In the beginning of 2003, the System Software and Distributed Systems research group at the University of Trier started a voluntary initiative to further motivate gifted children by introducing them to the art of computer programming. The goal was not to extend school-like learning and rehearsal, but to gain experience with computers primarily by playing with small programs and by solving programming problems as well as so-called Web-quests cooperatively.
In the initial phase, the group designed and implemented their own integrated development environment called Rob.NET. This environment, tailored to the specific needs of children in the age of 8 and above, enables children to write programs to control a virtual robot for solving specific tasks in a two-diemnsional grid.
Rob.NET has ben superseded by a new environment called CrePes. In contrast to Rob.NET, which has been developed fully from scratch, CrePes initially built upon the powerful Microsoft Visual Studio .NET environment. This way, CrePes benefits from the functionality already available in Visual Studio like syntax highlighting, IntelliSense, re-factoring, and more. Furthermore, it provides a more flexible basis via easy-to-use plug-in mechanisms based on XML and .NET assemblies.
In early 2006, yet another transition has been initiated. The comparatively complex and commercial Microsoft Visual Studio product has been replaced by a much more lightweight open-source software called #develop.
On the CrePes Weblog, you can find a CrePes user guide, exercise sheets, up-to-date information about recent developments, and more.
HyperVerse is a joint research project at the Universities of Luxembourg and Trier, with focus on evaluating requirements for a 3D Internet. This includes the definition of adequate interfaces and the development of a middleware for a massively federated server infrastructure based on widespread and established Internet standards like HTTP and Web Services. [more...]