Teaching parallel programming and software engineering concepts to high school students
This paper takes the stand that it is never too early to teach so-called "hard" concepts in computer science. Specifically, basic principles in parallel algorithm development and software engineering can be introduced to students first learning about computers. The key is to present ideas in a manner that is simple, fun and suited to the audience. We discuss an interactive exercise developed with this premise in mind, based on sorting algorithms, that we conducted with one hundred minority students aged 14 to 17, on March 19, 1993. Our students, relative neophytes to high level computer science notions, had fun while learning alleged difficult concepts.
© 1994 ACM. Special thanks go to K. Mani Chandy and John Thorrdey, who were instrumental in designing this workshop, and to Peter Carlin, who helped develop the arallel radix sort segment. We are grateful to the following people who have commented on our work and earlier drafts of this paper: Ulla Binau, James Cook, Robert Harley, Rohit Khare, Rustan Leko, Berna Massingill, and Paolo Sivilotti. We also thank the following people, without whose help our workshop would have failed: Paul Ainsworth, Diane Goodfellow, H. Peter Hofstee, James Muldavin, Gail Stowers, and Ted Turócy. Extra special thanks go to JoAnn Boyd, who worked long and hard to put together the beautiful formatting job for this paper. This work was supported in part by the NSF Center for Research on Parallel Computation, under Cooperative Agreement No. CCFG9120008. The government has certain rights in this material.