Thursday, May 02, 2013

Science and Education

I ran across some items about science and public education and wanted to share them.

An article from the NY Times caught my eye about ADHD and sleep

For some people — especially children — sleep deprivation does not necessarily cause lethargy; instead they become hyperactive and unfocused. Researchers and reporters are increasingly seeing connections between dysfunctional sleep and what looks like A.D.H.D., but those links are taking a long time to be understood by parents and doctors.


This article appeared in the journal Science about an interview with Ed Lazowska in UW's department of Computer Science and Engineering about the future of computer science.  (Public disclosure; I know Ed and the department very well.)  Some highlights:
  • "The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that two-thirds of all available jobs in all fields of science and engineering during this decade—in the mathematical sciences, the physical sciences, the life sciences, engineering, and the social sciences—will be in computer science. At the University of Washington, there are literally dozens of programs targeting this wide variety of fields. And here's another thing that's certain: Every field of discovery will become an "information" field. That's the "big data" story: Data-driven discovery will become the norm, driven by advances in computer science"
  • "Today, undergraduate enrollments are through the roof at all major programs across the nation. At UW, our introductory course has twice the enrollment of a decade ago."
  • "I think the major trend is the "infiltration" of all other fields by computer scientists. Every year, UW sends students to law school, to business school, to medical school, to biotech companies. You read today about the extraordinary demand that's looming for "data scientists." Who are these people going to be? They are going to be people educated in computer science departments in scalable machine learning, data visualization, and related areas."
  • "About diversity in the field - And sure, we need to be more inclusive for reasons of workforce: There is enormous employer demand, and we're failing to fully tap potential participants. But most importantly, there is the selfish reason. Each of us brings a unique perspective to the systems that we design. If we fail to include certain groups in our field, we limit the perspectives that will be brought to bear on the solutions that we create. A more diverse workforce yields a better-engineered end product. So even if you're a heartless capitalist, with no interest in equity or workforce, you should focus on diversity because the result will be a superior product and one that meets the needs of a broader swath of the population."
  • "Here's one thing that's certain in the next 10 years: We will put "the smarts" in everything: smart homes, smart cars, smart health, smart robots, smart science (confronting the data deluge), smart crowds and human-computer systems, smart interaction (virtual and augmented reality)."
  • "Science policy in this nation, and STEM education, is in the iron grip of chemists, physicists, astronomers, and biologists. They don't want any interlopers. But increasingly, advances in these fields are being driven by computer science. There is no field that is more important to the future of the nation and the world."
In the "kinda science, kinda crazy" category, a story from ABC News where one Minnesota school district got a two-fer for investing in technology.

Minnesota school district where two students were killed in a 2003 shooting unveiled a new device Tuesday aimed at adding a last-ditch layer of safety for teachers and students: bulletproof whiteboards.

The Rocori School District has acquired nearly 200 of the whiteboards, made of a material touted by its manufacturer as stronger than that in police-issue bulletproof vests. The 18-by-20-inch whiteboards can be used by teachers for instruction and used as a shield in an emergency.

Company officials said the whiteboards are already in schools in North Dakota and Maryland, and are being rolled out in Pennsylvania and California.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have heard that they are adding more engineering disciplines to UW-Bothell. Hopefully Computer Science will be one.

HP