STEMiverse 0016 - Dr Karsten Schulz: Walking Supercomputers

August 21, 2017

In this episode of STEMiverse Podcast, Marcus and I talk with Karsten Schulz.

Karsten Schulz (PhD) is an engineer, computer scientist, and educator. He is leading the Digital Technologies Institute and is the designer of the B4 Modular Microprocessor for the classroom. Karsten has a background in the ICT industry, specifically in R&D. He has been involved in the Digital Technologies eduction space since 2008. Some of his previous activities include Young ICT Explorer and Bebras. Most recently, he designed and manufactured the B4 Modular Microprocessor, which students can experiment with in the classroom. Karsten is passionate about digital and biological systems, their similarities, and how things work deep inside.

This is STEMiverse Podcast episode 16.

Episode notes

[00:00] Introduction - Introducing Dr Karsten Schulz
[01:32] Dr Karsten talks about his background in Electrical Engineering, moving to Australia from Germany and working in R&D for SAP
[05:54] What was the environment like in SAP R&D teams?
[07:27] Were the projects in SAP R&D secret & confidential like skunkworks?
[08:30] Partners of SAP, such as Universities and IDM
[08:52] Young ICT Explorers
[14:00] The social aspect that makes studying science and technology fun
[14:50] Other similar to ICT Explorers competitions around Australia: CREST, Lego competitions
[15:22] Dr Karsten's current occupation: the Digital Technologies Institute
[16:27] 'Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software' Book by Charles Petzold
[21:20] The B4 Modular Computer Processor
[24:28] Personal experience in learning informs teaching: Learning how to learn
[26:51] What triggered Dr Karsten's ups and downs in his performance as a student: Lack of foundation
[29:19] Use different areas of the brain by exposing students to multiple subjects
[29:47] How do you make computer science approachable to teachers?
[31:31] Children's response to working with building machines projects
[33:38] The lack of graphical user interface's effect on children
[34:29] Description of the B4 Processor
[35:54] Cyber security with the B4
[38:12] Awareness of security issues in technology
[38:48] B4 target age: 12 year olds - school year 7 and up
[39:39] Teacher's reception of B4 and a James May video about binary numbers
[41:21] The analogy of the gene as a code, the connection of digital technology with biology: "we are walking supercomputers with free will"
[43:03] The little molecular machines in our cells
[44:03] Information processing as the common element in both biology and technology
[45:25] Rapid Fire Questions
[45:36] Who has influenced you the most? Dr Karsten's year 10 math and physics teacher and Albert Einstein
[48:12] Favorite Programming Language: C and its variants such as Objective C, C++
[49:07] Apps you cannot live without: Wunderlist
[50:23] How should new Educators prepare for teaching STEM?
[51:40] Dr Karsten's contact information: email: karsten.a.schulz@me.com Twitter: @kkschulz

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