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Distinguished Lecture Talk – Thomas Ball

January 27 @ 10:00 am - 11:00 am

Thomas Ball
Partner Researcher

Wednesday, January 27, 2021
10:00-11:00am MST

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 979 4681 9985
Passcode: scs-s21

Host: Eliane Wiese


The BBC micro:bit and Microsoft MakeCode


Abstract: In this talk, I’ll reflect on my experience in the BBC micro:bit project in the UK in 2015-2016, and the creation of the Microsoft MakeCode platform to support CS education around the world. I’ll first focus on advances from these projects that make it easier for educators and students to create physical computing projects that involve sensing, actuation, networking, data collection and machine learning. Live demos will show how MakeCode brings the worlds of the web browser and microcontroller-based devices, such as the micro:bit and retro gaming handhelds, closer together. Finally, I’ll present some of MakeCode’s key platform features, including third party extensibility via Static TypeScript, and GitHub integration.

[Based on work with the BBC, the Micro:bit Education Foundation, and the Microsoft MakeCode team: The BBC micro: bit: from the U.K. to the world. Commun. ACM 63(3): 62-69 (2020); Physical Computing: A Key Element of Modern Computer Science Education. Computer 53(4): 20-30 (2020).]

Bio: Thomas (Tom) Ball is a Partner Researcher at Microsoft Research (MSR) and a 2011 ACM Fellow for ‘contributions to software analysis and defect detection’. As a manager at MSR for 15+ years, he nurtured research areas such as automated theorem proving, program testing/verification, and empirical software engineering. Over the past five years, has worked on the BBC micro:bit and Microsoft MakeCode. Most recently, he has been exploring how to enable the design, coding, and playing of video games on gaming handhelds with Microsoft TileCode.


January 27
10:00 am - 11:00 am
Event Category: