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The Grill: Jeannette M. Wing on the Hot Seat


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Carnegie Mellon Professor Jeannette Wing

Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon University professor Jeannette M. Wing is an expert on computational thinking, the discipline of applying computer science's problem-solving methods to other fields. "Scientists and engineers [who are not computer scientists] already know the power of metal tools — such as supercomputers and networks — but what I'm arguing is that it's the mental tools that can give them more power," Wing says in an interview. "It can truly transform the way they think, even prompting them to ask questions they wouldn't have thought to ask before."

Wing's area of personal research is trustworthy computing, which incorporates reliability, security, privacy, and usability. She says there has been progress in the improvement of software quality, noting that the use of automated tools in the development process has increased substantially in the past five to eight years. Wing points out that people are focusing on threats such as coding vulnerabilities when what they should really be concerning themselves with are composition flaws and other future higher-level threats.

Wing, the National Science Foundation's (NSF) director of computer and information science and engineering, lists algorithmic game theory, computational macroeconomics, bio-inspired computing, and basic research driven by societal grand challenges as examples of projects funded by the NSF. She also has high hopes for the Obama administration's emphasis on science and technology.

From Computerworld
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