Our course web server (http://www-cs101.ai.mit.edu/) is back up! (Thanks, Todd!)

Rethinking CS101:
Innovations in Introductory Computer Programming

Perhaps the most fundamental idea in modern computer science is that of interactive processes. Computation is embedded in a (physical or virtual) world; its role is to interact with that world to produce desired behavior. While von Neumann serial programming has it that computation-as-calculation uses inputs -- at the beginning -- to produce outputs -- at the end -- computation-as-interaction treats inputs as things that are monitored and outputs as actions that are taken over the lifetime of an ongoing process. By beginning with a decomposition in terms of interacting computational processes, we can teach our students a model of the world much closer to the one that underlies the thinking of most computer professionals.

Rethinking CS101 is a project to develop a curriculum for the first course in computer science based around the idea of computation as interaction.

What's new?

Who are we?

Rethinking CS101 is a project of Professor Lynn Andrea Stein's AP Group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.

For more details, see the list of our current members and alumni.

What do we do?

We teach courses using these materials, both at MIT and elsewhere. Let us know if you are interested!

Many of our course materials are available on the web.

Much of the work is also documented in our publications and seminars.

We are currently preparing a textbook to make it easier for other schools to use this material.

We are looking for people interested in using these materials at their own sites. Let us know if you are interested!

We maintain several mailing lists for those interested in our project.

How can you find out more?

Read our publications

There have been several talks presented on this material. Two of them -- the May 13th 1996 EECS Colloquium at MIT and the January 15 1998 Department of Computer Science Colloquium at the University of Washington -- were videotaped. The MIT videotape is available through MIT's Center for Advanced Educational Services. The UW videotape may be avialable from their CS Department. Another talk -- Practicing What We Preach, an invited talk presented at the 1997 National Conference on Artificial Intelligence -- was audio taped and is available through the AAAI. The slides for this talk are also available from the author.

Upcoming opportunities to hear about the project include:

  • A talk for a non-technical audience: "Beyond Algorithmic Computation", Mary Ingraham Bunting Institute , Radcliffe College, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1 April 1998.
  • We also have a new (and woefully incomplete) FAQ. Send us questions and we'll try to answer them there (and directly!).

    Take a look at our course offerings.

    Current highlights:

    A complete listing of our course offerings is also available.

    We've also got several mailing lists:

    We thank our sponsors....

    Rethinking CS101 is supported by

    Maintained by Lynn Andrea Stein (las@ai.mit.edu).
    Copyright © 1996 by Massachusetts Institute of Technology. All rights reserved.