Wednesday, October 11, 2017 at 4:00 p.m.
Physical Computing for Everyone
Thanks to Moore’s Law, embeddable microcontroller-based devices continue to get cheaper, faster, and include more integrated sensors and networking options. In 2016, the BBC and a host of technical partners, including Microsoft, delivered such a physical computing device, the micro:bit, to every 5th grader in the UK. Microsoft Research helped to make the micro:bit easy to program for novices. The non-profit Micro:bit Education Foundation (microbit.org), of which Microsoft is a founding partner, was recently created to take the micro:bit global. Over the last year, Microsoft has invested in a new web-based programming platform for physical computing in education, called Microsoft MakeCode (www.makecode.com). In this talk, I’ll describe the design principles behind the platform and our experience with it to date.
Thomas (Tom) Ball is a principal researcher and manager at Microsoft Research. Tom initiated the influential SLAM software model-checking project with Sriram Rajamani, which led to the creation of the Static Driver Verifier tool for finding defects in Windows device drivers. Tom is a 2011 ACM Fellow for “contributions to software analysis and defect detection.” As a manager, he has nurtured research areas such as automated theorem proving, program testing/verification, and empirical software engineering.