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Harvard Computer Science Introductory Course Logs Record-Breaking Enrollment Numbers

The Harvard Crimson (09/11/14) Meg P. Bernhard 

Nearly 12 percent of Harvard College's students have enrolled in the college's introductory computer science class, Computer Science 50: "Introduction to Computer Science I." With a record-breaking total enrollment of 818 undergraduate students this semester, CS50 is the college's largest course, followed by "Principles of Economics," the previous semester's largest course. Several factors are contributing to the class's popularity. Instructor David J. Malan says the boost in enrollment in part reflects a growing interest among Harvard students and the general public in computer science. Professor Eddie Kohler says CS50's growing popularity also is due to its accessibility, characterizing the course as more of an experience. Harry R. Lewis, Harvard's director of undergraduate studies for computer science, says Harvard students have "figured out that in pretty much every area of study, computational methods and computational thinking are going to be important to the future." Lewis also says he has seen higher enrollment than ever in other computer science courses this semester, including "Introduction to the Theory of Computation," which has 153 students enrolled. The number of computer science concentrators at Harvard also has increased, nearly doubling between 2008 and 2013.

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