An updated version of popular animation-based software program 'Alice,' by Carnegie Mellon University, is set for release. It was developed by the late 'last lecture' professor Randy Pausch to teach computer programming. Pausch, a Carnegie Mellon computer science professor and pioneer of virtual reality research, was involved with the Alice software project. He died at age 47 of pancreatic cancer last July, 10 months after giving his 'last lecture' about facing death that became an Internet sensation and spawned his best-selling book, The Last Lecture. Alice 3, expected to debut later this week, according to university officials, is designed to teach programming using a 'drag and drop' interface to create 3D animations. The latest version, which will be available free of charge at www.alice.org, also lets advanced users create programs in the Java programming language.
Users can select hundreds of character objects and scenes from the popular video game 'The Sims' to make and control virtual worlds. Hundreds of colleges and numerous middle and high schools use Alice software to teach programming, according to Carnegie Mellon. The program is designed to serve as an introductory programming course for school-aged children, and the web site, www.aliceprogramming.net, has instructor's materials that supplement the Alice 3 textbook. Pausch saw an early version of Alice 3 shortly before his death. Educators who encounter debugging or troubleshooting problems with the new Alice 3 program can visit aliceprogramming.net and read tips on common issues. The site shows the minimum hardware and software specifications needed to use Alice 3 on classroom computers, what to do when Alice characters' colors won't change, and how to play audio files in the program.