Simon Peyton Jones, TweetCo-inventor of Haskell, Principal Researcher @Microsoft
Biography: Simon Peyton Jones
Simon Peyton Jones is a Principal Researcher at Microsoft's Research Lab in Cambridge, and a visiting professor at Glasgow University. His research interest is in the design and implementation of functional programming languages, especially Haskell and its compiler GHC . He is Chair of the UK Computing at School Working Group, whose goal is to put the excitement and rigour of computing science back into the school curriculum.
Computing is one of the richest, most exciting disciplines on the planet, yet any teenager will tell you that ICT (as it is called in school - "information and communication technology") is focused entirely on the use and application of computers, and in practice covers nothing about how computers work, nor programming, nor anything of the discipline of computer science. Over the last two decades, computing at school has drifted from writing adventure games on the BBC micro to writing business plans in Excel.
This is bad for our young people's education, and it is bad for our economy.
It is also quite fixable, but the inherent inertia in the educational system requires a clear message and case for change, from the classroom right up to the Secretary of State. After years of drift, a great deal has happened in 2012, so the iron is now really, really hot. Having a decent education system in IT and computer science is important. If we leave it to someone else, they'll screw it up. We have to roll up our sleeves, and now is the time to do it.