Mehran Sahami called this Computer Science's Sputnik Moment, evoking the phrase used by the president in his State of the Union Speech.
The fate of that budget remains unclear in the current congress. But there's an excitement for CS and science in general that we haven't seen since the 60's.Half a century ago, when the Soviets beat us into space with the launch of a satellite called Sputnik, we had no idea how we would beat them to the moon. The science wasn’t even there yet. NASA didn’t exist. But after investing in better research and education, we didn’t just surpass the Soviets; we unleashed a wave of innovation that created new industries and millions of new jobs.This is our generation’s Sputnik moment. Two years ago, I said that we needed to reach a level of research and development we haven’t seen since the height of the Space Race. And in a few weeks, I will be sending a budget to Congress that helps us meet that goal. We’ll invest in biomedical research, information technology, and especially clean energy technology -– (applause) -- an investment that will strengthen our security, protect our planet, and create countless new jobs for our people.
Computer Science seems to run in cycles, we build up excitement (the spread of personal computers in the early 80's, the Internet in the 90's and social networks and machine learning today) and soon after people see these as commodities and the excitement wanes. We need to not squander the current good will, find a way to keep CS exciting. The computer science story has a long way to go. Computer science needs to be a front office profession leading the way and not just in the back office keeping it going.