Re: programming languages as a core topic


I am happy to see Matthias' attempt to draft support for programming
languages in Curriculum 2001.  The main curriculum committee, after
numerous urgings on my part, set up a Programming Languages Knowledge
Units Focus Group (KFG).  Members of the group were Kim Bruce (PL KFG
chair, Williams College), Benjamin Goldberg (New York University), Chris
Haynes (Indiana University), Gary Leavens (Iowa State University), John
Mitchell (Stanford University), and Joseph Hummel (University of
Illinois at Chicago).

On very short notice, we developed a preliminary set of recommendations
for programming languages "knowledge units".  Over our loud complaints,
the committee cut these recommendations to roughly those currently in
the curriculum draft.  In fact, we only found out about these cuts when
the full committee released the strawman version of the curriculum recommendations.

At that point we attempted to rally support from the community by
publishing an article in the April, 2000, SIGPLAN Notices.  That
article, which includes many more details, can be found on-line at 

Unfortunately we got little response from the community from those
efforts, and very few changes were made by the curriculum committee to
the programming languages material.  While I believe it may still be
possible to influence the committee at the margins, the committee is
unlikely to make major changes at this late date.  I hope the community
can find a more effective way of making the case earlier in the process
in the future.


Matthias Felleisen wrote:
> Dear Colleagues --
> ACM's and IEEE's joint task on curriculum development has released its
> "ironman draft" proposal for a new core curriculum in computer science. The
> draft allocates six hours to the area of programming languages, relegating
> it to third-class status. I have written a letter of protest and ask for
> your support. Please visit my Web site where I have posted the letter and
> where you can find some additional information on the topic:
>    http://www.cs.rice.edu/~matthias/cc2001.html
> Regards -- Matthias Felleisen

Kim B. Bruce
Department of Computer Science
Williams College