Speaker: Anthony Robins
Title: Teaching and Learning Programming
Introductory “CS1” programming courses typically have, when compared to courses in other subjects, high rates of both failing and excellent grades (with fewer “mid-range” grades than usual). Why? It turns out to be remarkably hard to find reliable predictors of success. I don’t believe in a “programmer gene”. I think that we can make sense of the apparent paradox in terms of the mechanisms of learning and the unusually dense / interconnected nature of programming language constructs. This talk will reflect on the teaching and learning of programming, describe the “learning edge momentum” hypothesis, and briefly touch on recent developments in the New Zealand high school curriculum.
Professor Anthony Robins has a background in psychology and artificial intelligence at the University of Canterbury (NZ) and the University of Sussex (UK). He has been a lecturer in Computer Science at the University of Otago since 1989, and has taught introductory programming since 1991. This experience fostered an ongoing interest in computer science education research. Anthony has several well cited publications in the field, and has been involved in developing the new computing related assessment standards for use in New Zealand high schools. In 2012 he was awarded a national Ako Aotearoa Tertiary Teaching Excellence Award.
Speaker: John Mylopoulous
Title: Goal-Oriented Requirements Engineering
Requirements Engineering (RE) is concerned with the elicitation from stakeholders, modelling and analysis of requirements for a system-to-be. We review the history of RE since the foundational work of Douglas Ross and Michael Jackson in the 70s. We then focus on goal-oriented RE techniques where requirements are treated as goals and are elicited and analyzed as such. We also report on recent work at the University of Trento that extends goal models and reasoning techniques to support runtime monitoring and diagnosis for self-adaptive software systems. Finally, we sketch some of our on-going research of the design of socio-technical systems and the challenges they entail due to inherent uncertainties in systems that consist of hardware, software, human and social actors.
This is joint work with Kostas Angelopoulos, Fatma Aydemir, Alex Borgida (RutgersU, USA), Fabiano Dalpiaz (UtrechtU, The Netherlands), Paolo Giorgini, Jennifer Horkoff, and Vitor Souza (UFES, Brazil).
John Mylopoulos holds a distinguished professor position (chiara fama) at the University of Trento, and a professor emeritus position at the University of Toronto. He earned a PhD degree from Princeton University in 1970 and joined the Department of Computer Science at the University of Toronto that year. His research interests include conceptual modelling, requirements engineering, data semantics and knowledge management. Mylopoulos is a fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) and the Royal Society of Canada (Academy of Sciences). He has served as programme/general chair of international conferences in Artificial Intelligence, Databases and Software Engineering, including IJCAI (1991), Requirements Engineering (1997), and VLDB (2004). Mylopoulos was recently awarded an advanced grant from the European Research Council for a project titled “Lucretius: Foundations for Software Evolution”.
Speaker: Peter Gutmann
Title: Bugs in the Wetware: The Psychology of Computer Insecurity
A fairly standard response with computer security failures is to blame the user. The real culprit though is the way in which the human mind works.
Millennia of evolutionary conditioning and the environment in which users operate cause them to act, and react, in predictable ways to given stimuli and situations. This talk looks at the (often surprising) ways in which the human mind deals with computer security issues, and why apparent bugs in the wetware are something that not only can’t be patched but are often critical to our functioning as humans.
Peter Gutmann is a researcher in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Auckland working on design and analysis of cryptographic security architectures and security usability. He helped write the popular PGP encryption package, has authored a number of papers and RFC’s on security and encryption, and is the author of the open source cryptlib security toolkit, “Cryptographic Security Architecture: Design and Verification” (Springer, 2003), and an upcoming book on security engineering. In his spare time he pokes holes in whatever security systems and mechanisms catch his attention and grumbles about the lack of consideration of human factors in designing security systems.
Speaker: Sebastian Link
Title: SQL Keys
SQL has been the ISO and ANSI industry standard for defining and managing data since the mid 80s. While big data technology is projected to form a 3.5 billion US dollar market, the SQL market is predicted to reach 40 billion by 2018. Edgar Codd, who received the Turing award for his relational model of data in 1981, proposed the entity integrity rule as a means to efficiently identify records of data. His proposal has been incorporated in SQL by requiring each table of a database to have a primary key. Columns of a primary key uniquely identify records, and do not carry unknown data – known as null markers. This talk surveys the new notion of certain keys for SQL. Certain keys enjoy a well-founded semantics, achieve Codd’s goal of entity integrity, and provide more flexibility for data entry than primary keys. Algorithmic solutions to discover, index, visualize, and reason about certain keys are discussed in theory and by experiments, drawing from methods in combinatorics, logic and graph theory.
Dr Sebastian Link is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Auckland. He received his PhD degree in Information Systems from Massey University. His main research interest concerns the semantics of data, an area that interacts at least with artificial intelligence, data management and modeling, complexity theory, database theory, discrete mathematics and statistics. A/Prof Link has more than 120 publications, including articles in ACM Transactions on Database Systems, Annals of Pure and Applied Logic, Information Systems, Journal of Computer and System Sciences and The VLDB Journal, as well as papers in DASFAA, EDBT, ER, ICDT and PODS. He is steering committee co-chair of the Asia-Pacific Conference on Conceptual Modeling and serves on the editorial board of the journal Information Systems. A/Prof Link is the contact principal investigator of three Marsden-funded research projects on the semantics of SQL and XML data, and the recipient of the Chris Wallace Award in 2013.