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NSF Workshop on Broadening Parallel and Distributed Computing Undergraduate Education, August 17 - 18, Arlington, Virginia

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NSF Workshop on Broadening Parallel and Distributed Computing Undergraduate Education


August 17 - 18, Arlington Virginia

Arlington Hilton at Ballston Station, Matisse/Davinci Room (across from NSF)

Organized by the Center for 

Parallel and Distributed Computing Curriculum Development and Educational Resources (CDER)



Over the last five years the CDER Center has designed a curriculum guideline for undergraduate level instruction in parallel and distributed computing (PDC) that influenced and is referenced by the ACM 2013 Computer Science Curriculum. The effort focused on introducing PDC concepts in the first two years of the curriculum, so that students could start learning early to incorporate PDC into their problem solving approaches. It was followed up with a series of workshops, and small grants to early adopters of the curriculum. Although successful in many regards, there remains much to be done to help the discipline shift to embracing PDC education more broadly.


This workshop is intended to bring together a diverse group of stakeholders with interests in PDC education to facilitate discussion, networking, and to gather input for future efforts. The conversations will be guided by three questions:


Question 1: What more can be done to broaden participation in the implementation of parallel and distributed computing topics in the first two years of undergraduate computer science and engineering programs?


Question 2: Assuming broad implementation of PDC topics in the first two years of undergraduate education, what opportunities does that preparation open for deeper coverage in upper level undergraduate and graduate courses?


Question 3: Given the current PDC curriculum guidelines and the discussions from the previous day, how should the guideline be updated? (If you wish to familiarize yourself with the guideline before the meeting, it is available at


One half of each day will be devoted to discussion of each question, using a World Cafe style of small group interaction. The World Cafe model involves groups of four people who discuss the current question at a small table for twenty minutes and make notes on a large, common pad of paper. One of the people is the table host, who helps guide the process, encouraging everyone to contribute, and to express ideas graphically on the paper. 


At the end of the period, the host remains at the table, and the other three people relocate to different tables where the process repeats for a new configuration of small groups. At the end of a third round, there is a time for gathering of ideas from all the tables and general discussion. Following a break, the organizers may ask that the participants focus on a particular aspect of the question and another set of three rounds takes place, with a final gathering and discussion phase. Following a longer break, the whole process repeats for the next question. 




Workshop Schedule




8:00 - 8:30 Continental Breakfast

8:30 - 9:00 Welcome. Opening remarks by Randy Bryant

9:00 - 9:15 World Cafe process explanation

9:15 - 10:15 Three rounds of World Cafe discussion on Question 1

10:15 - 10:40 Gathering phase

10:40 - 11:00 Break

11:00 - 12:00 Three rounds of World Cafe discussion on Question 1 Followup

12:00 - 12:30 Gathering phase and discussion

12:30 - 1:15 Lunch (provided)

1:15 - 2:15 Three rounds of World Cafe discussion on Question 2

2:15 - 2:45 Gathering phase

2:45 - 3:15 Break

3:15 - 4:15 Three rounds of World Cafe discussion on Question 2 Followup

4:15 - 4:45 Gathering phase and discussion

4:45 - 5:30 Reception discussion (light refreshments provided)




8:00 - 8:30 Continental Breakfast

8:30 - 9:00 Opening remarks and reflections on previous day

9:00 - 10:00 Three rounds of World Cafe discussion on Question 3

10:00 - 10:30 Gathering phase

10:30 - 11:00 Break

11:00 - 12:00 Three rounds of World Cafe discussion on Question 3 Followup

12:00 - 12:30 Gathering phase and discussion





Charles Weems, U. of Massachusetts, Amherst

Alan Sussman, U. of Maryland, College Park

Arnold Rosenberg, Northeastern U.

Anshul Gupta, IBM

Sushil Prasad, NSF

Almadena Chtchelkanova, NSF

Amy Apon, NSF

Mimi McClure, NSF




Anyndia Banerjee, NSF

Randy Bryant, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

Barbara Chapman, U. of Houston

Debzani Deb, Winston-Salem State U.

Akshaye Dhawan, Ursinus College

John Dougherty, Haverford College

Trilce Estrada, U. of New Mexico

Diana Franklin, U.C. Santa Barbara

Eric Freudenthal, U. of Texas, El Paso

Ajay Gupta, Western Michigan U.

Karen Karavanic, Portland State U.

George Karypis, U. of Minnesota

Dan Katz, NSF

Andrew Lumsdaine, Indiana U. 

Brandeis Marshall, Spelman College

Duane Merrill, NVIDIA

Edusmildo Orozco Salcedo, U. of Puerto Rico

Cynthia Phillips, Sandia National Laboratory

Erik Saule, U. of North Carolina, Charlotte

Chi Shen, Kentucky State U.

Libby Shoop, Macalaster College

Michelle Strout, Colorado State U.

Violet Syrotiuk, Arizona State U.

Michela Taufer, U. of Delaware

Dominique Theibaut, Smith College

R. Vaidyanathan, Louisiana State U.

Susan Wang, Mills College

Michael Wrinn, Intel