Kathi photo Kathi Fisler
Professor, Computer Science
Co-Director, Bootstrap
(also Adjunct Research Faculty, Brown University Computer Science)

Fuller Labs 130 | 508-831-5118 | kfisler@cs.wpi.edu

Contact Information
MQP/IQP Topics

I'm interested in various facets of how people learn and use formal systems. My current focus is computing education. I'm revisiting classic computing education studies through functional programming, studying in-flow peer review as a learning and assessment tool (through CaptainTeach), and exploring integrated learning of math and computing (through Bootstrap). In general, I am interested in the effect of programming language tools and technology on learning and pedagogy in computing.

I coordinate WPI's Scholarship for Service program for US Citizens interested in government employment in exchange for cybersecurity scholarships [details and application forms].

Research Groups: I work with ALAS (Applied Logic and Security), and am starting a group in Computing Education.

Prior Research: My early-career research focused on computational aspects of representations used by humans in hardware and software design. I've studied diagrammatic logics for hardware verification, including the differences between timing diagrams and textual temporal logics. I did a lot of the early work on modular verification of programs whose modules encapsulated user-identifiable features (an architecture linked to product lines, such as telecommunications systems). I was also one of the lead researchers on Margrave, a tool to help people develop accurate access-control and privacy policies. I still publish occasional papers in these areas, but my focus lies elsewhere.

For Prospective Students: Graduate students interested in working with me should read this and then contact me. Please note that I will only be taking on new students on projects around computing education (including cybersecurity education).

Courses and Materials Recent Professional Activities
  • Recent Program Committees: ICER 2015, ISSEP 2015, SPLASH-E 2014 (Chair), FOSD 2013, FOSD 2012, ABZ 2012, FOSD 2011, SC 2011, FOSD 2010
  • Bootstrap: reinforcing algebra and coordinate geometry while teaching kids in grades 6-12 how to program their own video games. Descends from Program by Design: Educational outreach in Computer Science (formally TeachScheme!/ReachJava)
  • Member of the Digital Literacy and Computing Standards Panel for the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, developing new K-12 educational standards.
About Me

I was a theater junkie through high school.  As an undergraduate at Williams College, I rang handbells, worked in the college archives, walked campus backwards giving tours, danced folk and jitterbug, double majored in Chinese and Computer Science, and sang in an acapella group for folks who couldn't carry a tune.  These days, I mainly travel, exercise, practice guitar, and cook vegetarian food from around the world.  Jigsaw puzzles distract me for hours.  I love puns and other forms of word-play.  As a native New Yorker, I'm a thin-crust pizza snob. Four years living in Houston learned me in salsa. I'm yet to live in a place that offers both great pizza and great salsa.