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Code.org recently made a splash with its high-profile supporters — everyone from Bill Gates to Snoop Dogg have offered up their support for Code.org’s premise: that everyone should learn to code.

While Code.org’s goals are admirable, the movie above spends near zero time talking about what might be the most important part of the equation: computer science teachers.

The Code.org website has info for interested teachers, but the emphasis is still clearly on enticing students to want to learn to code. That’s great, but what about CS teachers?

To prepare for an upcoming talk at the annual Python conference, Pycon, Mozilla data architect and PostgreSQL contributor Selena Deckelmann recently started talking with actual High School CS teachers and has some surprising, if depressing, take aways about what we can do to help kids learn to code. Deckelmann’s survey is admittedly informal and rather small, but it’s a start.

Deckelmann reports that “reading comprehension is the biggest barrier to completion of AP Computer Science” and that “continued existence” is the biggest battle for a computer science teacher every year.

Deckelmann cites a 2010 report that found “the number of secondary schools offering introductory computer science courses dropped 17 percent from 2005 to 2009 and the number offering Advanced Placement (AP) computer science courses dropped 35 percent in that time period.”

More encouraging is that students at one high school learned three languages in three years (C++, Java and Python).

It’s also interesting to note that Deckelmann says “the CS teachers I’ve met want to share their lessons — with me and with other teachers,” and that “the CS teachers I’ve met don’t know other CS teachers.” That sounds like an opportunity for some kind of social site if anyone is interested — just be sure to talk to some actual teachers before you start building.

If you’re planning to be at Pycon this weekend be sure to check out Deckelmann’s talk “What teachers really need from us.”

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I came across this paper: http://www.edbt.org/Proceedings/2012-Berlin/papers/edbt/a36-zhou.pdf while doing a course on SNA (Social Network Analysis). I want to detect communities using mutual friend info on fb data. I want to find out if there is a good implementation of the naive approach to finding maximal k-Edge-Connected subgraphs from a graph. Algorithm enthusiasts of Reddit, could you please point me to any?

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I hope this is alright to ask here. This was posed as extra credit for my algorithms class, with any and all resources allowed, including the internet.

The assignment is to give an example of a case where the First Fit Decreasing solution to the 1-dimensional bin packing problem is exactly 71/42 OPT. Some additional information was given to us. First, this is an undergrad algorithms class, and nobody in the graduate class was able to solve it, so there must be some required techniques that we have not covered in class. Second, we were given a hint: in the TA's office posted on the door, there is a photo of the door itself with two Eyes of Horus. Third, the TA proved this a few years ago, but it was never published.

Can anyone lead me in the right direction?

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theodp writes "Microsoft's promotion of Julie Larson-Green to lead all Windows software and hardware engineering in the wake of Steven Sinofsky's resignation is reopening the question of what is the difference between Computer Science and Software Engineering. According to their bios on Microsoft's website, Sinofsky has a master's degree in computer science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and an undergraduate degree with honors from Cornell University, while Larson-Green has a master's degree in software engineering from Seattle University and a bachelor's degree in business administration from Western Washington University. A comparison of the curricula at Sinofsky's and Larson-Green's alma maters shows there's a huge difference between UMass's MSCS program and Seattle U's MSE program. So, is one program inherently more compatible with Microsoft's new teamwork mantra?"


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