CTM tour during the week of Nov. 7

During the week of Nov. 7, I will be touring the US to visit universities and other institutions teaching with my book (CTM) or thinking of teaching with it. For those who have not seen the book, it teaches programming in a way that is both broad and deep. It covers both practice (writing and running programs) and theory (semantics and reasoning about programs), and covers most of the important programming paradigms in a simple and uniform way. It is based on a long-term research collaboration (more than 15 years by now) by many people on understanding programming languages and their underlying concepts.

I will be giving talks and also talking with people. I can answer any questions about the book, its motivation and background, and our teaching experience. I can also offer advice on how to fit the book or its approach in your computer science curriculum.

I am now starting to plan the tour. If you are in the US and you would like me to visit your institution, please send me email (pvr@info.ucl.ac.be).

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Please don't forget working programmers

Hi Peter,

Best of luck on the American tour. I understand that you must concentrate your efforts on institutions. However, I hope you will make some talks acessible to those of us outside of academnia. I suspect there are a significant number of working programmers who read ltU. I bought CTM when it first came out, and I have to confess I find it heavy going.

Doug Fort
Consulting Programmmer

new york area?

I concur (hehe, sorry).

Reading CTM

I have to confess I find it heavy going.

My advice is to start with chapter 1 and don't move on until you understand it well. Run the examples on Mozart. Chapter 1 is a gentle introduction to many of the book's ideas and it will prepare you for the rest.

BTW, talks in universities are almost always open to the public. As soon as I have my schedule I will post it here.

Wonders whether I could lobby my new school

I'm fixing to take a course in Discrete Mathematics at UTD (starts in a couple of weeks). I see that the person that teaches Advanced PL at UTD (Gopal Gupta) is on the commitee of PADL'06 with you. Hmmm. Must get aroung to seeing if I can get UTD to teach CTM. (...Plot for world domination to begin in....) :-)

Lobbying UTD

Sure, go ahead and lobby UTD. If Gopal invites me, I will be happy to come.

Audio or Video

Can you please make audio or video recordings of these talks and post it? It would be very helpful for people like me who are CTM readers outside US.


NUS made multimedia recordings

Whether or not there is a recording depends on the institution. The National University of Singapore recorded all of Seif Haridi's lectures when he taught with the book during his sabbatical year there (see the CS2104 link on the book's website). The recordings are multimedia, with both video and slides. I don't know whether it's possible for people external to NUS to get a copy of the videos though. Maybe an LtU person could find out.

Itinerary on LtU

Once you have an itinerary, posting it on LtU would be nice.

I'm not any kind of academic,

I'm not any kind of academic, but I'm starting to lobby my old profs so I can see you in Montreal.

LA Area

I have no affiliation and so cannot urge anyone, but I will be following closely to see if you are able to include any institutions in the southern California area in your itinerary. Perhaps UCSD or UCSB... I'd love to have an excuse to go to either San Diego or Santa Barbara, and both institutions have fine CS departments.

Talks in Latin America

For those in Latin America: I will be giving two talks and a tutorial during the CLEI 2005 conference, which will take place Oct. 10-14 in Cali, Colombia. CLEI is a big conference: it's the major computer science conference for Latin America.

Programming education in the US

Thanks for your positive reactions to my tour. Feel free to lobby people. Sometimes all it takes is a few pebbles to get an avalanche started. I think that LtU is a real force for progress in spreading knowledge about programming languages, and heaven knows that the US computer science education community needs it. It's incredibly hard to do more than 'vocational training for Java' (in Alan Kay's words). For example, even Dave Parnas, when he was at McMaster University, told me how hard it was to do anything else.

US only problem?

I am not sure how things are in Europe, but it seems to me that in Israel we have the same problem, as regards undergraduate CS studies. The problem is less severe for those focusing on theory, naturally.

European system

The problem seems to be less severe in Europe, maybe because the universities are funded differently (tuition is low and universities are funded indirectly through the government). There might also be a higher regard for universities as centers of learning. I hesitate to make any general conclusions, though. In my university, UCL, they have been highly supportive of my approach so far.

vocational schools?

Are students routed to University based on standardized tests (e.g. France's Bac)? Is there a viable system of technical vocational schools? It seems to me that here in the US, vocational schools are highly stigmatized, pressuring people to attend a "real university" even if they only want a vocational education. As long as they're paying, the universities seem reluctant to refuse, and as long as it makes the country look "more highly educated," the politicians will support it.