David O'Hallaron

David O'Hallaron

Professor of Computer Science and Electrical and Computer Engineering, Director of CS Masters Program

Office: 7517 Gates & Hillman Centers

Email: droh@cs.cmu.edu

Phone: (412) 268-8199

I work in the area of computer systems. My interests within computer systems are quite broad, including online education, cloud computing, and scientific computing. My main interest these days is the phenomena surrounding autograding, that is, programs evaluating other programs.

The CMU Autolab group is developing a new cloud-based service that teachers around the world can use to offer programming labs for their computer classes. The service is based on the notion of autograding, that is, programs evaluating other programs. Our vision is that teachers can select the labs for their classes from a repository of high-quality labs written by other teachers and students. An author whose lab is adopted for a class receives community recognition, in the form of a public adoptions page, and possibly even a small royalty. Each time a student hands in their work for credit, the service spins up a new VM and autogrades the student's work in this new VM. The scores are displayed, anonymized, on a realtime scoreboard that is visible to everyone in the class.

Our aim with this work is to improve the quality of computer science education worldwide by providing a way for teachers to share their good labs with each other. This sharing will enable good teachers to get credit for their work from their peers. The assignment of credit, in turn, will help foster the birth of a new reputation-based community for teachers. Researchers have enjoyed this kind of community for years, but teachers have never developed one, working for the most part in isolation, with little opportunity to learn and benefit from each other.

Students who are passionate about education would enjoy working with us. Drop by any time if you want to chat.