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The historical context surrounding the birth of the DARPA High Productivity Computing Systems (HPCS) program is important for understanding why federal government agencies launched this new, longterm high performance computing program and renewed their commitment to leadership computing in support of national security, large science, and space requirements… (More)

We examine students' commonsense understanding of computer science concepts before they receive any formal instruction in the field. Specifically, we asked students on the first day of a CS1 class to describe in English how they would arrange a set of numbers in ascending, sorted order. We repeated the experiment with students in an introductory economics… (More)

Ordering the columns of a nonsymmetric sparse matrix can reduce the fill created in its factorization. Minimum-degree is a popular heuristic for ordering symmetric matrices; a variant that can be used to order nonsymmetric matrices is called column minimum degree. In this paper we describe the design of a multithreaded approximate column minimum degree… (More)

We examine students' commonsense understanding of computer science concepts before they receive any formal instruction in the field. For this study, we asked students on the first day of a CS1 class to describe in English how they would arrange a set of numbers in ascending, sorted order; we then repeated the experiment asking students to sort a list of… (More)

We evaluate the effectiveness of neural networks as a tool for predicting whether a particular combination of preconditioner and iterative method will correctly solve a given sparse linear system Ax = b. We consider several scenarios corresponding to different assumptions about the relationship between the systems used to train the neural network and those… (More)

Since logical statements naturally occur in programming and other computing work, educators may hope that all beginning computing students can employ basic logical thinking even if they are not familiar with the formalized mathematical notation. However, Herman and others found that even after being taught logic, students can still fail to correctly apply… (More)

What measurable effect do the language and paradigm used in early programming classes have on novice programmers' ability to do design? This work investigates the question by using data collected from 136 "first competency" students as part of a multi-national, multi-institutional study of students' approach to and attitudes toward design. Analysis of a… (More)

We are studying what students know about computer science-related topics before they take formal coursework at the university level. Preliminary results suggest that entering students have a fairly sophisticated understanding of algorithms. We are exploring other central computing topics for similar shared commonsense understanding.

We report on responses to a series of four questions designed to identify pre-existing abilities related to debugging and troubleshooting experiences of novice students before they begin programming instruction. The focus of these questions include general troubleshooting, bug location, exploring unfamiliar environments, and describing students' real life… (More)