Randy Pausch

Digital Library

ACM Fellows

USA - 2007


For contributions to the use of programming environments in education and entertainment.

ACM Karl V. Karlstrom Outstanding Educator Award

USA - 2007


For his outstanding creative contributions to the art of teaching and mentoring and for the innovative Alice programming environment with which novices can create interactive 3D experiences.

Dr. Randy Pausch is probably best known for being the driving force behind the innovative virtual worlds programming environment Alice and its pedagogy of "playful learning." Alice lets students develop characters and their behaviors in 3D virtual worlds. Not only college students, but also high school and middle school students, learn to do this remarkably quickly using Alice's intuitive graphical user interface, rather than having to grapple with a textual syntax.

Using Alice, he created the highly popular and successful course Building Virtual Worlds, in which students from diverse backgrounds learned to work in interdisciplinary teams to create interactive worlds and experiences. Dr. Pausch worked with his Ph.D. student Caitlin Kelleher in the creation and assessment of Storytelling Alice, in which the base technology was extended to provide support for storytelling to give middle school girls a positive first experience with computer programming. Learning to Program with Alice (2006), which he co-authored with Wanda Dann and Stephen Cooper, is in use in over 250 colleges and universities.

In addition to his contributions to the Alice programming environment, and building upon the Building Virtual Worlds course, Dr. Pausch co-founded the Carnegie Mellon Entertainment Technology Center. The ETC is co-sponsored by the School of Computer Science and the College of Fine Arts and offers the world's only Master of Entertainment Technology degree.

Among his other achievements, Dr. Pausch created SUIT, Simple User Interface Toolkit, and innovated formal user testing for theme park attractions and virtual reality. He tested major theme park attractions at DisneyQuest, EPCOT Center, and Disney's California Adventure.

His research with colleagues in cognitive science, perception, and HCI has broken new ground in understanding people's interactions with technology. He inspires our community to be more ambitious, more collaborative, more multi-disciplinary and inclusive, and above all, to be passionate about learning and creating, to live life joyfully and fully engaged.

For his tools, pedagogy, mentoring, and inspiration not just to his students and colleagues but to our field, and indeed, through his landmark "Last Lecture," to the world at large, Randy Pausch is an exemplar for the Karl V. Karlstrom Outstanding Educator Award.