Coding, Computer Science, and Huffman's Algorithm
Programming is fun. As Hour of Code events begin next week, we convey that message to K12 students through short creative coding lessons. But coding alone is not what makes us computer scientists. The vocabulary and techniques that we learn in a CS 2 course like Tufts' Comp 15 lay the foundation for our discipline. Although languages and hardware change frequently, elegant algorithms and data structures endure. One example is Huffman's algorithm – written by a student in 1952 and still used in JPEG and fax compression schemes.
Susan Reiser is a senior lecturer and the associate dean of natural sciences at UNC Asheville. Before teaching, she worked in industry as a software developer and systems engineer. In addition to corporate work, she developed visualization applications for Duke University Medical Center's Electrophysiology Lab. Her interests and publications are in tangible computing, 3D computer graphics, and computing in the arts. She thoroughly enjoys the creativity inherent in user-centered design and problem-solving and tries to convey that to her students in Computer Science, New Media, and Mechatronics Engineering. Susan is active in ACM SIGGRAPH's Education Committee and also serves as the Co-Director of the SENCER Center of Innovation South, hosted at UNC Asheville.