Media contact: Noelle Lemoine, communications assistant; tele: (413) 597-4277; email:Noelle.Lemoine@williams.edu
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., June 12, 2012 – The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a grant of $67,175 to Williams College for the project “NSF Workshop: Designing Tools and Curricula for Undergraduate Courses in Distributed Systems” under the direction of assistant professor of computer science Jeannie Albrecht.
According to Albrecht, many undergraduate curricula do not currently offer courses focusing on the design and implementation of distributed systems. As a result, “undergraduates are not as prepared as they should be for graduate study or careers in industry,” she said. Thus, the project’s goal is to organize a workshop focusing on developing and disseminating new tools and curricula for undergraduate courses in distributed systems and computer networks that leverage the resources available in publicly accessible testbeds.
The workshop will include 20 to 30 attendees from varying backgrounds, including top-tier research institutions, liberal arts colleges, and industry. The workshop’s final result will be a report to be submitted to NSF’s computer and network systems division, and an accompanying website featuring relevant educational material.
Albrecht says the idea for the project arose from a discussion at a conference last year about the need for reform in distributed systems and networks education. She is now the main organizer of the project.
Albrecht’s research focuses on computer systems, including distributed systems, operating systems, and mobile and wide-area networks. In 2009, she was named a recipient of an NSF CAREER Award. She also serves as an adjunct assistant professor in the computer science department at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Albrecht received her B.S. from Gettysburg College in 2001, her M.S. from Duke University in 2003, and her Ph.D. from University of California – San Diego in 2007.
Founded in 1793, Williams College is the second-oldest institution of higher learning in Massachusetts. The college’s 2,000 students are taught by a faculty noted for the quality of their teaching and research, and the achievement of academic goals includes active participation of students with faculty in their research. Students’ educational experience is enriched by the residential campus environment in Williamstown, Mass., which provides a host of opportunities for interaction with one another and with faculty beyond the classroom. Admission decisions are made regardless of a student’s financial ability, and the college provides grants and other assistance to meet the demonstrated needs of all who are admitted.