Philosophical Society of Washington

Computational Thinking

Jeannette Wing
Assistant Director, NSF

2242nd Meeting Abstract
Friday, October 10, 2008 at 8:15 PM


The author's vision for the 21st Century: Computational thinking will be a fundamental skill used by everyone in the world. To reading, writing, and arithmetic, we should add computational thinking to every child's analytical ability. Computational thinking involves solving problems, designing systems, and understanding human behavior by drawing on the concepts fundamental to computer science. Thinking like a computer scientist means more than being able to program a computer. It requires thinking at multiple levels of abstraction. This talk will give many examples of computational thinking, argue that it has already influenced other disciplines, and promote the idea that teaching computational thinking can inspire future generations to enter the field of computer science.

Jeannette Wing

About the Author:

Jeannette M. Wing is the Assistant Director of the Computer and Information Science and Engineering Directorate at the National Science Foundation. She is on leave from her position as President's Professor of Computer Science in the Computer Science Department at Carnegie Mellon University. From 2004 to 2007, she was Head of the Computer Science Department at Carnegie Mellon. Her general research interests are in the areas of specification and verification, concurrent and distributed systems, and programming languages. Her current focus is on the foundations of trustworthy computing.

She has served on the editorial board of eleven journals. She has been a member of many advisory boards, including: the Networking and Information Technology (NITRD) Technical Advisory Group to the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), the National Academies of Science's Computer Science and Telecommunications Board, ACM Council, the DARPA Information Science and Technology (ISAT) Board, NSF's CISE Advisory Committee, Microsoft's Trustworthy Computing Academic Advisory Board, and the Intel Research Pittsburgh's Advisory Board. She is a member of the Sloan Research Fellowships Program Committee. She is a member of AAAS, ACM, IEEE, Sigma Xi, Phi Beta Kappa, Tau Beta Pi, and Eta Kappa Nu. She is an AAAS Fellow, ACM Fellow, and IEEE Fellow.

She received her S.B. and S.M. degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in 1979 and her Ph.D. degree in Computer Science in 1983, all from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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