, with computer science viewed as providing a service to those other disciplines.
The pragmatic view sits well with politicians (inside or outside academia), funding agencies, students, and the general public. The fundamentalists tend to perform better in the classic academic endeavor of publishing, and hence they tend to do better in terms of academic job hunting or promotions.
12.30h : Lunch Break
13.30h : Industry Podium
"Computer Science at ETH and its relation to the industry -
what are the areas of conflict?"
Discussion with representatives of the industry (in German)
Presented by: Prof. Ueli Maurer, Institute for Theoretical Computer Science, ETH Zurich
ETH and the industry share a symbiotic relationship in terms of both being players in the market for technical and scientific human resources, of being collaborative research partners, of conducting projects for continuied education and in terms of the aim to confirm and maintain Switzerland as a firstrate location for doing research.
Nevertheless, there are areas of conflict which arise from this symbiosis and which provide the following topics for discussion:
|14.45h : Break|
15.15h : Alumni Podium
"Memory and outlook - What did we learn? What should the next
generation be taught?"
Discussion with former students (in German)
Presented by: Prof. Thomas Gross, Institute for Computer Systems, ETH Zurich
What did we learn? What can we still remember today?
What would we have liked to learn? And was it taught?
What should the next generation learn?
|16.30h : Break|
16.45h : Guest Speaker Prof. Bernard Chazelle, Princeton University
"Why your humble iPod might be holding the biggest
mystery in all of science"
Talk by Prof. Bernard Chazelle, Professor of Computer Science, Princeton University (in English)
Moore's Law holds that, every 18 months, computing power doubles.
Most of the wonders of the computer age can be directly
attributed to Moore's Law. Alas, its days are numbered. What
then? In this talk I will argue that the years ahead will usher
in the era of the "Algorithm," a notion that, if all goes well,
will prove even more disruptive and revolutionary than quantum
mechanics was in the 20th century.
from 17.30h : Reception and Celebratory Opening of the
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