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Michael Kölling

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Michael Kölling
Alma materUniversity of Bremen
University of Sydney (PhD)
Known forBlueJ
AwardsSIGCSE Award for Outstanding Contribution to Computer Science Education (2013)
National Teaching Fellowship (2008)
Pearcey Award (1999)
Scientific career
FieldsComputer science education
Programming languages[1]
InstitutionsKing's College London
University of Kent
University of Sydney
Monash University
University of Southern Denmark
ThesisThe design of an object-oriented environment and language for teaching (1999)
Doctoral advisorJohn Rosenberg
Blue J IDE

Michael Kölling FBCS is a German computer scientist, currently working at King's College London, best known for the development of the BlueJ and Greenfoot[2] educational development environments and as author of introductory programming textbooks.[1][3] In 2013 he received the SIGCSE Award for Outstanding Contribution to Computer Science Education for the development of the BlueJ.[4]

Education and early life[edit]

Kölling was born in Bremen, Germany. He earned a degree in informatics from the University of Bremen.[citation needed] In 1999, he was awarded a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Sydney, for research on the design of an object-oriented programming environment and language supervised by John Rosenberg.[5]

Career and research[edit]

From 1995 to 1997 he worked at the Sydney University, followed by a position as a senior lecturer at Monash University and, from 2001, a post as an associate professor at the University of Southern Denmark. He worked at the School of Computing at the University of Kent, UK, until February 2017. He is now a professor of computer science at King's College London, where he also occupies the role of vice-dean for education.[6]

Kölling is the lead designer of 'Blue',[7] an object-oriented programming language and integrated environment, BlueJ, and Greenfoot. All are educational development environments aimed at teaching and learning programming. BlueJ and Greenfoot are widely used in many schools and universities.

Kölling co-wrote Objects First with Java with David J. Barnes,[8] and wrote Introduction to Programming with Greenfoot.[9]

At the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Special Interest Group (SIG) of Computer science education (SIGCSE) 2010 conference, held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, his work was referenced as one of the most influential tools in the history of computer science education. This paper described Kölling's work on the Blue programming language, which preceded BlueJ.[10]

Microsoft patent issue[edit]

On 22 May 2005 Kölling entered the BlueJ website[11] in response to a post on Dan Fernandez's blog (Lead Product Manager – Visual Studio Express). Fernandez described a new feature of Visual Studio 2005 that "helps you understand objects at Design Time, rather than runtime."[12] This feature had striking similarities to how the object test bench functions within BlueJ.

Kölling did not act on the discovery. However, on May 11, 2006 Microsoft attempted to patent[13] the idea. As the object test bench is essential to the way it functions, had Microsoft's patent been granted, it was likely that BlueJ would have had to have been discontinued.

Kölling spoke to Microsoft, namely Jane Prey, and eventually the patent was dropped.[14]

Fernandez posted a response on his blog saying "the patent application was a mistake and one that should not have happened. To fix this, Microsoft will be removing the patent application in question. Our sincere apologies to Michael Kölling and the BlueJ community."[15]

Awards and honours[edit]

His awards and honours include:


  1. ^ a b Michael Kölling publications indexed by Google Scholar Edit this at Wikidata
  2. ^ Kölling, Michael (2010). "The Greenfoot Programming Environment" (PDF). ACM Transactions on Computing Education. 10 (4): 1–21. doi:10.1145/1868358.1868361. ISSN 1946-6226. S2CID 18208672.
  3. ^ Bennedsen, Jens; Caspersen, Michael E.; Kölling, Michael (Eds.), Reflections on the Teaching of Programming Series: Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Vol. 4821. Springer, 2008, ISBN 978-3-540-77933-9.
  4. ^ Kölling, Michael; Quig, Bruce; Patterson, Andrew; Rosenberg, John (2010). "The BlueJ System and its Pedagogy". Computer Science Education. 13 (4): 249–268. doi:10.1076/csed. ISSN 0899-3408. S2CID 2805887.
  5. ^ Kölling, Michael (1999). The design of an object-oriented environment and language for teaching. trove.nla.gov.au (PhD thesis). University of Sydney. OCLC 222575787.
  6. ^ "Blueroom | News Articles".
  7. ^ "IT HISTORY SOCIETY". 21 December 2015.
  8. ^ David J. Barnes & Michael Kölling, Objects First with Java: A Practical Introduction using BlueJ, Prentice Hall / Pearson Education, 2008, ISBN 0-13-606086-2
  9. ^ Michael Kölling, Introduction to Programming with Greenfoot: Object-Oriented Programming in Java with Games and Simulations, Pearson Education, August 2009, ISBN 978-0-13-603753-8
  10. ^ "SIGCSE2010 Influential Papers website".
  11. ^ "Comparison between VS and BlueJ's implementation of the object bench concept".
  12. ^ "Fernandez blog entry on the VS object test bench".
  13. ^ "Microsoft patent request".
  14. ^ "Blog article on Microsoft retraction of the patent". Archived from the original on 2007-02-09.
  15. ^ "Fernandez blog apology".
  16. ^ "ACM SIGCSE". sigcse.org. Retrieved 2020-01-29.
  17. ^ "BCS Fellows and Chartered IT Professionals".
  18. ^ "Outstanding Contribution to Computer Science Education". Archived from the original on 2018-11-01. Retrieved 2014-04-01.
  19. ^ "ACM Distinguished Members".
  20. ^ "Best PhD Thesis Award".
  21. ^ "Victorian Pearcey Award". Retrieved 2011-01-12.