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Sun 20 - Tue 22 June 2021
co-located with PLDI 2021
Mon 21 Jun 2021 09:00 - 10:15 at HOPL - Monday Morning Chair(s): Tomas Petricek, Vijay Saraswat

Logo is more than a programming language. It is a learning environment where children explore mathematical ideas and create projects of their own design. Logo, the first computer language explicitly designed for children, was invented by Seymour Papert, Wallace Feurzeig, Daniel Bobrow, and Cynthia Solomon in 1966 at Bolt, Beranek and Newman, Inc. (BBN).

Logo’s design drew upon two theoretical frameworks: Jean Piaget’s constructivism and Marvin Minsky’s Artificial Intelligence Lab at MIT.

Papert collaborated with Piaget for several years before joining Minsky at the AI Lab. While with Piaget, Papert saw concretely that children are not empty vessels into which you pour knowledge. They are scientists who form theories and test their own knowledge acquisition. Thus Logo supported expansive worlds, or microworlds, in which children could explore and experiment and debug their experiments.

The members of the initial Logo team were part of the artificial intelligence community at BBN and MIT and were accustomed to programming in Lisp. One of the foundational ideas was that children should have the most powerful possible programming language. Logo is characterized by many of the same design choices as early Lisp: symbolic computation, recursive functions, operation on linked lists, and dynamic scoping of variables.

What Logo added to Jean Piaget’s model of children constructing knowledge was the idea that this mental process happens best when children make things like programs or drawings and reflect on their thinking, rather than thinking about some piece of knowledge in the abstract. Papert later coined the term Constructionism to distinguish this idea from Piaget’s Constructivism while still acknowledging how the former builds upon the latter. The virtue of computer programming as a medium for artifacts is that programs are much more versatile than any physical construction medium, and that programs give rise to actions, bringing the program alive.

Mon 21 Jun

Displayed time zone: Eastern Time (US & Canada) change

09:00 - 11:45
Monday MorningPapers at HOPL
Chair(s): Tomas Petricek University of Kent, Vijay Saraswat IBM TJ Watson Research Center
History of Logo
Cynthia Solomon Cynthia Solomon Consulting, Brian Harvey University of California, Berkeley, Ken Kahn University of Oxford, Henry Lieberman MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL), Mark Miller Learningtech.org and Northeastern University, Margaret Minsky New York University Shanghai, Artemis Papert Independent Artist, Brian Silverman Playful Invention Co.
A history of the Oz multiparadigm language
Peter Van Roy Université catholique de Louvain, Seif Haridi KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden, Christian Schulte KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Gert Smolka Saarland University