Archive / INF Seminars / INF_2023_10_31_Juraj_Hromkovic
USI - Email

Homo Informaticus or how teaching computer science can contribute to improving school education


Host: Prof.Hauswirth and Prof. Landoni




USI Campus Est, room D1.14, Sector D
11:00 - 12:00

Juraj Hromkovic
ETH Zurich
Since we automate all activities we can precisely describe, the educational value where the students learn to follow a prescribed pattern is decreasing fast. Schools are asked to focus on nurturing the development of kids and students in the dimensions such as creativity, phantasy, and critical thinking, in which the technology cannot compete humans. In this talk we show that computer science as an integral part of human culture since ever can be decisive in advising the educational system in this transformation. The basic concepts of teaching informatics we present here are the following two:
1. Teach the process of discoveries and development, rather than the products of science and technology (facts, theorems, models, methods, devices) or the use or application thereof.
2. Teach by "getting things to work" of Seymour Papert. The investigation of the functionality and properties of the products of own work is at least as important as the learning process by creating them

Juraj Hromkovic is professor of Information Technology and Education at the Department of Computer Science at ETH Zurich since January 2004.
Born in Bratislava in 1958, he studied computer science at the Comenius University, where he received his PhD in 1986 and his habilitation in 1989. From 1990 to 1994, he was visiting professor at the University of Paderborn, from 1994 to 1997 professor for parallel computing at Christian Albrechts University Kiel, from 1997 to 2003 professor for algorithmics and complexity at RWTH Aachen. In 2001, he was elected member of the Slovak Academic Society. Since 2010, he is member of Academia Europaea. In 2015, he was honored by the Slovak state award Goodwill Envoy. In 2017, he got the Pribina Cross of the first order from the President of the Slovak Republic.
His research and teaching interests focus on informatics education, algorithmics for hard problems, complexity theory with special emphasis on the relationship between determinsm, randomness, and nondeterminism. One of his main activities is writing textbooks which make complex recent discoveries and methods accessible for students and practitioners, and so contributing to the speed up of the transformation of new paradigmatic research results into educational folklore. In order to introduce the subject informatics to the school education, he founded the Centre for Computer Science Education in 2005. He is responsible for the master program Lehrdiplom Informatik at ETH devoted to the education of computer science teachers.