Visiting researchers to discuss computer outreach program

Published: Feb 27, 2009 7:34:00 AM
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World renowned computer scientists Tim Bell and Bengt Aspvall will present a seminar on their project, "Computer Science Unplugged," on Wednesday, March 4, at 10 a.m. in 3129 Shelby Center. The university community is invited to attend this event, sponsored by the Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering.

Computer Science Unplugged is a project that introduces students to the principles of computer science without using computers. It can be used in conjunction with computer courses, in classrooms, for summer camps and clubs and in situations where access to computers is limited. Bell and Aspvall will explain activities used to demonstrate principles of computer science to school children in a variety of settings. These activities are "unplugged" - no computers are required. Instead, the students use games, puzzles and activities to engage in the principles of computer science. The speakers will describe how Unplugged can be used for school outreach, along with lessons learned through 16 years of international experience with the program.

Bell is an associate professor of computer science and software engineering at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand. His current research interests include computer science education, computers and music and compressed file searching. From 1999 to 2004, he was the head of the Department of Computer Science at Canterbury. He is the founder and co-leader of the Computer Science Unplugged project (

Aspvall is a professor of computer science at Blekinge Institute of Technology (BTH) in Sweden. His research interests include algorithms, discrete mathematics and computer science education. He received his undergraduate degree at Lund University in Sweden and holds a doctorate from Stanford University. He previously served as pro vice-chancellor for six years after joining BTH in 1999 and was a member of the faculty at Cornell University and the University of Bergen, Norway.