'C' Maestro Will Teach CS Course

It is not uncommon at Harvard for professors to teach their own books.

But when a professor comes to Harvard to teach a course that uses his book, affectionately referred to by students as "The Bible," such a common occurrence becomes enthusiastically anticipated.

Brian W. Kernighan, co-author of The C Programming Language will join the Harvard faculty as a visiting professor this fall and will teach Computer Science 50: "Introduction to Computer Science I."

Since its publication in 1978, The C Programming Language, co-authored by Kernighan and Dennis M. Ritchie, has revolutionized the face of computer programming, allowing the C language to become the most widely used language in the programming world.

"I am delighted that he will be teaching the course," said Assistant Professor of Computer Science Margo I, Seltzer '83, who has taught the class for the past three years.

"It is a rare opportunity for the students who will take the course next year," Seltzer continued. "I expect the course will benefit in the long run by having someone with a new perspective teaching it."

Kernighan said yesterday he is enthusiastic about coming to teach next year.

Having taught a small class at Princeton for three years, Kernighan said he believes "the best part about teaching is the contact with the students," although he said CS 50's large class size will make close contact more difficult.

Asked about the changes he may make in the class, Kernighan said the fundamental course material will not change, although some topics--such as the Internet--are constantly evolving.

He said he is excited to teach C, since he believes it is "one language everyone should know."

Student response has been whole-heartedly optimistic about the visiting professor.

"The course will be amazing," said Kitt N. Hirasaki '96. "It totally rocks the house."

Dena E. Weinstein '96, who was a TF in the course for two years, said that Kernighan will continue to make CS 50 a high-caliber course.

"I think it's wonderful. Professor Seltzer was a fantastic lecturer and Kernighan should be just as good," Weinstein said. "There is a strong precedent of excellence in this class which Kernighan will undoubtedly uphold.

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